GRAND ISLAND — Fair goers to the Nebraska State Fair will see a few changes this year.
“We’re trying to be more hospitable to our guests,” said Bill Ogg, executive director of the fair. “We’re going to move them around the grounds more efficiently. A simple example is the interior trams. We basically had two courses last year. If you wanted to go from the west side of the grounds to the east side of the grounds, you’d ride one tram, and then you’d get off of it and get on another tram.”
This year one continuous loop will serve the entire grounds with multiple stops.
“That will facilitate people getting around the grounds,” Ogg said. “That will be new and different.”
Ogg plans to continue with the outdoor concerts this year, rotating the stage to the south to allow for a more pleasant experience for the audience.
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“We’ve strengthened the entertainment on the east side of the fairgrounds,” he noted. “The Pump & Pantry Party Pit used to be by the Aurora Coop Pavilion. It’s now located in the grand district south of the arena. There is lots of entertainment out there.”
The Nebraska State Fair opens on Friday and continues through Sept. 5 at Fonner Park in Grand Island. Advance admission to the fair is $12 for adults, $3 for ages 6-12 and $5 for ages 60 and older.
After a long career of working at fairs, Ogg said he still enjoys seeing young people receive recognition.
“I’ve been in the business quite a few years,” he said. “What I look forward to is seeing the youth — and the adults as well — when they are humbled to receive an award or a prize or a grand championship honoring how hard they have worked. When they reach that achievement, the smile and the pride on their face is something I enjoy seeing.”
Ogg believes the diverse concert lineup will appeal to many Nebraskans.
“We have everything from a comedian, Jeff Dunham, to Hispanic music with Los Tucanes, to Flo Rida for the younger audience and, of course, Bradley Gilbert for some country,” he said.