It might only be the end of May, but the Chamber has already begun planning for the 2019 Harvest Festival in September. Actually, we started planning last October because these things don't happen over night. And boy do we have a packed weekend in store.
For the past three years, Gothenburg has been the host city for the Nebraska Hand Cornhusking Contest. That is a great event that celebrates our agricultural heritage and helps keep a tiny piece of that history alive. Since Cornhusking involved food vendors and craft vendors and a whole heck of a lot of volunteers organized by the Chamber's ag committee, it didn't seem feasible to duplicate activities in town. So events that residents remember in Ehmen Park were moved to the farm and the park sat relatively silent.
Well guess what ...
Gothenburg's good fortune to host this year's Nebraska AND National Hand Cornhusking Contests is a boon for all! Because the national contest involves nine states and we have to accommodate their state contest schedules, the national corn picking competition has to be in October. That means Cornhusking will break away from Harvest Festival this year.
That's correct. Harvest Festival will be Sept. 19-22 and Cornhusking is Oct. 19-20. That provides Gothenburg the opportunity to whoop it up two months in a row! It also lets us bring some activities back into town, specifically back into Ehemn Park. We still have to get city approval for use of public spaces, so I can't really spill all the beans yet. Just know we're working on a full weekend of activities and we hope everyone will jump on board with support.
Maybe you'll be asked to sponsor or donate. Maybe you have ideas for events you'd like to see. The only way to make these things work is with folks willing to dive in and do it. Our special events committee is made up of first-time festival folks who have already put in many hours of work. They are over-the-top excited to bring a fun weekend to Gothenburg. Keep watching for details ...
And thanks in advance for the support and participation that will make Harvest Festival 2019 the best one yet!
Memorial Day weekend is quickly approaching. That means the door to summer is open and waiting, even thought it might not feel like it outside. Folks will plan family gatherings this weekend with barbecues running full blast, the fridge stocked and enough wood on standby to have a campfire for three days.
But while you're enjoying your three-day weekend, please take a minute or two to remember the reason we get this Monday off. Our freedom to celebrate certainly was not free.
Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated after the Civil War as a way to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. The Civil War claimed so many lives that the country's first national cemeteries were established to accommodate the fallen. By the late 1860s, Americans began a springtime tradition of decorating those soldiers' graves and paying tribute to their service. In 1968, May 30 was designated as Decoration Day. On that first Decoration Day, 5,000 people decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and the tradition began. Originally meant to honor those who died during the Civil War, the holiday evolved as the nation fought more wars and lost more soldiers.
Decoration Day continued annually on May 30 until Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which named Memorial Day, placed it on the last Monday in May and created a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change officially went into effect in 1971.
If you've never visited a national cemetery over the Memorial Day weekend, take some time and make a quick trip to Fort McPherson. It's our own little version of Arlington, right down the road. The flags, the flowers and the feeling cannot be compared. Even if you don't have a loved one buried there, it's worth the time to pause and give thanks to those who so bravely served so we may be free today.
There's also an opportunity to pay your respects to our fallen soldiers at the Gothenburg Cemetery at 10 am on Monday. The American Legion Post 64 and local Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a Memorial Day ceremony, complete with Color Guard and "TAPS."
Our country's fallen soldier deserve our respect. Make sure your weekend includes that.
Anyone who has called the Chamber of Commerce or stopped by the corner office in the last couple of weeks has found either a voicemail or a locked door. With an office of one, when family matters dictate, the lights stay off.
You see, I spent last week plus working from home while caring for my mother in the final days before she earned her angel wings. Mom had cancer ... twice. She thought she beat breast cancer the first time around and lived cancer free for about three years. Then this second round hit about seven months ago and she decided not to do treatments. She entered the hospice program toward the end of March. She came from Indianola to live with me on April 9.
I have always respected folks in the health care industry. It was not my calling, so I admire those able to do it day after day. Now I have an all new appreciation for a different set of caregivers, from the nurse who works as part of the hospice team to the bath aide and the guy who delivers the medical equipment. They come into homes as strangers and leave as family members. No matter how much we attempt to prepare for it, losing our parents is never easy. These folks do everything they can to ease the pain.
I am forever grateful to everyone who has offered patience while I was away from work and especially those who have freely given moral support to me and my family over the past few weeks. This is an amazing community and I appreciate all of the kind words and precious prayers.
We'll be back in the swing of things soon...
Laura A. Miller, 79, of Indianola, Nebraska, formerly of Scottsbluff, NE, died May 7, 2019, at her daughter's home in Brady, NE.
She was born October 24, 1939, in North Platte, NE, daughter of Merwin Barfoot and Ima (Callahan) Barfoot Roberts.
Laura moved from North Platte as a child to Scottsbluff. She graduated from Scottsbluff High with the class of 1957. She later got her associates degree in accounting from Western Nebraska Community College. She lived in Nebraska, Texas and Kansas. Laura enjoyed creating things with her hands, sewing and quilting. She also loved her pets and gardening.
Surviving are daughter, Deb (Buck) Egenberger of Brady, NE; daughter, Jennifer Johnson of Indianola, NE; son, Jim (Deb) Huber of Garden City, KS; son, Joe Huber of Maine; sister, Myrna Cassel of Brackettville, TX; brother, David Barfoot of Brackettville, TX; brother, Bryan Barfoot of Texas; seven grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Laura was preceded in death by father, Merwin Barfoot; mother, Ima Roberts; brother, Fredrick Barfoot; brother, Edward Barfoot; and granddaughter, Jessica Huber.
Memorials are suggested to the family and will be donated to a charity to be chosen later.
is the Executive Director of the Community Development Office, which encompasses the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce and the Gothenburg Improvement Company.