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      State Fair Plans Volunteer Tribute

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      The friendly faces who welcome guests to the Nebraska State Fair may receive special recognition.

      Volunteers have been called the fair's secret weapon. And now the fair board wants to honor those who have gone above and beyond.

      They're planning a tribute, listing those who have put in more than 500 hours.

      Fair Director Joseph McDermott said, "As I go across the country and talk to other fair managers about our volunteer program, they can't believe it. One of the fairs nearby says, 'I have volunteers too, but I pay them $7 an hour.' This is truly a volunteer program. It's very strong and we want to make sure it stays strong."

      Hundreds of county and state fair leaders are meeting in Grand Island this weekend. The industry is known for cooperating, not competing, and the Nebraska State Fair believes it has a lot of success stories to share.

      McDermott wants to show off the latest addition to the fairgrounds, the Nebraska Building. Construction will wrap up soon. However, then it is up to Nebraska Game and Parks to install its exhibit, along with the massive new Nebraska Ag Experience, which is being coordinated by the state Department of Agriculture, along with the University of Nebraska.

      The 2014 fair is now less than six months away. Fair leaders are hoping to boost livestock numbers, with new cattle events.

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