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Rhubarb Festival Growing

By Staff | Jul 2, 2015

Submitted Jane Gross (left) and Marge Heilman sample dishes during last week’s rhubarb festival.

Rhubarb dishes were front and center last week at the Prairie Village Museum.

Over 200 people went through the Sandven Exhibition Hall and got the chance to sample 30 dishes after giving a $5 donation.

“Each year is different as people can bring whatever they want to bring, so we don’t always get the same dishes,” said festival chairwoman Kathy Blessum.

Two new changes took place at this year’s festival. One, Blessum said, was extended hours. This year’s festival took place from noon to 4 p.m.; past festivals took place from noon to 3 p.m.

This year’s event also served as a fundraiser for repair efforts to the museum’s 1911 X415 caboose. The event brought in an estimated $1,400 in rhubarb dish and food sales, as well as individual donations. Museum director Cathy Jelsing said in an email to the Tribune that the caboose fund stands at $2,672.

This year the Geographical Center Historical Society moved the caboose from the museum’s “urgent” repair list to the critical list after water ran through the ceiling during a rainstorm last month. Last year, Gerald Harmel, museum grounds manager, found rot below one of the windows on the caboose’s west side. Museum staffers were gathering estimates for replacing wood siding, rebuilding windows, repainting railings, the interior and exterior, reupholstering seats and re-stenciling the Great Northern Railway logo. The museum hoped to raise at least $5,000 for repair efforts through cash and in-kind donations and grants.

Jelsing said a recent donation came from Jim Bauer, of Rugby, who pledged $500 in materials for the caboose.

Jelsing also said the event helped get the museum closer to its 300-member goal for the year. An estimated $105 in memberships were sold.

Blessum said all 48 rhubarb cookbooks sold out at this year’s event, and that next year’s cookbook will have new recipes.

Last year’s event saw an estimated 155 people in attendance.

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