Background Photo Provided by the
Nebraska Tourism Commission
Offical Nebraska Government Website
Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Discovering the Good Life

By Governor Pete Ricketts

August 10, 2016


The Governor’s official photo is available here.


It’s August in Nebraska, and that means it’s the middle of county fair season and that many communities are hosting festivals across the state.  As Governor, I often tell people that one of my favorite parts of my job is traveling the state and getting to know the people and places that have made our state the Good Life for almost 150 years.  Every community in Nebraska has a unique story, and as a dedicated history buff, county fairs and festivals present an opportunity to discover something new about our state’s rich cultural heritage.


County fairs are the highpoint of the year for many of our state’s rural communities.  Fairs are a place for ag producers and local businesses to highlight their successes and for our communities to come together around entertainment, food, and carnival rides.  In July, I spent time in south-central Nebraska visiting county fairs in Franklin, Nuckolls, and Clay counties.  At the fairs, I visited with local FFA chapters, learned how to show a bunny from 4-H kids, and enjoyed mutton busting and the kids tractor pull.  


In addition to county fairs, our state has a diverse array of community festivals and celebrations.  From Juneteenth in Omaha to Swedish Days in Holdrege, our communities have developed rich traditions to help them highlight and share their unique heritage with family, friends, and tourists.  This past weekend, I attended Czech Days in Wilber, the Czech Capitol of Nebraska.  First launched in 1962, this festival has become iconic throughout the state, and draws tens of thousands of people from across Nebraska and the region eager to join in the celebration.  Additionally, Susanne and I visited Chadron for Fur Trade Days earlier this summer, where I competed (and won a prize!) in the annual buffalo chip throwing contest.  Chadron is well-known for its preservation of the history of fur traders, and is home to the Museum of the Fur Trade.  Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to visit the sculpture garden in Bartlett featuring art donated by Nebraska artist Herb Mignery and his wife Sherry.  This past weekend, I was able to help honor the Mignerys at the Wheeler County Fair for their generosity to Bartlett, which has the most sculptures per capita in the world!


These are just a couple of examples of the exciting opportunities to explore that await you across our state.  If you and your family are looking for new ways to explore our state, consider picking up the Nebraska Passport.  Every year, the Passport program features a variety of tours you can take across our state that will take you to new and exciting destinations.  Visit for more information.


With town halls scheduled in the coming weeks, I will be spending quite a bit of time on the road traveling the state to hear from you.  To find out when I will be hosting a town hall in your area, please visit  


Along the way, I will be participating in additional community festivals and events.  Most of all, I look forward to joining Nebraskans from across the state at the State Fair in Grand Island later this month.  The State Fair is always an incredible opportunity for the people of our state to come together, and I look forward to attending the Train concert on the evening of Sunday, August 28, 2016!


As you travel the state, I hope that you will share your experiences and pictures with my office by emailing or by mailing them to the Governor’s Office at the State Capitol, P.O. Box 94848, Lincoln, NE 68509.  As we receive your pictures and stories, we will share some of them on the Governor’s Office social media pages, so that other Nebraskans can learn more about our state’s diverse and rich heritage along with you and me.  I look forward to hearing about how you have been discovering the Good Life in new ways this summer!