Visitors to the 147th Nebraska State Fair – Aug. 26 to Sept. 5 in Grand Island – will celebrate the people, products and talent of Nebraska. The fair is a chance for about 144,000 Nebraska 4-H youth, representing all 93 counties, to share what they have learned and worked on throughout the year.
“At the fair, we celebrate the success of thousands of youth who have learned and grown through 4-H,” said Kathleen Lodl, associate dean of Nebraska Extension and 4-H program administrator. “It’s also an opportunity for youth to discover areas they’d like to learn more about and meet other 4-H members with similar interests from across the state.”
Many of the 4-H projects will focus on the youth’s year-long service to their communities, which is a staple of the organization. For example, Nebraska 4-H youth, families and volunteers were invited to participate in a statewide community service effort by creating and donating quilts to U.S. service members. Nebraska 4-H members and volunteers worked alone or in groups to make the quilts. The finished products could then be entered in the fair in the citizenship, quilt quest or design decisions project areas.
During the fair, these quilts will be donated to the Quilts of Valor Foundation, whose mission is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts. To date, Quilts of Valor has donated more than 142,000 quilts. Nebraska 4-H will present the quilts at 10 a.m. Sept. 3 in the 4-H-FFA building.
A new attraction debuting at this year’s fair is the #NE4H video view wall. Located in the 4-H-FFA building, it features 12 large televisions that will showcase point-of-view videos taken by 4-H members.
Visitors can download the Nebraska State Fair 4-H app to keep track of events, results and exhibit maps. The app can also be used to play the Seek and Scan game, which allows visitors to scan symbols on signs next to 36 static exhibits to unlock videos.
Beyond 4-H activities, Nebraskans will have opportunities to interact with the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The university’s Food Processing Center will have a food sampling display in the 4-H-FFA building. Many Nebraska favorites, along with newly introduced products, will be available for tasting. Products include salsa, pickles, soups, lemonade, seasoning blends, jellies, barbecue sauces, beef jerky, popcorn, sunflower seeds, marinades and more.
“The Food Processing Center display is a must-stop destination for many fairgoers,” said Jill Gifford, manager of the center’s National Food Entrepreneur Program. “Nebraska food companies provide samples to remind customers about their products and introduce new products to potential customers.”
Companies scheduled to participate include: Preferred Popcorn, Chapman; Hiland Dairy Co., Grand Island; Kiehl and Stroh Co., Hastings; Balabans, Henderson; Hill’s Sunflower Seed Co., Lincoln; Holen One Farms, Loomis; Oxford Locker Inc., Oxford; and Country Rhoads, Superior.
UNL Red Out Day at the state fair is Sept. 4. Fairgoers are encouraged to wear red and come to the Family Fun Zone Stage at 4 p.m. for a Husker pep rally. Fans can hear the beatboxing skills of DeWayne, cheer along with Husker cheerleaders and Lil’ Red, and have the opportunity to win prizes. To follow the event on Twitter, use “#UNLREDOUT.”