Saying goodbye to the Barn Festival

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Words like family, thankful, blessed are all things posted on decorative signs around the Barn Festival. They’re all words many use to describe the festival as they walk through it for the last time.

Customers search through the Barn Festival to find the perfect gift or decoration. (KSNB)

Families search for fall decor or get a start on their holiday shopping. If it is a craft of any kind the Barn Festival seems to have it.

“I mean there is nothing else around our area that competes to this,” Patricia Vacek of Ayr said.

The festival all started with an old barn and an idea over 25 years ago and now the festival has grown to multiple buildings and on two sides of the street.

But creators Marla and Brian Anders came to a difficult decision of ending the festival after this year. Brian has been dealing with a cancer diagnosis for a year now.

“It has been very very difficult because Brian is such a big part of that and we've had to fill some big shoes,” Marla said. “It's probably taken six men to fill those big shoes of Brian 's.”

Their kids have jumped in to help out and people from all over the state came to share their prayers and find one last special decoration. Lisa Carroll from Geneva said she always takes the weekend off work to come and when she heard about Brian's condition she could only describe it as heartbreak.

“His health is more important. That was kind of the heartbreak knowing they're going to have to go through that,” Carroll said. “So it'll be missed. It'll definitely be missed.”

The checkout line stretches all around the perimeter of the grounds. People search high and low in each of the buildings gathering their treasures to help them remember the festival for years to come. Many people said they wish Brian a road to recovery and good luck to the rest of the family. They are thankful for all the years they did get to have at the festival and shared through the generations.