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Nebraska State Fair a ‘Grand Champion’

By Senator Mike Johanns

This week, folks from all 93 counties will come together to celebrate our state’s rich history and culture at the Nebraska State Fair. Whether coming to participate in a livestock competition, see how a 4-H project fared, enjoy a tasty treat from a local food vendor or hear a favorite artist perform, the state fair has something for everyone. The 144th annual Nebraska State Fair kicks off this Friday, providing a wonderful opportunity to showcase new innovations, honor our agricultural roots and celebrate our Nebraska values. 

Last year alone, an estimated 337,000 attended the state fair over an 11-day period. This year’s theme, “The Thrill of it All,” will help ensure all attendees have an experience full of fun and excitement.  New additions for 2013 include a new midway carnival from a top national vendor and an air-conditioned grandstand concourse, to name a couple.

No matter which activities you participate in or where you’re located, Nebraska ingenuity and tradition emanate throughout the fairgrounds. Our innovation in agriculture and technology can be seen at dozens of vendor booths. The hard work 4-H and FFA students put into their projects are proudly displayed in the exposition buildings. Competitive events and various contests end with a smile and a handshake.

These are simple showings of the ideals and strong traditions that make our state such a great place to live and raise our families. But we’re not the only ones taking note, others are also picking up on just how special Nebraska is.  

A nationally-recognized group recently named Nebraska among its top business-friendly states for 2013. Nebraska received high marks for having low unemployment and a strong transportation infrastructure, as well as several other factors that create a business-friendly environment. These factors keep jobs coming and our economy booming.

Our most populous city, Omaha, made a cable network’s list of top 10 cities for new college graduates earlier this summer. The study looked at which cities are creating jobs, are affordable to recent grads and have a vibrant population of twenty-somethings. Low cost of living and a low unemployment rate were two of the primary reasons for Omaha’s top rating. And I could go on.

The reasons that make our state an appealing place for new businesses and job-seekers are many, stemming from low taxes, a non-intrusive government and a welcoming attitude toward all. We work hard to be successful and encourage others to do the same. We can all be proud of these achievements, which will again be celebrated at the Nebraska State Fair.

Whether you’ve never attended or never miss a sheep show, I encourage everyone to visit the state fair this year. It runs from August 23 through September 2. Details can be found at At a time when significant challenges face our nation, it is nice to be reminded of wholesomeness, tradition and friendliness woven into the fabric of our state.