Nebraska State Fair a success despite changes for pandemic

The 2020 Nebraska State Fair has come to an end. Despite many things missing this year, organizers call it a success.
Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 10:39 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The 2020 Nebraska State Fair came to an end on Monday after its typical 11-day run. With so many other changes due to the pandemic, attendance was much lower than in the past but was actually higher than fair officials had expected.

“We didn’t really know what to expect,” Jaime Parr, Chief of Sales and Service, told Local4 News. “We were kind of shooting for 10 percent of our normal capacity. We surpassed that by the end of our week days, after the first weekend and through the week. The second weekend was kind of the cherry on top for us.”

The 11-day run gave food trucks and vendors an opportunity to make some sales. For some, they say the smaller crowds were actually pretty nice.

“You get to meet people a little one on one more,” Marty Hearsh with Bristol Windows said. “Those people you get a better rapport with the people then you relate to them more and get a little business out of it.”

Marty Hearsh, or Marty the Window Guy as he’s known around the fair, has worked at the fair for five years. He said many of his other sales opportunities in the Midwest were canceled this year, but he had a feeling the Nebraska State Fair would not be one of them.

“I had a belief they would do it because I know how Nebraskans are,” Hearsh said. “Nebraskans are resilient and know what they’re doing.”

Giving vendors an opportunity to sell and 4H and FFA kids a chance to show was just one of the big reasons the fair decided to go on.

“Ultimately the 4H and FFA youth and their participation in what we do on an annual basis is our core and our vendors were so pleased to have a place to come and set up and communicate with people,” Parr said.

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