Press | Press Releases

Press Releases

08/10/17
Top Ten Reasons to Attend the Nebraska Tourism Conference

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

Top Ten Reasons to Attend the Nebraska Tourism Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (August 10, 2017)—The 2017 Nebraska Tourism Conference is still a couple of months away but it's never too early to get excited about what to expect. There are different sessions each day with networking breaks in between. The conference will also include a marketing update from the Nebraska Tourism Commission where you will receive an update on the passport program and other general marketing activities. 

"With so many quality presentations, as well as opportunities to network and learn, this year's tourism conference will be an event to remember," said John Ricks, Executive Director at the Nebraska Tourism Commission.

Here are the top ten reasons you need to sign up for the conference: 

1. Be a kid again at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch

Tim Vala, owner of Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, wants you to be a kid again for at least a little while at his pumpkin patch.  Learn how Vala turned his wild idea into a highly successful business. As a conference attendee, you will visit Vala's Pumpkin Patch where you will be treated to a catered meal, bonfires and maybe even a train ride around the property.

2. Gain access to educational workshops, seminars, and quality speakers

All three days of the conference are packed with informational sessions lead by experts in their fields. Don't miss your chance to learn valuable tips and tricks on how to grow your business or attraction. This conference helps to expand Nebraska's tourism industry.

3. Find out how tourism creates a Halo Effect on the local economy

George Zimmermann will present Longwoods’ ground-breaking Halo Effect research. This research demonstrates how tourism marketing and visitation improves a destination's image not just as a place to visit, but also as a place to live, start a business, start a career, buy a second home and retire – talk about a chain reaction…looks like all of the key economic development objectives for any city, state or region.

4. Network with new friends and strengthen relationships

Making new connections means making new friends in the tourism industry that will last a lifetime. The conference is the best time to hear new ideas and learn what has worked for peers. 

5. Learn how to think outside of the box

No one goes to a conference hoping to leave with the exact same knowledge they had before. It wouldn’t be worth your time nor would it be worth your money. Our speakers and breakout sessions will challenge you to see all sides of the industry and how you can better promote your attraction or business.

6. Discover ways to increase attendees at your festivals and events

Brenda Leisy of the Old West Balloon Fest, Stacy Ann Griffin of the Nebraska Cigar Festival, Deborah Ward of the Omaha Craft Brew Campaign and David Fudge of Nebraskaland Days will provide insight on how to create successful festivals and events. During this session, you will learn how to face challenges and to apply goals to create sustainable and prosperous festivals. 

7. Become familiar with FAM Tours

Michael Collins will discuss the importance of increasing familiarity of your community. This session will show you what you can do to bring group operators to your attraction, community or area. You’ll learn the tricks of the trade to make yourself “group ready,” but also how you can work with the Nebraska Tourism Commission’s group tour manager.

8. Visit exhibitors and discover new marketing avenues

Visiting with conference exhibitors and learning about new marketing products and avenues keeps you informed on the latest ways to market your business.  Meeting someone face to face usually means better customer service.  So think about it... when would you ever get all the vendors in the same room waiting for you to talk to them? 

9. Zoom in for video tips for social marketing

Video is the newest way to reach more fans and amplify your social marketing. Learn from social media expert Catherine Heeg as she shares tips to produce your own videos, as well as, tools to fire up your imagination. In her session, you will learn the secrets to Live video, how to market your videos socially and amplify your messaging and how to capture images and footage that inspire people to travel.

10. You're sure to have a good time!

Make the most out of your trip to this conference by attending as many sessions as you can, as well as visiting Nebraska tourism sites. Enjoy all that Sarpy County has to offer! While you are in the area, hike through the Fontenelle Forest, go shopping at the Nebraska Crossing Outlets or take a tour of the Lucky Bucket Brewing Company.

     

For more information about travel, events and unique destinations in Nebraska, order your free travel guide today at VisitNebraska.com. Then stay connected with Nebraska Tourism on our Visit Nebraska Facebook page, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram and on YouTube.
 
The mission of the Nebraska Tourism Commission is to expand Nebraska’s dynamic and diverse travel industry making it more viable by creating awareness, attracting increased visitors which results in greater tourism revenue and economic gain throughout the state. To learn more, go to VisitNebraska.com.

####

07/31/17
Solar Eclipse: Small Town Style
 

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

Solar Eclipse: Small Town Style

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (July 31, 2017)—Only 20 more days until one of the most exciting and rare celestial occurrences comes to Nebraska. We are highlighting some of the small towns in Nebraska that are celebrating the Total Solar Eclipse in big ways. These towns have unobstructed views of the sky with a lack of light pollution and tall buildings making them a great place to view the eclipse. Each town has been working hard to ensure that every visitor enjoys their time in Nebraska.

