Statewide flooding March 17 and localized flooding in south-central Nebraska July 9 have: wreaked havoc on the economy; cost some farmers and small business owners their livelihood; dealt a heavy blow to the hospitality industry in Kearney; and had a massive — still being calculated — impact on the agricultural community.
Who knew that the Nebraska Strong attitude would be called on twice in one year, with a cautionary note that we still have five months of weather left? All this comes right before the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island Aug. 23-Sept. 2.
In a recent weekly column, Gov. Pete Ricketts points out that “fairs are wonderful gathering points where communities come together in celebration of the many things that make our state great. They also offer an abundance of enjoyable, family-friendly entertainment options. From live music to livestock, and parades to pie baking, fairs have something fun for everyone.
“Fairs display the fruits of their labor and help familiarize the rest of the state with the valuable contribution they make to Nebraska,” Ricketts wrote.
Let me add that this year’s fairs may have been a rallying point on the road to recovery. Communities celebrated survival while recognizing the usual agriculture achievements of 4-H and FFA members showing all manner of livestock and others showing pickles and candy and cakes and pies and produce.
Each fair venue somehow can provide recognition of the losses as well as the opportunities. A donation bucket for financial assistance and a plan to distribute it would be a good start.
Town hall meetings, group-counseling sessions as it were, would be another great way to discuss obstacles and explore solutions. Just letting people relax and blow off steam would be a big help.
The governor wrote about the State Fair’s Raising Nebraska exhibit that invites fairgoers to take an in-depth look at Nebraska agriculture.
“Visitors can hop inside the cab of a combine to go for a simulated drive. Kids can get their hands dirty while exploring the various soil types that sustain and nourish Nebraska-grown crops. They also can see how satellite technology and fiber-optic sprinkler heads are making center pivots smarter, more effective machines. One station within the Raising Nebraska exhibit explains why some eggs are white while others are brown. Another traces how milk gets from a cow’s udder to a carton on the shelf of a grocery store,” he wrote.
I’d like to see that education expanded to include discussions on climate change and weather in general. We’ve been inundated with not only water and ice and rain and snow, but with new terminology such as the now infamous bomb cyclone.
What a great name for a carnival ride, or a dairy treat or some other concession — think super nachos, snow cones, funnel cakes. The Bomb Cyclone.
Or perhaps the “Perfect Storm.” There’s one that begs sideshow huckstering to the highest degree.
Bottom line: Let’s celebrate community, encourage one another and learn something together from this difficult year. I’ll see you at the funnel cake stand.