Decatur Celebration set-up

A vendor is setting up a sign at their booth on Friday, Aug. 4. Dozens of vendors were setting up Friday morning in preparation for Decatur Celebration

Before the sun even rose Friday morning, Justin and Sherie Rutledge were hard at work to prepare for a weekend of festivities.

“It’s crazy down here,” said Justin Rutledge. “It’s hectic craziness.”

The couple from Havana, Ill. were among the dozens of vendors who started work Friday morning to set up for the Decatur Celebration, which starts Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday night.

By 6 a.m. Friday, the Rutledges were setting up on North Franklin Street near the Stephen Decatur statue, putting dozens of pounds of pork into the smokers so they would be ready by Friday afternoon. The duo travel to events to promote their business, Deadwood BBQ, and were hopeful their inaugural trip to Decatur Celebration would be a successful one.

“We have our fingers crossed,” said Sherie Rutledge.

With cool weather expected for the weekend, vendors like Kari Calhoun were optimistic that business would be booming.

Calhoun, owner of Petals Gift Shop in Forsyth, arrived at the celebration grounds at 8 a.m. Friday to set up her wares, which included specially designed T-shirts and other trinkets, across from Central Park.

This will be Calhoun and her husband’s third time at the Celebration. Even with the long hours necessary to set up, operate and tear down, Calhoun said it was worth it.

“We wouldn’t do it if it weren’t successful for us,” she said.

Good weather is expected for the weekend, with partly cloudy skies and a high of 73 degrees today, according to the National Weather Service in Lincoln.

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Justin Rutledge

Justin Rutledge, of Deadwood BBQ in Havana, Ill., shows off pork inside the smoker on Friday, Aug. 4. Rutledge and his wife, Sherie, were among the dozens of vendors setting up shop Friday morning in preparation for Decatur Celebration

Saturday will see mostly sunny skies with a high of 79. A 40 percent chance of storms on Sunday will give way to a mostly cloudy evening as Celebration wraps up. The high is expected to be 76.

The Herald & Review's Celebration coverage will continue all weekend in print and online. Don't miss our livestream from Hickory Point Bank, and make sure to follow our Facebook page for live video of the headliners, taste testing and more!

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Staff Writer

Government-watchdog reporter for the Herald & Review.

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