"Our small towns know how to put on big celebrations. They are proud of where they live and they can't wait to show visitors why they're the best place to view the eclipse. With open fields, lively town squares and friendly people, Nebraska's small towns are charming and accommodating," said John Ricks, Executive Director at the Nebraska Tourism Commission.

Check out some of the towns where you can view the solar eclipse. Go to our website to find even more towns putting on eclipse celebrations. 

Aurora, NE

Where to watch: The Leadership Center
What to do: The Edgerton Explorit Center will be open Saturday and Sunday. This is a hands on learning center where people of all ages can experience the joy of scientific discovery and exploration. You should definitely check it out while you're in town.
Length of totality: 2 minutes 31 seconds
 

Broken Bow, NE 

Where to watch: Scenic Byway Barn
What to do: Broken Bow will host an entire weekend of fun activities including a golf tournament, food & crafts in the city square, a drive in movie and car show and guided tours at the Straight Arrow Bison Ranch.
Length of totality: 2 minutes 25 seconds

Crete & Wilber, NE

 

Where to watch: Crete-The Armory and Armory Park, Wilber-Legion Ball Fields and Ice Skating Park
What to do: Crete and Wilbur are putting on a bunch of events that will keep people entertained all weekend. There will be a pancake feed, shopping tour, educational panel about the eclipse and a food fair all on Saturday. Sunday will be equally as exciting with a sand volleyball tournament, pork BBQ cook off and Polka in the Park. 
Length of totality: Crete- 2 minutes 26 seconds. Wilber- 2 minutes 36 seconds

Fairbury, NE

Where to watch: The intersection of Highway 15 and 136 (There will be parking across the street in the Ray's parking lot) or the beer garden at Side Trek Bar & Grill in nearby Harbine, NE. 
What to do: Gregory Snow, a professor of physics at UNL, will speak about what causes solar and lunar eclipses. Totally Smoked will also be serving a BBQ lunch on Sunday.
Length of totality: 1 minute 58 seconds

Falls City, NE

Where to watch: Stanton Lake Park or right downtown
What to do: People are encouraged to camp out at Stanton Lake Park where they will have an unobstructed view of the eclipse. There will also be a luncheon held right on the downtown cobblestone streets of Falls City. For $30 you will receive a pair of eclipse viewing glasses as well as a meal and experience you will never forget.
Length of totality: 2 minutes 37 seconds

Ravenna, NE

Where to watch: Ravenna's baseball fields 1 & 2 and Cedar Hills Vineyard & Gardens
What to do: Ravenna and Kearney have teamed up to put on some amazing events. NASA astronaut Mike Fink will be in Ravenna on August 18 and 19 to speak about the eclipse. An eclipse float parade will travel through the town and there will be an eclipse craft outing.
Length of totality: 2 minutes 35 seconds

Seward, NE 

Where to watch: Seward Memorial Library, Red Path Gallery, Junto Winery and more.
What to do: Seward will have a Celestial Art Show along with Eclipse talks. There will be yoga and an art show right before the eclipse begins. Seward is a town that knows how to celebrate big so make sure to join them in celebrating this once in a lifetime event.
Length of totality: 1 minute 35 seconds

Stapleton, NE

Where to watch: Logan Co. Fairgrounds
What to do: Stapleton is going big with their weekend long celebration of the eclipse. They will have a rodeo on Friday which will include steer wrestling, barrel racing, bull riding and more. Saturday will have a craft fair and flea market, a parade, and activities for all ages. The craft fair and flea market will continue to Sunday where there will also be local entertainment and music. Derryl Barr will have an eclipse presentation at the Fairgrounds along with star gazing. 
Length of totality: 2 minutes 33 seconds. 

     

For more information about travel, events and unique destinations in Nebraska, order your free travel guide today at VisitNebraska.com. Then stay connected with Nebraska Tourism on our Visit Nebraska Facebook page, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram and on YouTube.
 
The mission of the Nebraska Tourism Commission is to expand Nebraska’s dynamic and diverse travel industry making it more viable by creating awareness, attracting increased visitors which results in greater tourism revenue and economic gain throughout the state. To learn more, go to VisitNebraska.com.

