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Joint festivals 'marriage made in heaven'

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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A ?marriage made in heaven? was how Jean Cross described Saturday?s International Food Festival/California Clay Fest at F Street and Beerman Plaza. Cross, the new Art League of Lincoln ?s volunteer executive director, said it was ?really, really a great day.? The California Clay Fest was sponsored by the Art League of Lincoln and organized by committee chairwoman Andy McMurtrie. It featured a kids? clay camp, artists carving unfired clay sewer pipes, booths selling art and pottery wheel and raku firing demonstrations. Cross said Lincoln?s Rotary Club sponsored the kids? clay camp, Lincoln artist Ray Gonzales ?got all of the artists together? and that the International Food Festival?s Jeff Greenberg ?was very accommodating to let us join the food fest.? ?We?re so blessed,? Cross said during Saturday?s event. ?So many talented people stepped up to participate and help.? Although Feats of Clay (sponsored by the closed Lincoln Arts) is not happening this year, Cross said she told the newly formed art organization, ?Let?s make Clay Fest happen.? ?It?s just exciting,? Cross said. Art League of Lincoln president Paul Apfel said the organization raised $650 from the event, which he said would ?be used for startup and operating expenses.? The International Food Festival was organized by Friends of Lincoln Kids President Jeff Greenberg, and featured 29 vendors selling retail items and food, including pizza, po? boys, Italian sausage, French fries, hot dogs and snow cones. Friends of Lincoln Kids is a nonprofit organization that raises money for youth programs in Lincoln. Greenberg said he plans to donate proceeds from the event to the Lincoln High School Jazz Band, Glen Edwards Middle School eight graders traveling to Washington D.C. this summer, the library?s Mother Goose on the Loose program and the Lincoln Rifle Club. On Monday, Greenberg said that he won?t know how much was raised by the event until final bills are paid. Greenberg said that ?500 people attended the food festival, compared to the thousands that attended last year?s Italian Festival.? The International Food Festival was known as the Italian Festival for the previous two years. ?The Clay Fest was from what everyone has said was an excellent, excellent event,? Greenberg said. ?As far as the food fest is concerned, we just didn?t draw any crowds at all.? Although Greenberg said the turnout for his food festival was ?discouraging,? he spoke positively about the day. ?The day was a good day. The (Lincoln Area) Archives Museum did very well, which is very important to myself and Archives Museum volunteer staff. I was happy they received such a great amount of people coming through,? Greenberg said. ?Everyone I talked to said they were pleased with the way the Clay Fest turned out and how many people were there, which is good and makes me happy.? Jacque Kennedy, who attended the festivals with daughter Addilyn, 2, and mother Judy Aguilar of Rocklin, said events such as Saturday?s ?puts Lincoln on the map.? ?It?s always nice to support local businesses,? Aguilar added. Nina Mazzo, a Lincoln resident, said she attended ?to support Lincoln vendors and the high school?s musicians.? ?I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for all the work that Mr. Greenberg does for the community,? Mazzo said. The Lincoln High School Jazz Band performed in the morning, and Kathy Black, mother of saxophonist Adam Black, said the Art League of Lincoln donated the band?s banner. Since the Jazz Band is an extracurricular activity, Black said the band is looking for some paid gigs to help pay for band supplies such as sheet music and uniforms. Kathy Freeman, a volunteer docent at the Lincoln Area Archives Museum, said the museum had 51 visitors, as of noon. ?More people today that live in Lincoln said they had not idea there was a museum,? Freeman said. ?That was a real plus, getting the word out. The biggest thing is we are doing this for the people of Lincoln .?