Rhubarb is plentiful -- Suzy Bogguss to appear

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Rhubarb treats from ice cream, to cookies, cakes, crisps, pies, tea and wine are just a few of the rhubarb flavored treats offered this Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Aledo's Rhubarb Festival

Rhubarb Festival goers will find rhubarb aplenty June 5 and 6 in Aledo.

This is the festival's 18th year serving up rhubarb treats for people coming to Aledo. The tasting tent is open both Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for visitors to sample many of the treats prepared. Treats like Rhubarb tea, wine, lemonade, ice cream, cake, bread, pie, cookies and much, much  more are handed out underneath the big blue tent in Aledo Cental Park. There is no charge for these treats. In addition, most of Aledo's downtown businesses serve up some sort of rhubarb treat in their stores.

The city's special visitor this year is Country Music Star Suzy Bogguss, who grew up in Aledo. She is holding a free concert at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Aledo Band Shell.

The state highways will be closed down near the park for that concert, with traffic being rerouted. "We are expecting a lot of people," said Rhubarb Festival founder Darlene Johnson.

A cool, wet spring has helped area rhubarb growers in 2009, according to Johnson. "The patches are just chuck full," said Darlene Johnson, founder of the Rhubarb Festival. Aledo's Rhubarb Festival is always held on the first Friday and Saturday in June.

 This year the Rhubarb Festival committee expects to have at least 2,000 pies available for sale. "Come early if you want to purchase a pie," Johnson advises.

Food offered

There are a number of area organizations involved in the two-day celebration. The Aledo Volunteer Fireman serve pancakes and sausage on Saturday from 6 to 10:30 a.m. at the Aledo Fire Station, 200 NE 2nd St.

Aledo United Methodist Church is hosting its 14th Rhubarb Fest luncheon 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. The church is serving a homemade meal just a few blocks from Aledo's downtown at 301 N. College Ave.

There are a number of organizations holding bake sales with booths set up in Central Park. Saturday's catch of the day (Catfish) will be served by members of the Masonic Lodge from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

While there's really nothing planners can do about the weather, the committee has built in contingency plans in case of severe weather, according to Johnson. "Last year we were rained out early on Saturday," said Johnson. "People said, I never saw a park clear so fast in my life."

Aledo Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a golf cart shuttle for visitors parked far away from the downtown action on Saturday. There is also a tour bus rented by the Aledo Area Chamber of Commerce with historic tours of Aledo narrated by Col. Dave Lawson or his assistant Dick Norton. Tours take place 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

What's more

The city will host a huge craft show Saturday only, dubbed "Crafts in the Courtyard," at the Mercer County Courthouse lawn. There are more than 140 spots sold to area crafters.

The city's flea market is set for both days in the Central Park parking lot. There will be activities specifically for the young on the east side of Central park, including Alley Art, next to the Aledo Depot, pony rides, a bouncing balloon, dunk tank and a Cub Scout sponsored Rhubarb Derby, inviting youngsters to make cars out of Rhubarb stalks on Saturday.

Rhubarb tasters line up in front of the big blue tent in Aledo Central Park.