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Lanesboro celebrates annual Rhubarb Festival


By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Jun 7th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Features

By Mitchell Walbridge

Town celebrations are pretty common around southeastern Minnesota, celebrating the founding of a town or highlights of the geographical area. What is uncommon, however, is when a festival is completely centered around a vegetable, specifically rhubarb. Everything from juggling flaming stalks of rhubarb to rhubarb zumba dancing, the community of Lanesboro, Minn. recently celebrated its annual Rhubarb Festival on Saturday, June 2.

Over the years that the rhubarb celebration has been hosted in Sylvan Park, it has been increasing in popularity for locals, residents of the state of Minnesota, and beyond. This year’s 5th annual “Rhubarb Run” had 163 participants.

To begin the events of the day, Master of Ceremonies Phil Dybing welcomed two members of KTTC-TV’s morning news team, Jess Abrahamson and Ted Schmidt, as they threw the first rhubarb stock for the Rhubarb Olympics. They then proceeded to lead the Tasting of Everything Rhubarb competition.

Musical entertainment was provided all through the morning and afternoon by the famous Rhubarb Sisters, Rutabaga Brothers, Walter Bradley and Steve Arnold, and Tom Schramm. A Rhubarb National Anthem was even performed. In addition the Rhubarb Sisters entertained guests at the St. Mane Theatre with a “I Left My Heart in Rhubarb Country” concert on Saturday evening.

Several competitions also took place throughout the festival. A rhubarb Minute-to-Win-It Chopstick Contest took place. The winner, Jessica Stannard, was able to transfer 81 finely chopped pieces of rhubarb from one bowl to another within in one minute.

Pie making contests took place during the afternoon. Categories of kids, men, and women tested their pie making skills. Competitors were able to keep their pies after each competition round.

The rhubarb tasting competition ended as rhubarb fest attendees spent several hours tasting the rhubarb entries and voting for their favorites. The first place winner was Wendy Nickel, who entered a rhubarb cheese cake, second place went to Theresa Coleman who entered “Rhu-B-Que,” and third place went to Jerilyn Eddy for her rhubarb BBQ sauce.

The annual Rhubarb Festival takes place in Sylvan Park in Lanesboro, usually the first weekend of June. For more information on the Rhubarb Festival, visit www.rhubarbfestival.org.

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