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What's new at the State Fair for 2012
This is year 3 for the fair in Grand Island; but don't think that means the same old, same old.
After three years in Grand Island state fair officials are consistently trying to find new and exciting things to bring to the fair.
This year while you're having fun you can also learn a thing or two as well.
"We decided that it would be nice to have an area where youth and the public could go to learn about natural resources and how to use water efficiently," said Marcia Lee, Central Nebraska Natural Resources District.
One of the new features on the fair grounds is the Outdoor Learning Area. Not only is it a place to relax after a long day, but it's also a space to learn about nature.
"We use native plants, they are drought resistant, a lot of them are drought resistant so if you pick those plants you don't have to water as much," Lee said.
The learning center will show Nebraskans sustainable landscaping using native plants and grasses.
And with much of the country suffering from drought, the half-acre exhibit will teach people about how water is used.
"Actual construction started in June, so this is all brand new," said Lee.
Some of the funding for the project came from a $10,000 grant from Rain Bird as part of an online contest.
"Thought of this concept and decided to do the contest and ended up getting first place in the nation," said Lee.
Another new feature at the fair is The Nebraska State Fair Fan Club, a way for fairgoers to get wristbands to their favorite free concert without having to stand in line.
"We had a lot of calls to get them in advance so this is one way that we could do it, we hope to build this fan club in the future so that it has more benefits," said Events and Entertainment Director Chelsey Jungck.
In years past, those who wanted to go to the free concerts would have to stand in line and wait for those wristbands.
"It's $75, you get two get admission, two wristbands to the free concert of your choice, you get two t-shirts, you get a membership ID cards, lanyards that say you're a fair fan, so it's a great package," Jungck said.
Those free concerts this year include the Charlie Daniels Band, Marty Stuart, the Gatlin Brothers and Mercy Me.
At each of those concerts, there will be seats roped off for fan club members. Some of those seats will be on the floor and some on the sides.
"People who are avid fair fans can join and get information in advance of the fair, they get our newsletter and then all of those other benefits I previously listed," said Jungck.
Parking to get to some of those concerts has also gotten easier. New for this year, a brand new parking lot
"It's Libby's east lot, is what we're calling it. There's about 36 acres of parking and we anticipate using this a lot on the weekends," said Facility Director Jamie Parr.
Libby's east lot will provide nearly 4,000 parking spaces and is located east of the fairgrounds at the intersection of Fonner Park Road and Stuhr Road.
"It probably won't be used a lot during the week, but know there is additional parking on the east side of the fairgrounds," said Parr.
And, of course, while on the grounds you can't have "High Flying Fun" without the Sky Tram: an aerial view of the biggest party in Nebraska.
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