This week, Nebraskans across our state are converging on Grand Island for the Nebraska State Fair which runs through September 7th. Since 1868, Nebraskans have gathered together to celebrate our state’s agriculture industry, enjoy unique entertainment, and discover the latest products our state’s entrepreneurs offer. In recent years since the fair’s move to Grand Island from Lincoln, it has continued to grow, flourish, and highlight the very best of Nebraska.
From Omaha to Ogallala and Harrison to Humboldt, the Nebraska State Fair brings Nebraskans from all walks of life together. As Abraham Lincoln said at a fair in Wisconsin in 1859: “[Fairs] are useful in more ways than one; they bring us together, and thereby make us better acquainted, and better friends than we otherwise would be.” One of the biggest concerns I hear from Nebraskans as I travel the state is the divide between urban Nebraska and the rural parts of our state. The State Fair helps to bridge that gap by providing a forum for all Nebraskans to share a piece of their lives and communities with the rest of the state through the many exhibits, vendors, and contests hosted by the fair.
While the fair has evolved over the years, this year’s fair continues many traditions and features new concerts, new foods, and lots of entertainment. From funnel cakes and corndogs to the Cattlemen’s Beef Pit’s prime rib sandwiches and The Secret Garden’s breakfast pitas, food is a big part of the fair. My personal favorite fair food is the deep fat-fried chocolate chip cookie dough.
The fair also features new exhibits this year. The expanded Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Encounter allows visitors to get a glimpse of our state’s natural habitats including a 12-foot waterfall, a 5,900-gallon aquarium, and a 150-foot stream. The University of Nebraska’s new “Raising Nebraska” exhibit provides visitors with a visual of food production from “farm to fork.” With fewer families living and working on farms, it is important that we take steps to educate all Nebraskans about food production and how farmers and ranchers provide the food we put on our tables each day.
In the coming days, I encourage you to consider spending a day at the fair to enjoy the food, fun, and festivities. If you attend the fair, be sure to capture your experience with your camera. My office will be collecting photos from Nebraskans who attend the fair, and we will share a selection of them on my website and social media pages. You can submit your photos by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailing them to the Governor’s Office, 1445 K Street, Lincoln, NE 68508. As always, you are welcome to call my office at 402-471-2244 with any questions you might have.