####

 
07/27/17
Nebraska Tourism Announces Conference Keynote Speakers
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

Nebraska Tourism Announces Conference Keynote Speakers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (July 27, 2017)—The Nebraska Tourism Commission announces their keynote speakers for the 2017 Nebraska Tourism Conference. The Conference will be held in La Vista, NE on October 17-19. Nan Marchand Beauvois of the U.S. Travel Association, George Zimmermann of Longwoods International USA, Inc. and V.J. Smith of Life's Greatest Moments LLC will be speaking throughout the week on important topics in tourism. 

"We are very fortunate to have such esteemed professionals speaking at our conference this year," said John Ricks, Executive Director at the Nebraska Tourism Commission. "Each speaker brings a new perspective to the tourism industry that will help conference goers gain knowledge on how to improve tourism in their communities and across the state."

For the entire list of speakers and activities going on that week, click here
Nan Marchand Beauvois from the U.S. Travel Association will be speaking at the conference on Tuesday, October 17. She will talk about how U.S. Travel works every day to protect the interests of the U.S. travel industry. U.S. Travel is the authoritative leader in travel research providing statistical data, published articles and economic impact studies to influence important travel policies and to assist in strategically planning your marketing efforts and making educated business decisions. 
George Zimmermann from Longwoods International USA, Inc. will speak about how Tourism Powers Economic Development. His session is on Wednesday, October 18. In this session, conference goers will learn how to improve their destination's image by engaging in economic development objectives. Zimmermann will present Longwoods' groundbreaking Halo Effect research. This research demonstrates how tourism marketing and visitation improves a destination’s image not just as a place to visit, but also as a place to live, start a business, start a career, buy a second home and retire -- all of the key economic development objectives for any city, state or region.
V.J. Smith from Life's Greatest Moments LLC will have a session on Wednesday, October 18 called "The Richest Man in Town". In this session he tells a true story about two people on different paths in life and how a letter changed their lives. In the story, you learn that relationships are built by being good listeners, taking extra steps to show you care and being grateful for what you have in life. Audience members will go on an emotional roller coaster ride... guaranteed. 
For more information about travel, events and unique destinations in Nebraska, order your free travel guide today at VisitNebraska.com. Then stay connected with Nebraska Tourism on our Visit Nebraska Facebook page, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram and on YouTube.
 
The mission of the Nebraska Tourism Commission is to expand Nebraska’s dynamic and diverse travel industry making it more viable by creating awareness, attracting increased visitors which results in greater tourism revenue and economic gain throughout the state. To learn more, go to VisitNebraska.com.

####
07/18/17
Celebrate the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Celebrate the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

 

 

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

Celebrate the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (July 18, 2017)—The Total Solar Eclipse is rapidly approaching. It will occur on Monday, August 21 just in time to get in one last summer vacation. Right now, many hotels and campsites within the path of totality are full but it is always a good idea to call and check as there may be cancellations. You can also check out hotels within a 30-60 minute drive from where you plan on viewing the eclipse. If you are planning to make the trip to one of the Nebraska communities that fall within the path of totality, you might want to check out some of the awesome events going on during the eclipse weekend. Experts are predicting that Nebraska will receive between 116,000 and 466,000 visitors to the state to witness this rare event. Many people think this is a conservative number and there will actually be more due to the probability of clear skies in Nebraska. With special guests and prominent scientists coming from all over the country to experience this once in a lifetime occurrence, Nebraska is the best place to be.

"This is an exciting time for Nebraska. Communities across the state have been working hard to ensure every visitor has an unforgettable eclipse experience. We hope that each new visitor will see how special Nebraska is." said John Ricks, Executive Director at the Nebraska Tourism Commission.

The Total Solar Eclipse will be a day to remember. Here is a list of just some of the many Nebraska communities that are putting on special events the weekend leading up to the eclipse.

Alliance


Alliance, NE: Carhenge isn't the only thing that makes Alliance a unique place to visit; this town is also right in the middle of the eclipse path giving this town a full 2 minutes and 30 seconds of totality. To celebrate this, the people of Alliance are putting on events and activities all weekend long. There will be a pop up planetarium as well as educational seminars from Astronomers and researchers. Experience a celebration of Native American culture at the Native American Pow Wow. Listen to music in downtown Alliance. Participate in a Cowboy Fast Draw competition at Dobby's Frontier Town. Come Monday, be ready to "Watch the Sun go Dark" at either Carhenge, Laing Lake Park or the Airport Rodeo Grounds.* To find out more details about the events going on in Alliance, visit their eclipse website.

*These places will not provide special eclipse viewing glasses. They can be purchased through the Alliance Chamber of Commerce.

