By Jennifer McDaniel, for the Lincoln Sentinel
Several new events, including a porcelain chariot race, will mark this year’s Lincoln Post Rock Festival slated for September 3 in Lincoln.
Set to the theme, “Just Can’t Hide That Hometown Pride,” the annual event, which takes place during Labor Day weekend, spans an entire day filled with activities, competition, food and entertainment.
The day gets an early start with the Lincoln Recreation Department’s Post Rock Classic, which includes a walk, run and kids’ competition. Registration begins at 7 a.m., with the first race – a two-mile walk – beginning at 7:30 a.m. The 5K run starts at 8:15 a.m., followed by the kids’ run at 9:15 a.m.
Water stations will be positioned at the beginning and halfway points during the 5K race.
Awards will be given to the top overall 5K and walk male and female, the top-three male and female finishers in each age group of the 5K and walk, the oldest and youngest participants in the 5K and walk and the first three male and female finishers in the kids’ run. All participants in the kids’ run will also receive a prize.
Awards will be presented at 9:30 a.m., at intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Fourth Street, instead of in front of City Hall as in the past. Registration will be at City Hall. Early-bird entry fees are $20 before the day of the race, and $25 on race day. Registration includes a short-sleeve t-shirt.
For more information, contact Lincoln Recreation Department Director Jessica Clay at 785-524-6015 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beginning at 9 a.m., the Post Rock Dance Academy students will perform at the intersection of Lincoln and Fourth. Also at 9, a two-person scramble kicks off at Lincoln Golf Course.
This year, the Post Rock Festival Committee is sponsoring the porcelain chariot races, beginning at 9:45 a.m., on Main Street.
“What is a porcelain chariot race … well, it’s when you have a race on toilets,” said Lisa Feldkamp, event chairperson. “Toilets have been mounted to a base with wheels, and the race winner will be the one who can push a person on a toilet down Main Street the fastest.”
Feldkamp heads this year’s committee comprised of Marti Lyne, Konnie Budreau, Shayla Errebo, Deb Minear, Carly Errebo, Barb Hollis, Alisha Minear, Heather Voeltz and Diane Helus.
The morning continues with a parade, beginning at 10:30, featuring the 1st Infantry Division Band from Fort Riley.
Following the parade, the Lincoln Carnegie Library’s Teen Advisory Board is hosting a “Dress with Lincoln County Pride Costume Contest.” Judging will take place at 1:30 p.m. The contest includes an individual category, and group, which is limited to no more than five people. Contestants can bring their own costumes, or use the ones provided at the event.
To enter, contestants will have their picture taken in their costume and submit their contact information. Each entry will be judged on creativity, relation to the county, humor, pose(s) and group coordination, if it is a group entry. The winner of the individual category will receive $10 in Chamber Bucks, and the winner of the group category will receive $15 in cash. Winners do not have to be present to win.
During the afternoon, the festival’s events move to Lincoln City Park.
Beginning at noon, a dime toss, inflatables, a train and other fun for the kids kicks off in the park. The beer garden also opens at noon in the park. All sales proceeds will be used to purchase new fire gear.
Another new event, mud volleyball, begins at 1 p.m. The tournament is limited to eight teams. Organizers said the first eight teams registered, which includes paying the entry fee, will play.
Entry forms can be picked up at Seirer’s Clothing, and the fee is $40 per team. Completed entry forms and fee payment can also be dropped off at the same location. Players must be 16 years of age, and each team is limited to four males and four females.
“This was a huge hit in the past, and the festival committee decided we would have it as an event this year,” Feldkamp said.
From 1-4 p.m., a slip-n-slide kickball game is also scheduled in the park. The free movie, “Ratchet and Clank,” begins at 1:30 p.m., in the Finch Theatre, followed by Family Feud at 2 p.m.
At 4 p.m., three events, including a horseshoe tournament, cardboard boat races and Jaron Bell, from the Jaron Bell Band, are planned. Registration for the boat races begins at 3 p.m., while tournament sign-up begins at 3:30 p.m. Bell, who is scheduled to perform until 8 p.m., will also have shirts and CDs available for purchase.
The afternoon ends with laser tag – set for 5-10 p.m., in the park.
At 5:30 p.m., festival-goers can munch on hamburgers during supper. The meal is $5 per plate, and $2 for an extra burger.
Following supper, a scavenger hunt is set for 6:30 p.m. Registration begins at 6 p.m. A fireworks display, sponsored by the Lincoln Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7928, is planned later that night, weather permitting. And from 8 p.m. to midnight, a dance featuring Kill Creek Rising is planned in the park.
The Pink Heals Firetruck truck will also make an appearance at this year’s festival. Organizers said the truck will be featured in the parade, and will be in the park until 5 p.m.
The truck was created in honor of breast cancer patients who lost their battle, and cancer survivors.
Getting the Pink Heals Firetruck to this year’s festival was the work of First Rural Fire Captain Jarrod Heinze. Jarrod’s father, Bob Heinze, is a first cousin to Richard Janne, whose wife, Nicki, was the inspiration behind the truck. Deb Minear and Pat Biggs are also first cousins to Janne, Feldkamp said.
