A shift in locations has prompted a subtle shift in emphasis at the Nebraska State Fair that appears to be paying off.
State Fair Board President Jana Kruger of Arlington says the shift from Lincoln to Grand Island has meant more than a change of location.
“We feel like we have put agriculture at the front of the Fair, instead of at the back of the Fair in Lincoln. Both of the cattle barns were on opposite ends and they were hard to find and here (Grand Island) it really is front and center,” Kruger says. “And, like somebody said, ’Hey we’ve rediscovered livestock.’”
Kruger calls it a return to the state’s roots. She says that seems to have translated well for visitors. Kruger says she has overheard conversations between older residents and their younger companions describing life on the farm, recalling family memories.
The State Fair moved from Lincoln to Fonner Park in Grand Island last year. It drew nearly 310,000 visitors last year. Attendance during the first five days of the Fair this year has been up eight percent, with slightly more than 129,000 taking in the Fair.
Kruger says the board works hard to offer something to attract every Nebraska resident.
“You know, a fair is different things to different people and (we) find everybody has their favorite thing,” according to Kruger. “And, we want to be all that. We want to offer lots of things so that no matter what your interest is, you’ve got something to do here.”
The Fair is entering its final weekend. It runs through Labor Day on Monday.