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As the City of Lincoln prepares for the biggest event of the year, their Mayor is especially looking forward to the event.

Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder says there are a lot of perks to being the Mayor during the Art and Balloon Festival, which takes place this weekend. One event the Mayor is especially looking forward to is the sidewalk chalk art. Last year was the first year for this event.

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The art is a cooperative effort between the City of Lincoln and the Lincoln Park District. Mayor Snyder explains anyone can purchase themselves a block of the downtown area and go to work decorating the sidewalks of the square. The money paid by the participants goes to cover the cost of the sidewalk chalk and hairspray that is provided. The hairspray acts a sealant for the chalk.

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Last year another first year event took place in downtown Lincoln. Mayor Snyder says "Up In Smoke On The Square" will feature some nationally recognized barbecuers. Last year the event was a huge success, and this year a prize of almost $15-thousand will be awarded to the winner.

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The Mayor had the privilege of being a judge for this event. While you might think anyone can judge good BBQ, Mayor Snyder says he had to become certified to judge in the competition. He adds it was pretty tough because of how many good entries there were.

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The Art and Balloon Festival kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday afternoon. There will lots of live entertainment, art fairs, a wine tasting from Illinois wineries, and of course the balloon launches Friday and Saturday mornings and evenings.

For more information on all the events and activities, or for directions, you can visit lincolnillinois.com.

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