State Fair Plans for New Horse Arena, More Improvements


With one multimillion dollar building under construction, the Nebraska State Fair makes plans for another big addition - this time for horses.

Fair leaders have a wish list. They'd like a grand entrance, an outdoor lake, and an indoor food court among other things.

But at the top of the list is a new equine complex.

As they plan for the future, they're scouting other facilities to get ideas.

Fair Board President Jana Kruger said, "We're going to take some time this summer and send board members and staff out to see other fairs, see what they're doing, what's new, what's state of the art so we can bring it back to Nebraska and make it even better."

That new horse arena is in the five year plan.

But under construction right now is the Nebraska Building, which will have interactive museum quality exhibits. The University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR) and Nebraska Department of Agriculture are leading the way.

Recently they met with farm groups, to get ideas as they hope to tell the story of where food comes from.

UNL 4-H Administrator Kathleen Lodl said, "We're looking at home we use space best, certainly the focus is on agriculture, being the Nebraska building, will be part of that, working out the details, but more to come."

They were hoping Cabela's would sponsor a giant aquarium, but fair board members report the Nebraska company declined the opportunity.

Funding for the project may come from Game and Parks, which will also have exhibit space in the new building.

Some improvements will be more immediate, including better wireless internet. That should better serve vendors, who rely on it in their exhibits.

And it should help the growing number of smartphone and tablet computer users, especially as they use the fair's updated website and app.