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Ribstock bringing 10 barbecue vendors to Aksarben Village

Ribstock bringing 10 barbecue vendors to Aksarben Village

Two years after locally famous Gerda's Restaurant closed, the daughter of Gerda Bailey is bringing her mother's beloved dishes back to Omaha through pop-up events.

The Millard Business Association’s eighth annual Ribstock will be held this weekend at Stinson Park near 67th and Center Streets.

It features 10 barbecue vendors, a bar, a family entertainment zone, a musical performance by Lemon Fresh Day and a “people’s choice” rib competition.

Why, one might ask, is a Millard group having an event at Aksarben Village?

Because a portion of the proceeds go to fight food insecurity, event chairman David Englemeyer said, which is a problem across the metropolitan area.

Among other groups, Ribstock supports the Food Bank for the Heartland, which distributed more than 32 million meals to the hungry last year.

“The Food Bank doesn’t just help Millard,” Englemeyer said. “It’s in 93 counties.”

Stinson Park offers more space for large crowds, he said, increasing Ribstock’s fundraising potential.

The association previously held the festival in a Millard area parking lot. In 2018, it drew about 3,000 people.

When it moved to midtown Omaha in 2019, about 6,000 people attended, said Englemeyer, who became chairman of the event three years ago. His dad, Kenny, founded the festival with friends Steve and Jeff Gehring.

Ribstock was canceled in 2020, so planners hope that even more people will be eager to come out this year.

Nine of the barbecuers are from the Omaha area, and one is from outside Tecumseh, so patrons will support Nebraska businesses, Englemeyer said.

“We’re not a rib fest (that’s) corporate with national cooks who come into town, take your money and leave,” he said.

Participating vendors are Oklahoma Joe’s, 3D BBQ, Boyd & Charlies, Wayne’s New Skoo, Taste of Heaven, Sauce Bosses, Spice Your Life, Big Green Q, Billy Buck’s Smokehouse and Arly’s.

Other nonprofits supported by Ribstock include Project Wee Care, which provides food, warm clothing, school supplies and Christmas gifts to needy Millard area families; a scholarship fund serving Millard’s public high schools and Skutt Catholic High School; and Pick a Pooch Adoption Days and Pet Expo, which runs concurrently with Ribstock at Baxter Arena.

A series of videos on offers details of the festival and stories and statistics about the supported organizations and the people they serve. Englemeyer said his dad is a narrator.

“Have your Kleenex ready because he tells the story of one of the families we helped out one year,” the younger Englemeyer said.

Ribstock runs from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 for people 21 and older and free for kids.

Omaha World-Herald: Omaha Dines

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Betsie covers a little bit of everything for The World-Herald's Living section, including theater, religion and anything else that might need attention. Phone: 402-444-1267.

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