After being diagnosed, Nicki wanted to become involved with the pink firetrucks, and traveled all over until she lost her battle to cancer two years ago.
“The firetruck is not just for breast cancer, it is for all cancers,” she said. “It is painted pink to represent love. All pink heals firetrucks are named after a person fighting cancer.”
To cover fuel, insurance and upkeep expenses, the group sells T-shirts which will be available at the festival. The event is also an opportunity for the families of cancer victims, as well as survivors and current patients, can sign their name on the truck, organizers said.
“There is no charge to get the Pink Heals firetruck to an event,” she said. “They do it because cancer has touched so many lives, and it is a way to honor those that have lost the battle and recognize the survivors.”
Fire truck offers hope, spreads awareness for disease
Richard Janne watched as the elderly man made his way around the bright, pink fire truck parked a few feet away.
Dressed in overalls, with one pant leg left tucked inside his boot, the old farmer ambled around the fire engine, looking carefully at the handwritten names covering the exterior.
After several minutes spent scanning the signatures, the man quietly walked away.
But a short time later, he returned, taking another lap around the truck.
Over and over, the man returned.
When he came back later that afternoon, the man was escorted by his granddaughter.
“He’s wanting to write grandma’s name on the truck,” the young girl told Janne.
Nervous, the old man admitted he hadn’t written his late-wife’s name since her death eight years before. And so, he decided instead to walk around the fire truck for every year the two were married.
He already completed 48 laps that day.
With a little encouragement, the man took a black marker from Janne’s hand and simply wrote: “Elsie, Love Leon.”
And in that park in a small Kansas town, a husband honored his wife, who lost her cancer battle.
It’s stories like those that make it all worthwhile for Janne, who, with the help of his late-wife, Nicki, founded the group, Pink Heals Wichita in 2010.
“I got chills,” he said. “In every town, there’s always that one person who has a similar experience. It’s unique. It’s really special to watch people go up and write a name.”
The Jannes formed the Wichita chapter shortly after Nicki was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer in January the same year. The same year, the group obtained a 1987 Pierce Lance Fire Pumper Engine from the City of Lawrence. Once the truck was painted pink in 2011, the chapter’s mission began.
“The truck fought fires in Lawrence in 24 years, and it’s been fighting cancer for six years,” Janne, a former firefighter, said.
The idea was hatched by Dave Graybill, a retired Glendale, Ariz., firefighter, who founded the group in September 2007. While the name was eventually changed to Pink Heals, the mission remains the same – to support women fighting all forms of cancer and raise awareness for the disease. Today, the fleet has grown to more than 70 pink fire trucks and approximately 30 chapters across the country, he said.
“We believe in supporting all forms of cancer, and if we raise money for anything, we believe you have to keep that money local,” Janne said.
T-shirt sales and donations help support the chapter by covering maintenance, fuel and insurance expenses to keep the trucks rolling from town to town.
“This is a rolling memorial for anyone who has been touched by cancer,” he said. “It’s OK to sign the truck if you’ve lost an immediate family member, maybe your grandma or your aunt, as a tribute to cancer victims. It’s hard for someone who hasn’t lost someone to cancer to understand what it means to write a name of a loved one on the truck.”
As time has passed, the black ink has become lighter in some spots. Janne hates to say it’s faded. Instead, he says those names were absorbed into the truck, and became a part of it.
“I tell people that the person’s love powers us down the highway,” he said.
Even though the truck’s exterior is covered in names, Janne said there is still plenty of space available when the truck rolls into Lincoln this weekend.
The Pink Heals fire truck will make an appearance in the Post Rock Festival parade, and will be on display in the City Park until 5 p.m. This summer alone, the truck has visited at least 25 towns across Kansas. But this weekend’s trip to Lincoln has a special meaning.
Janne’s mother, Doris Heinze Janne, was born in Lucas, but lived in Lincoln for several years. His grandparents were from Sylvan Grove, and he’s a first cousin to Bob Heinze of Lincoln. Janne’s father, a Wilson resident, chose a bridge between Wilson and Lincoln to propose to Richard’s mother.
“So, it’s kind of a second home for me,” he said.
“We don’t usually schedule anything on a holiday weekend because our people are volunteers, and we want them to be with their families. But then I thought, ‘You know, that’s my family,’ and that’s why I decided to bring the truck up myself. I know my mom would be proud.”
As the years have passed, Janne said the chapter has visited a number of small communities across the state, spreading its message and raising awareness.
“It’s been a wonderful chance to visit so many people throughout the state,” he said. “Sometimes, we have people who know we’re coming, waiting for us with signs 15 miles outside of town. It’s exciting to see … and we can never pull into a place to eat and leave without someone wanting to talk to us or sign the truck. I can always eat 15 minutes later. We’re not going to leave without letting someone sign, or talk to us. That’s what it’s about.”