Attendance down some due to COVID
A large crowd converged in Stockham Saturday evening for the 42nd annual community barbecue.
Event organizer Berdon Kliewer said attendance was down some this year despite the evening’s perfect weather, due in large part, he surmised, to pandemic concerns.
“We spread people apart as best we could and tried to follow all the rules,” he said, reporting attendance was about one-third less than the usual 400 people who enjoy the annual meal and live music. “We’ve been doing this for a long time with the same group, plus we have some young guys involved now. It’s all for the community.”
Proceeds from the evening’s event help fund park improvements and other Stockham Booster Club projects.
Lincoln musician Paul Siebert provided musical entertainment while the meal was served, followed by Beer Money later in the evening. Siebert roamed through the crowd playing a variety of pop music, later sharing concerns with the impact the COVID pandemic is having on American culture.
“Teaching history is what I like to do (through music),” Siebert explained. “I’ve been working with the Nebraska Arts Council and Humanities Nebraska and one of my focus programs was ‘Echoes of an Era,’ which was specifically for schools, arts councils, libraries and other nonprofits. It was about immigrants coming to Nebraska.”
Siebert said his ancestors moved to Nebraska from Russia to get away from governmental control, which he believes is now a major factor driving pandemic protocol. “I was warned about this
“I was warned about this kind of control when I was growing up and through my program, ‘Echoes of an Era’ I’ve been talking about this for the last six or seven years,” he said. “Now I’m prevented from explaining that to children, so what is going on here is why my family left Russia.”
Siebert performed in Norfolk Friday, Stockham Saturday and Paxton Sunday, so he is keeping busy with musical gigs, but not like he is used to. “I have over 300 nursing
“I have over 300 nursing homes I play at in a five-state area,” he said. “What I usually do is play the nursing homes during the day and a school program in the evening so I was doing 40 programs a month. That work is all gone and so I’m having to go back to doing this (performing at community events like the Stockham barbecue) which is great, but it’s not what my focus was.
“It’s just very frustrating to see this happen,” he concluded.
‘We spread people apart as best we could and tried to follow all the rules.’ Berdon Kliewer