Beatrice


Beatrice, NE: With 2 minutes and 35 seconds of totality, Beatrice has prepared an entertaining lineup of events the weekend of the eclipse. Stock Car Racing will be located at the Gage County Fairgrounds on Friday and is sure to be a thrill to experience. Visit the Carnegie Building to see the Songs of the Moon exhibit which includes art the pays tribute to the moon. On Saturday, enjoy special showings of old horror movies at the fairgrounds. Beatrice has a few places to see the eclipse including the Gage County Fairgrounds, Hidden Acres Golf Course, Homestead National Monument and more. Homestead will host NASA scientists with special guest, Bill Nye. They will be studying the eclipse closely and teaching the public about it at the Education Center. For more details about the eclipse in Beatrice, visit their eclipse website.

Gering & Scottsbluff


Gering & Scottsbluff, NE: "Moon Over the Monument" packs endless events and activities all weekend long leading up to the eclipse. On Saturday, there will be a vintage motorcycle show in Scottsbluff, a car show in Gering, an “Eclipse” Beer and Wine Festival and laser show in Scottsbluff. Go to the “Moon Over the Monument” Welcome event in Gering on Sunday to see cultural dances and grab a bite to eat at a food truck. To wrap up an already wonderful weekend, join the Gering-Scottsbluff community at Landers Soccer Field, Five Rocks Amphitheater or Scotts Bluff National Monument to receive eclipse viewing glasses and a complimentary bottle of water to enjoy the 1 minute and 42 seconds of totality in Scottsbluff. To find more information check out the Visit Scottsbluff  and Visit Gering websites.

Grand Island


Grand Island, NE: Having a full 2 minutes and 35 seconds of totality makes Grand Island a prime spot to view the total solar eclipse. Enjoy weekend events like a Nebraska 150th birthday art show. Great food, refreshing drinks and entertaining music await you at the Craft Brew and Sausage Fest on Saturday. The Stuhr Museum is a great place to see the eclipse because of its wide open spaces and the fact that it is located close to the center line of the eclipse path. Other viewing spots include Cedar Hills Vineyard and Camp Augustine. More information about events in Grand Island and surrounding towns can be found on the Grand Island Visitors Bureau website.

Hastings
 

Hastings, NE: SolFest is a multi-day festival leading up to the eclipse beginning Friday August 18 and ending the day of the eclipse, Monday, August 21. The weekend will include music, food and drinks. They are even bringing in a retired NASA Astronaut to speak at the SolFest Gala on Friday. Saturday features local Nebraska artists at The Good Living Tour in Brickyard Park. On Sunday, downtown Hastings hosts Art & Sol, an art festival with more local musicians and artists. All of this leads up to the big event on Monday. The Crane Trust, just minutes away, provides an open prairie that is perfect for viewing the entire 2 minutes and 33 seconds of totality. To learn more about SolFest and places to view to eclipse in Hastings visit the SolFest website

Kearney


Kearney, NE: Enjoy a memorable night with NASA Astronaut Mike Fincke. He and his wife, who is a NASA Engineer, will have a meet and greet and will present all about space. Test your toughness with the Multi-Sport Trail Challenge which includes kayaking, dirt trail biking and a 5K race. Also, catch Chris Sayre perform at the Archway. Stay afterward for lunch from The Food Truck and some delicious root beer floats. The best places to see all 1 minute and 54 seconds of totality in Kearney are the UNK Watch Party, the Buffalo County Fairgrounds and the Archway. If you want the eclipse to last a little longer just drive 30 miles north to Ravenna, NE where totality will be 2 minutes and 35 seconds. For more places to see view the eclipse in and around Kearney, visit their website.

Lincoln


Lincoln, NE: Join the Saltdogs at Haymarket Park as they take on the SouthShore Gary Railcats. There will be interactive exhibits as well as free Eclipse-viewing glasses. If you don’t plan on going to the game there will still be a Science and Engineering Expo located right next to the stadium. Lincoln is packed with great hotels, restaurants and entertainment and is right on the edge of the path having 1 minute and 24 seconds of totality. For more information about the time the Eclipse begins and the events going on that weekend check out Lincoln's website

North Platte


North Platte, NE: Pals Brewing Company is hosting events all day in North Platte. A few of these events include "Moonmosas" and Yoga, a special tapping of "Midnight in the Daylight Stout", live music and games. North Platte will have 1 minute and 43 seconds of totality to enjoy. Other places to view the eclipse is the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center, the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, Lincoln County Historical Museum and Feather River Vineyards. North Platte is also a short distance from Tryon, NE, which will have 2 minutes and 34 seconds of totality. For more information about the events going on in North Platte and when totality will begin, check out Visit North Platte.

Safety First!

We all want to enjoy the eclipse but here are a few reminders before you head out on the 21st.

