State Fair on a Quest for One Million


The quest for one million is on, as the Nebraska State Fair nears a milestone that once seemed out of reach, even to the fair's biggest backers.

Nebraska's biggest bash is underway. The State Fair kicked off year number four with a crowd. Many came to get an early start on 11 days of non-stop fun.

"I'm going to come every day," one fairgoer named Donna told us. "If grandkids are in school, I'm coming every day."

They came as early as 8 a.m.

"And the buildings don't open until 9. We're feeling that, we're feeling the excitement of I just want to get there, I just want to see what's happening," State Fair Board Chair Jana Kruger said.

That's been the attitude of many as fair leaders have learned folks from hours away consider Grand Island within reach.

The fair's been embraced in its new home, and the fair starts 2013 about 20,000 people shy of the million mark in Grand Island.

Kruger said, "Every person that comes through, I think there's one more, there's one more. It's going to happen."

And many visitors are return customers.

Chuck and Terri Bowman of Fullerton said, "Every year there's something new, bigger and better."

It's hard to think just a few short years ago, some thought the fair was history.

Optimistically, fair officials once hoped for 200,000 visitors a year. Now, attendance is averaging well past 300,000 a year and growing.

Kruger said, "The way Nebraskans have embraced their state fair, it just gives us goose bumps to even talk about it."