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EXPLORE AMERICA: Nebraska State Fair

Blue Ribbon Pumpkin at the Nebraska State Fair

Blue Ribbon Pumpkin at the Nebraska State Fair

The Nebraska State Fair boasts all the family favorites: a midway with carnival rides and games of chance and skill, racing pigs, clowns, and stilt walkers who weave through the crowds. Head to the Marketplace North to see breathtakingly detailed sand sculptures, or take the chance to be shuttled painlessly around the fairgrounds by tractor-drawn trailers. Grandstand events include monster truck shows, tractor pulls, and a demolition derby, while open-air concerts feature the best in pop, country, Hispanic, and Christian music. More entertainment can be found in the beer garden, which opens at 5 p.m. every night, in addition to three stages located throughout the grounds. The grounds are extensive and there’s a lot to see; it’s helpful to visit the “Tips to Your Best Fair” section on the fair’s website, so you can build a customized schedule of all your favorite events.

While there’s nothing wrong with sticking to carnival rides and funnel cakes, you might want to make time for the 4-H and Future Farmers of America agricultural exhibits, which make a terrific way to give children a taste of life on a farm. Kids can learn where milk comes from by “milking” a fiberglass cow, or visit a poultry hatching, farrowing, and large-animal birthing area to see baby animals (or even catch a glimpse of one being born under the watchful eye of trained vets). Barn tours are offered on weekends through Labor Day.

The Nebraska State Fair will be held at Fonner Park, 700 East Stolley Park Road, Grand Island, Nebraska, from August 27 – September 10, 2010. Telephone (308) 382-1620. http://www.statefair.org/fair/

Photo credit: ©Nebraska State Fair