Nebraska State Fair preparation underway at Fonner Park

Nebraska State Fair preparation underway at Fonner Park
Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 9:25 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska State Fair is only two weeks away and organizers are doing a lot of exterior work to get the Fonner Park campus in Grand Island ready for the festivities.

The return of the state fair is like a new attraction coming to town, as a lot goes into preparing for this big event. The entire campus is undergoing a transformation and although the state fair has employees at Fonner Park year-round, this is when they bring all their resources together.

While they’re still in the beginning stages, some workers said they began setting up for the state fair right after the Hall County fair ended. They’ve been painting signs, putting up tents, and preparing the livestock areas for the animals.

Nebraska State Fair Executive Director Jaime Parr said this stage of preparation is all about communication.

“We have set up reports and lists so anywhere there’s a table or a chair or animal pins or panels that need to be set up we share that with our operations team,” said Parr. “There’s lots of measuring that happens, throughout the year on AutoCAD Maps and this time out year in person.”

AutoCAD is a 3-D map. Workers now get to compare what they see on AutoCAD to the grounds at Fonner Park. Parr said within a week, vendors will be on campus populating the tents and that’s when the real excitement starts. She calls the current phase the “pep rally” phase, but their main focus is very simple.

“You know we want to make sure that we have proper wayfinding and signage so that our guest can find their way around the campus pretty easily,” said Parr. “Our gatebook is already prepared and we have daily scheduled sheets. We have the mobile app that will help people find their way around the campus.”

Parr said they want people to easily find the attraction they are looking for. She also said there’s still a need for volunteers, who play a crucial role in the state fair’s operations.

“Volunteers are incredibly important to the success of the Nebraska State Fair. They provide welcoming, thanks, and answers to questions. Incredibly invaluable to the success of our event,” said Parr.

She said they do have a good number of volunteers, but more are always welcome.

“There are still needs throughout our program,” said Haley Roush, Volunteer Coordinator at the Nebraska State Fair. “Morning is filling up quickly, but we are really needing volunteers still for the afternoon, evening, and weekends, Labor Day especially.”

Roush said finding volunteers for evenings and weekends has always been a challenge, but sometimes morning volunteers are willing to help. She said some of the roles they still need to fill are hand stampers, tram hosts, and information kiosk workers.

This year is the first year the Nebraska State Fair is coordinating its own volunteer program. The major difference is the Volunteer Coordinator is on campus, allowing them to focus solely on State Fair.

It’s also the first year the fair will have to share the space with the Grand Island Casino and Resort.