Manchester’s Rhubarb Fest Draws Large Crowd

Manchester’s Rhubarb Fest was a huge success on Saturday. Hundreds of people came out to Baum Park for the annual event, which was just started a few years ago by the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce. The day celebrates everything rhubarb… and provides a few extras.

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Darryl Lendt and Jerry Burns spent the morning performing for the crowd, while a horse-drawn shuttle provided rides for the attendees in the background. Vendors filled the park, selling everything from crafts to books… but the big draw were the various rhubarb items. Jeff Madlom was helping man the Manchester Lions Club booth at Rhubarb Fest.

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12-year old Karley Van Theemsche of Manchester was one of the contestants in the Rhubarb Pie contest. She told KMCH her recipe was over one hundred years old and made on a stove that dated back to 1825. It was her first try at baking a pie.

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There were a lot of other pie entries, so she wasn’t sure how her rhubarb pie would do when compared to the competition…

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She didn’t have much to worry about… Karley ended up winning first place in the youth category. Other winners included Darlene Kafer and Maureen Hoffman who won in the Rhubarb Pie category, Jeanette Steffen and Maureen Hoffman in the Rhubarb Cakes and Bars category, Jane Mohr and Deb Jesse in the Rhubarb Bread category, Rosie Totman and Lucille Nelson in the Rhubarb Wine category, Deb Jesse and Jack Klaus in the Rhubarb Jelly category and Terri Andrews and Ellen Phelps were the top winners in the category labeled as “Other”. In the wine tasting, Ackerman Winery of Amana won People’s Choice, while Brush Creek Winery of Bellevue was the judges’ first choice, with Eagle City Winery of Iowa Falls taking second. You could also find some of the runners and bicycle riders from the Rhubarb Run and Rhubarb Ride at Rhubarb Fest… they made their way over to Baum Park to enjoy the rest of the day’s activities after their morning competitions. Cory Hall was back for his second year in the Rhubarb Run, coming all the way from Dubuque with his friends.

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Rhubarb Fest brought a large turnout Saturday. And Chamber Director Jack Klaus says that’s something they love to see.

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And if you were at Rhubarb Fest, you may have seen some of the rhubarb stalks and rhubarb leaves that were brought in for judging… they were huge! The largest rhubarb leaf was brought in by Alan Palmersheim of Delaware – it measured 31 and a half inches wide and 27 and a half inches long. Connie Turner of Manchester brought in the longest rhubarb stalk, measuring 32 inches. Alan Palmersheim also won for heaviest stalk, Janine Ehler of Manchester won for sweetest stalk and Terri Andrews of Manchester won for tartest stalk.

(Photos by Janelle Tucker, KMCH)