Festival attracts thousands to downtown

Archives Museum and library highlighted
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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The smoky smell of ribs poured through downtown Lincoln this past Saturday. That’s because the fourth annual Lincoln Rib Festival took over sections of Fifth and F streets Saturday. At least 15,000 visitors came for ribs and the opportunity to peruse antiques, dolls and motorcycles, according to festival organizer Jeff Greenberg. Greenberg is president and founder of local nonprofit organization Friends of Lincoln Kids, which donates event proceeds to programs providing activities for Lincoln’s youth. Money raised from the festival’s sponsorships will go to Lighthouse Counseling and Family Resource Center, according to Greenberg. Festival sponsorship was down this year by 90 percent, according to Greenberg. Greenberg said $5,000 was raised from sponsorships last year. This year, $250 was received from sponsors, which could go to Lighthouse Counseling and Family Resource Center after expenses for items such as the stage, advertisement, trashcans and equipment rentals are paid. Greenberg said vendor fees pay for those expenses. Seventy vendors showed up to Saturday’s event, which Greenberg said had at least five more than last year’s. Festival-goers packed F Street in their quest for ribs, at one point as many as 30 were in line waiting to buy ribs from Max’s Black Bear BBQ and 20 for Big Joe’s BBQ. Joe Dunlap, also known as Big Joe, was at last year’s Rib Festival. He brought 550 pounds of ribs this time since Big Joe’s BBQ sold out last year. “Fun, the camaraderie, the whole nine yards,” Dunlap responded when asked why he returned this year. Sam Parks, of Greene’s Back Porch BBQ, had been up the night before smoking the pulled pork and ribs he sold since they take 16 hours to cook. “It’s been a morning,” Parks said. Georgia Seitzler, a Lincoln resident, was eyeing the ribs Dunlap was literally mopping with barbecue sauce. Dunlap used a miniature mop. “I think it’s very nice. I’d like to see more art,” Seitzler said. “I’d like to see additional arts and crafts because I think Lincoln has the clientele.” The Rib Festival expanded this year to include the Lincoln Area Archives Museum, and included a new doll show at the Lincoln Women’s Club and a miniature car show in the Archives Museum. Shirley Russell organized the doll show and antique fair, and said at least 300 spectators walked through the doll show. She introduced some visitors to the museum. “I think the word out is out about the museum,” Russell said. An antique book sale was held by the Friends of the Lincoln Library in front of the Carnegie Library that day, which Russell said netted the nonprofit organization $448. The Archives Museum made $690 in total that day, which was generated from the money paid by those selling antiques to have a booth, according to Russell and from 10 percent of sales from the doll show. Danielle Posey and her daughters, Audrey Wettland, 6, and Madison Wettland, 7, visited the festival after soccer practice that day, and the girls each got a little doll and some Halloween earrings. “I thought it was just great. We just moved here,” Posey said. “We got done with soccer practice, slipped home and put on some flip-flops.” Audrey said her favorite part of the day was the dolls. “Because I like playing with dolls,” she said. “We’re going to go split a hot dog and get some ribs.” Ron Kemp, of Lincoln, said “so far, so good” about the festival, after being spotted by The News Messenger checking out the 1930 Lincoln Fire Engine on display with stepson, Tyler White, 13. The fire engine was on the corner of Fifth and E Streets. “I think it’s good for the community to get everyone together, to see what Lincoln is all about,” Kemp said.