State Fair clean up efforts underway

Local4 News at 6
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 9:39 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska State Fair is over and clean up efforts are underway. This also wraps up the first year at the helm for executive director Jaime Parr, and she says she’s pleased with how it all went. She said they had great guests and volunteers, while also praising exhibitors and vendors for their work.

Before the fair started, finding volunteers for the duration of the fair proved to be a challenge.

The solution turned out to be scheduling available volunteers in key positions. Parr said this year’s goal was to provide a better guest experience, and part of that was improving signage and way-finding to help guests find what they were looking for.

Parr added that the Nebraska State Fair mobile app had close to 7,000 downloads. It also wasn’t an Nebraska State Fair without an intense heatwave hitting the area, this time on the final weekend of the fair. Due to the heat, additional shade and misters were added late, but Parr said to expect even more of them in 2024.

“We could probably use a few more of those misters and we could always use some more shade,” said Parr. “I think you’ll continue to see the state fair invest in more shade throughout the campus, which would be helpful. As a team we’re going to rally together and talk about all kinds of ideas for improvement.”

Parr said she’s hopeful they’ll address those key issues when the committee holds their meeting, and that next year’s fair plays right into what people will see, because the Grand Island Casino and Resort will be developing their permanent facility by then. However, the fair will have a project of its own.

“We have $20 million of ARPA funding that will be benefits to the Fonner Park campus, so a number of different projects will be underway to try to mitigate some of the storm waters that pull up on the campus if it rains or when it rains,” Parr said.

Fair officials are also prepared to navigate around casino construction and will attempt to complete as much of their project before next year’s fair.

“Hopefully we’ll have better surfaces put back on top of those pipes and tunnels that go underground, so hopefully we have an easier area to traverse, for people to walk around on and less tripping hazards and less water to splash in as you walk from one area to another,” Parr added.

She said it’s highly likely that some areas will be still be under construction next year, which will require flexibility and adaptability.