Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
With county fairs winding down, and the new school year gearing-up, there is still some good family fun to be had this summer. The Nebraska State Fair will take place August 23 through September 2 in Grand Island. I want to encourage all Nebraskans to attend the State Fair.
This year's theme is "The Thrill of It All" and with the addition of a new carnival midway with both nostalgic and new rides, there will be fun for all ages. A new addition this year will be a Showcase of Champions high school rodeo set to take place on Labor Day.
Through the 144 year tradition of Nebraska's State Fair, this is the fourth year that the State Fair will be held in Grand Island. Fairgoers will note that even after four successful years, work to keep improving the fairgrounds continues. This year, there are the addition of trees and grass across a number of locations on the grounds. Additionally, the Fonner Park Concourse - the area that houses the open class horticulture, ag products, photography, foods, fine arts and forestry - will be air conditioned thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Nebraska State Fair Foundation.
Fairgoers will notice a new building under construction near the main gate of the grounds. The Nebraska State Fair is excited to partner with the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission on the new "Nebraska Building." The Nebraska Building will feature an educational exhibit space focused on Nebraska agriculture and the exciting return of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission display area. The building will add 54,000 square feet of exhibition space to the fairgrounds and the upper level will house the administrative offices for the Nebraska State Fair. The new building will be ready for the 2014 Nebraska State Fair.
I encourage you to visit the 4-H and FFA exhibits. I am always impressed by the hard work and ingenuity of our young people that exhibit through their projects at the State Fair.
New this year you'll also be able to find MOINK balls (a combination of beef and pork), alligator-on-a-stick, and pancake burgers. You'll also be able to find fair fan favorites like pineapple whip, corn dogs and funnel cakes.
From sword swallowers, to sea lions, from aerial artists to an extreme BMX cycling stunt show there is something for everyone this year with free entertainment featured all across the fair grounds.
There is another event that will provide parents, teachers and students the opportunity to learn about science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM. STEM education opportunities will be everywhere -- near the food, rides, exhibits, agriculture, performance areas, and even in the parking lot.
STEM will also be featured at Nebraska's Largest Classroom, held at the Fair on Monday, August 26 and Tuesday, August 27. This initiative is a result of schools, colleges, parents, businesses, nonprofits, and afterschool professionals all working together to make STEM education accessible to families in a place where they'll already be visiting.
The Nebraska State Fair allows us all an opportunity to join together to celebrate the accomplishments of our fellow Nebraskans. It gives us an opportunity to learn and share, and provides us with some great entertainment and food options.
I look forward to seeing you at the State Fair.
- Dave Heineman
Governor of Nebraska