Friday, August 08, 2014
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Chamber hosts luncheon for downtown merchants
Part one: Discussions include this year’s festival changes

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[August 08, 2014]  LINCOLN - The Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a luncheon at the Lincoln Christian Church. The purpose of the meeting was to share with local retailers the changes that would be taking place in the downtown area at the Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival this year. There was also discussion of what is going to happen with the festival in 2015.

Nicole Cox of the chamber opened up the meeting and called on various committee chairmen to offer updates on their portion of the festival.

First to speak was Chris Graue representing the Up in Smoke, Kansas City Barbecue competition and other barbeque activities. He was followed by Bill Hoagland for Main Street Lincoln on the Art of Wine; Dom Dalpoas of the Oasis on the Craft and Flea Market; and Jim Loeffler for the Railsplitter Antique Auto Club. Additional events discussed were tethered balloon rides, parade plans and a new carnival at the airport.

Graue shared that some of the activities of the Up in Smoke will take place in a new tent this year. He shared that in response to comments about the Anything Goes Barbecue competition, the judging will this year take place at the tent. He said this will allow for more public viewing of the exhibits and judging.

In past years, this judging has taken place at the Lincoln Firehouse, but the space there is limited, and the public has not been able to view the entries easily or watch the judging. With this move, Graue said those who want to come and watch will have a better experience.

In addition, the tent will be used by this year’s guest host Mark DeCarlo. DeCarlo is a contributor to Windy City Live in Chicago as well as a food expert correspondent for the Huffington Post. He does a web podcast and has hosted a number of food festivals. In 2013, he appeared at the Taste of Chicago, Taste of St. Louis, National Buffalo Wing Festival, Taste of Philadelphia, Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival, Iowa Premier Food, and the Windy City Wine Festival, to name a few. Included in his appearances he does food comedy routines and hosts a comedic cooking contest. Graue said as part of the agreement, DeCarlo is currently promoting the Lincoln festival on his pod casts.

Graue also reported that to date; there are 40 contestants registered for the Up in Smoke barbecue competition. He said 18 of those are new this year. Last year there was a total of 43 entrants. Graue said many contestants wait until the last minute to register, so he fully expects this will be the largest contestant field ever for the competition.

This year the Art of Wine tent will be moving from Kickapoo Street to Broadway. Hoagland explained the wine tent will be larger this year. Broadway is a wider street than Kickapoo and will be better able to accommodate the new 8,000 square foot tent. The tent will still have the guest services area where festival goers can stop in for a break without purchasing a wrist band.

The main stage for entertainment will be located in the intersection of Broadway and McLean, with the guest services area being on the end closest to the stage.

Craft and Flea Market

Dom Dalpoas of the Oasis offered up a report on the Craft and Flea Market that will be held in Scully Park. As of the luncheon on July 30th, he said all but three spaces were filled in the park. Chamber director Andi Hake told Dalpoas that if he gets his spaces filled and still has people requesting a booth, the chamber will find a place for them.

Hake also explained that this year the Oasis is handling the flea market alone. She said in the past, the chamber has partnered with the Oasis. This year Dalpoas and his staff are doing it all.


In Latham Park, 47 artists had signed up for booths. Cox said there are several new artists this year. She is hoping to have more artists sign up within the weeks before the festival.

New in the park this year will be a VIP tent for the artists. Hake said the new tent was being provided by the Lincoln Best Western.

The Chamber information tent will be moved out of the park and relocated to the intersection of Kickapoo and Pulaski Streets.

Car show

Jim Loeffler with the Railsplitter Antique Auto Club said that “good weather provided,” he is expecting this year’s Sunday car show to be quite large. He said the club shows in general have grown this year, and he foresees a good turnout. In addition, he said the club would offer more trophies and door prizes to draw in more participants.

Because the Art of Wine is moving to Broadway, the car show will horseshoe around the square utilizing Kickapoo, Pulaski, and McLean Streets. Loeffler asked about the use of McLean Street north of Broadway for overflow if he should have it. Hake said that could be done by keeping that street closed on Sunday.

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Tethered balloon rides

New this year in the downtown area will be a tethered balloon ride. The ride will be set up in a vacant lot on North Hamilton, behind the Lincoln Christian Church parking lot. Hake said the pilot is coming in from Louisiana and is very excited about offering this new feature. This ride will not be with a handicap accessible basket, but Hake said there would be two ADA rides at the airport.

It starts with a parade

Vic Martinek talked about the Friday afternoon parade. The parade ribbon cut will take place at 3:15 p.m. on Wyatt Avenue. The parade route will be the same as last year.

This year there will be multiple grand marshals for the parade. The first will be Dom Dalpoas of the Oasis. Also, the winners from last year’s art, barbeque and balloon pilot competitions will each be honored as grand marshals.

Hake commented on this saying last year the fire at the Oasis building occurred late June, but the Oasis was still able to organize and pull off a very successful flea market event just 50 days later. She said for all that Dalpoas and the Oasis had been through in the last year, she felt the honor was much deserved.

Fun events at the airport

Patrick Doolin offered an update on what will be going on at the airport. There will be a new carnival company providing rides. The wrestling event has been taken out, but the Wisconsin Kiters are returning. Doolin said they had considered that while the wrestling was popular with some, the activity itself did not speak well of the community. He mentioned it was a contradiction for young people watching who saw people standing in the ring beating each other up, then walking into the tent area as friends.

Cox said she is still working on trying to get one more new item at the airport, a petting zoo. She said right now they aren’t having much luck finding anyone available for that weekend, but they are still looking. She added there will also be some new food vendors at the airport.

Great music

Hake added there will be an outstanding line up of live bands at the airport this year as well. She mentioned specifically Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack, and Jeff Sable of Sable-Country.

Transportation plans and down town parking

This year there will be a number of street closings. There will be the main corridor established between Latham and Scully Parks with McLean Street being closed from just in front of the Lincoln Christian Church at Latham Park south to Clinton Street and Scully Park. Clinton Street will be closed on the very west end at Scully Park. From Scully to Latham Park, Kickapoo will also be closed. Broadway Street will be closed from just east of Chicago Street to McLean. Pulaski Street will be closed from Chicago Street to South Hamilton.

Street closures will begin on Thursday afternoon, with many of the streets being completely closed off by Friday morning and staying closed through Sunday.

The downtown trolley service will be offered again this year with pick-up points at corners of Clinton and South Kickapoo near Scully Park and the corners of North Kickapoo and Pekin Street near Latham Park.

The shuttle service will run from the old Wal-Mart Parking lot to the downtown area and to the airport. The shuttle stop in the downtown area will be at the corner of Chicago and Pulaski Streets. The downtown trolley will also have a pick-up point at the same location for those getting on and off the shuttle.

Downtown parking will be limited. The parking lot behind Guzzardo’s on Clinton Street will be open as will the parking lot at the library on Pekin Street. The city lot on the west side of Latham Park will be open as well. Street side parking will be offered around Latham Park and most of Scully Park.

The group also discussed downtown construction projects and how the festival may change in 2015. Those topics will be covered in part two of this article.


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