It’s July in Nebraska, which means you can see corn and soybeans maturing and county fair season is right around the corner. It’s also a time when many Nebraskans travel to visit family, take a vacation or enjoy a weekend camping. It’s a big season for tourism in Nebraska, our state’s third-largest industry right behind agriculture and manufacturing. Whether you’re a Nebraskan looking for something new, or a family visiting from elsewhere, there’s a lot to see and do. From a historic eclipse to a whistle stop train tour, I hope you’ll get out and explore the Good Life this summer.
On Aug. 21, Nebraska will welcome thousands of visitors from across the nation to watch the first solar eclipse visible in the continental United States since 1979. Some of the best locations to watch the eclipse are right here in our state. In Nebraska, the eclipse is expected to begin near Scottsbluff at 10:25 a.m. Mountain Time and conclude near Falls City a little after 1 p.m. Central Time. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has a list of watch events for the solar eclipse, which you can access at http://outdoornebraska.gov/eclipse/. Before the eclipse, make sure you’ve read up on how to safely watch it, and identify a location ahead of time so you don’t miss out on it.
In addition to the eclipse, Susanne and I are also planning to visit Burwell for one of our favorite events, Nebraska’s Big Rodeo. It’s a premier event for our state, showcasing a piece of our unique heritage right in the heart of the Sandhills. Each year, around 15,000 to 20,000 people attend the rodeo in this town of about 1,200, creating an estimated economic impact of $750,000. We always enjoy watching the rodeo, trying out local eateries and marching in the parade through the town square.
In early August, Susanne and I will be leading a three-day whistle stop tour of the state to help celebrate Nebraska’s sesquicentennial anniversary of statehood. The Union Pacific train will stop in Omaha, Columbus, North Platte, Ogallala, Sidney, Gering, Kearney and Grand Island between Aug. 4-6. Events at each stop will feature notable Nebraskans and celebrate 150 years of the Good Life and how our state is growing. For more information about the tour and the many other sesquicentennial initiatives, visit www.ne150.org. Even if you’re not able to join the whistle stop tour, we hope you will get involved in one of the other initiatives to celebrate this anniversary.
These are just a few of the ways we will be celebrating the Good Life’s 150th this summer. If you want more ideas on how to get out and explore the Good Life, check out the Tourism Commission’s Nebraska Passport program by visiting www.nebraskapassport.com. The program features several different tours of Nebraska that will take you across the state and help you discover new places to love and enjoy with friends and family.
As you travel the state, I hope that you’ll share stories from your travels with my office. To share your stories or any other matter on your mind, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-471-2244. Buckle up and travel safely.