By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
Whether it's heat or in this case rain, the Nebraska State Fair has taken extra steps to make sure older Nebraskans enjoy a day just for them.
"Welcome to Grand Island, we're glad to have you," volunteer Bob McFarland said, greeting visitors.
In the fair's five years in Grand Island, this has been one of its signature events. In year one, tour buses were turned away and frustrated seniors confronted state troopers to get into a concert by Mel Tillis.
The fair quickly learned to host two shows on the special day and deploy more greeters to guide guests the moment they get off their tour bus.
"We actually help them get their tickets, get them through the line and started," volunteer Joyce Hultgren said.
And as BJ Thomas performed "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head", visitors had to dodge puddles on the grounds.
Fair Director Joseph McDermott said, "Grounds are wet, parking lots are wet, we're actually making plans to divert some of that water and we're making plans for the weekend realizing the grounds could be a little wet."
In heat or rain, they fair also decided to give door to door service on Older Nebraskans Day. Shuttles pick up visitors the moment they get on the grounds, taking them directly the arena.
McDermott said, "We realize that the older Nebraskans, some are going to have trouble navigating the grounds, so we do some extra things to make sure we get them to and from where they need to be."
Older fairgoers appreciate having a day to enjoy things.
Nancy and Larry of Grand Island said, "So many things that are beautiful. Buildings, animal facilities, friendly atmosphere, everybody wants to help you out."