The Nebraska State Fair and Aksarben Stock Show received five category wins, plus five additional placings, in the International Association of Fairs and Expos Hall of Honor contests.
The Aksarben Stock Show took first-place honors in two Innovations in Sponsorship categories. They were for sponsor exposure during COVID-19 and the Aksarben Pig Challenge, which was presented by Farm Credit Services of America.
The State Fair captured first place for the Hall of Honor Communication Award for its statewide tree bombing project.
In the Agricultural Awards category, the Aksarben Stock Show took first place for its partnership with outside groups: the Aksarben Purple Ribbon Reception, Grand Island Rotary presentation and working with University of Nebraska College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
The State Fair captured third place for its partnerships with outside groups and businesses, spotlighting the Hornady masks provided to attendees and the UNL-designed and provided hand sanitizer units. The Aksarben Stock Show took third place for its trade show booths and interaction,
In Competitive Awards, first place went to the State Fair for competitive exhibit measures taken during COVID-19. The fair took two second-place honors, one for a virtual tour of the Education Department, including a short video, and the other for awards presentations at Howard Elementary School and Centura and Statehood Day recognition event. The fair captured third place for Zoom and virtual judging of science projects and a Zoom presentation to the NEBRASKAland Foundation.
The IAFE judges selected three Nebraska State Fair staff members — Gretchen Kirchmann, Judy Harper and Laura Hurley — to create 15-minute video presentations of their winning entries for the “Champion Circle,” at IAFE’s virtual conference Nov. 30 through Dec. 1. These videos are part of the virtual conference presentations for paid attendees.
The Aksarben Stock Show currently is managed and produced by the Nebraska State Fair. Kirchmann is the marketing and sponsorship director for Aksarben.
Harper is a retired teacher and longtime educational superintendent who coordinates all the K-12 exhibits from across the state. The exhibit had more than 700 entries this year from students across Nebraska ranging from creative arts, science, handwriting and poetry, to name a few categories.
Due to COVID-19, the exhibit was held in the Quilt Room of the Pinnacle Bank Expo Center.
Hurley is the experiential partnership, sponsorships and hospitality director for the Nebraska State Fair. She developed the nonprofit tree bombing along State Fair Boulevard that successfully spread across Nebraska.
The International Association of Fairs and Expos represents more than 1,100 fairs around the world, and more than 900 members from allied fields. The contests are open to all fairs and expositions.