The 1800s style festival hosted by the Abraham
Lincoln Railsplitting Association has been going on in Lincoln since
the 1970’s. Over the years it has taken place in various venues
including Lincoln College, the Logan County Fairgrounds, and now
In actuality, the Railsplitter Association has been around for 51
years, and 2020 was supposed to have been their golden anniversary
event. However, coronavirus put a halt to those plans and the golden
event had to be delayed until 2021.
On Saturday morning, guests witnessing the ribbon cut were reminded
that there was no festival in 2020 and asked to join the association
in celebrating its return in 2021.
Among the guests behind the ribbon were Association president
Darlene Begolka, Vice-president Bob Rankin, Treasurer Diana Skelton
and her husband John who is also a member of the association.
Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch was on hand along with aldermen Wanda Less
Rohlfs and Keven Bateman. Also behind the ribbon was Lincoln City
Clerk Peggy Bateman, Logan County Clerk Theresa Moore, Logan County
Tourism Bureau Director Alice Roate, 2021 Miss Logan County Fair
Queen Caroline Ahrends, 2021 Logan County Junior Miss Alayna Briggs,
and other members of the association along with festival
The first to speak behind the ribbon was Roate on behalf of the
tourism Bureau. She said she wanted to thank everyone for coming.
She noted that it was quite sad that we had to miss the festival
last year, but that she was excited and thankful to see the festival
return in 2021. She acknowledged the 50th anniversary,
congratulating the association and then wished everyone a good
weekend at the festival.
Next person to address the crowd was Mayor Welch. Welch said he
echoed the words spoken by Roate, thankful to see the festival
return and congratulating the group on its 50th event.
Rankin was the next to speak. He also thanked the crowd and then
turned to acknowledging those who were present. He said that many of
the people who were involved in the festival and the association
were second and third generation members and participants. He also
invited anyone who was interested in the association to come and get
involved in future festivals.
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The last person to speak was association president Begolka. She
began sayins “WOW! Fifty years. Who would have thought a festival
could last that long.” She acknowledged all those who had come
before and had kept the festival going over the years. She said she
was thankful for the weather this weekend. Though warm it was sunny
compared to 2019 when it poured down rain on the first day, forcing
the ribbon cut to be conducted in the more confined spaces of the
courthouse building. She then ended with her traditional exclamation
“Let the festival begin!”
John and Diana Skelton had been chosen by Begolka to snip the gold
ribbon on the 50th event. It was explained that the Skelton’s were
selected because they have over the years, and especially this year
gone above and beyond to assure the success of the festival. Begolka
had said prior to the event that she and the association were so
thankful for the couple, and she felt that allowed them to snip the
ribbon was one small way of acknowledging them.
With the speeches completed, posed pictures with the ribbon and
scissor were taken, then the countdown to snip the ribbon was
started. On command the Skeltons followed the command with much
applause from those watching.
Most of the people behind the ribbon dispersed immediately, many
going back to their stations where they would remain for the day
greeting visitors and offering explanations and demonstrations of
Begolka, Rankin and the Skeltons were asked to stay put for just a
few minutes as there was one more event that was just for them.
Lincoln Daily News implemented the Community Champion traveling
trophy in 2019. It had to be halted due to Covid. Now in 2021, LDN
is making a slow and careful return of the award.
The small group representing the association was told that LDN had
selected them as the September 2021 Community Champions. While LDN
staff Karen Hargis and Lisa Ramlow presented the trophy Nila Smith
explained that the trophy was given to those whom were seen by LDN
as people or groups who go above and beyond to make our community
It was noted that while none of the
members present actually started the association, they have taken
the torch and carried on.
The trophy was presented to them as representatives
of all who came before them as well as those who are currently
working to keep the festival going.
group was also given a beautiful planter courtesy of Debbie's
Downtown Floral in Lincoln.
After some brief additional conversation, the four representing the
association headed off to their various duties for the day, and the
festival was officially off to an excellent start.
The festival on Saturday was well attended and LDN will have
additional coverage of the 1800s style exhibits and demonstrations
that filled the lawn of the courthouse, the vendor market across the
street at the VFW and some of the competitions that took place on
the back lawn of the courthouse on Saturday and Sunday, starting on