  1. ***WEAR YOUR ECLIPSE GLASSES*** Regular sunglasses just won’t cut it. Many of the official places hosting events will provide complimentary eclipse glasses but they will be limited so get there early or order your own pair beforehand.
  2. Don’t stop along the interstate or any roadway to view the eclipse – please exit to a safe location or designated viewing area. Plan to get where you’re going to view the eclipse well in advance – traffic volumes may be significantly heavier than normal. Traffic volumes are really unknown and lots of variables like weather changes may come into play on August 21.
  3. Please make sure to yield to emergency response law enforcement vehicles as they respond as they need to any emergencies or traffic problems. Also, Be aware of pedestrians on smaller local roads – people may be crossing areas where they normally don’t.
  4. Once the eclipse is over, prepare for higher than normal traffic volumes.  Pay attention, be aware and put on your seat belt. Don’t drink and drive.
  5. Keep up to date on traffic by following @nebraska511, using Nebraska511 app, or by using Waze.
  6. It will be late August, which means it very well could be hot and dry.  Make sure you are prepared with supplies for high heat. Items like sunblock, bottled water and snacks are good to have on hand in your vehicle or in a backpack. 
  7. Remember that other people are there to witness this rare event as well. Please be courteous to others. Don’t ruin their experience with loud noises or bright lights.

Following these safety guidelines will help to ensure that you, and those around you, can properly witness the magic of a Total Solar Eclipse. 

More Information


For a more comprehensive list of communities celebrating the eclipse, visit neclipse17.com.
For expert information on travel and what to expect during the solar eclipse, see this article.
 

     

For more information about travel, events and unique destinations in Nebraska, order your free travel guide today at VisitNebraska.com. Then stay connected with Nebraska Tourism on our Visit Nebraska Facebook page, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram and on YouTube.
 
The mission of the Nebraska Tourism Commission is to expand Nebraska’s dynamic and diverse travel industry making it more viable by creating awareness, attracting increased visitors which results in greater tourism revenue and economic gain throughout the state. To learn more, go to VisitNebraska.com.

####

 
07/05/17
We all scream for ice cream during national ice cream month
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Angela Sears at 402-471-7755, or angela.sears@nebraska.gov

We all scream for ice cream during
national ice cream month

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LINCOLN, Neb. (July 5, 2017) – July is National Ice Cream Month and what better way to cool off in the summer than by eating ice cream. Here are some of the cutest local ice cream venues Nebraska has to offer for some sweet relief from the July heat.

Along with the exceptional treats each of these stores provides, they also give visitors a taste of Nebraska whether it be through local ingredients, historical artifacts or the Midwestern way of life and hospitality.
“Road trips are always a great way for families to make memories and food, especially any kind of ice cream treat, always brings people together,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director.

Ted and Wally’s is an ice cream parlor with two locations in Omaha. Starting all the way back in 1984, they certainly have had plenty of time to perfect their high-quality homemade ice cream with fresh ingredients. The ice cream is made completely from scratch and they offer a wide variety of flavors including vegan, frozen yogurt, sherbet and paleo options.

Ivanna Cone is a family owned and operated handmade ice cream shop located in Lincoln’s Haymarket. The constantly rotating flavors of ice cream, sherbet and sorbets combined with the classic old-fashioned soda shop look is sure to create a unique experience for you every time.

eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato, another local favorite in Omaha creates ice cream, creates sorbet and gelato flavors based on what you want. Create your own flavor and order online or in-store and enjoy your very own and original ice cream.

Coneflower Creamery is an artisan ice cream store in Omaha dedicated to incorporating farm-fresh and local ingredients in their sweet treats. Their flavors are based on what is in season at the time so you know it’s always a fresh cone of high-quality ice cream.

Cheri O’s is a coffee house and ice cream parlor in Ashland. It provides a meal of soup and sandwiches with hand dipped ice cream and coffee for dessert. They also provide two themed party rooms perfect for small gatherings and special occasions.

Open since 1977, Springfield Drug, in Springfield is one of the last old-fashioned soda fountain shops still up and running. It serves a variety of ice cream sodas, shakes and malts along with many other treats. The building itself was once a bank and incorporates the bank vault along with antiques to give visitors a nostalgic and unique experience.

The Hub is a retail store, coffee shop and soda fountain located in a historic General Store in Burwell, built in 1906. It offers an array of handmade products along with coffee, soda and ice cream. Enjoy browsing through antiques while snacking on an ice cream cone.

The Cody Park in North Platte offers highly rated ice cream at the concession stand. Grab a cone of some delicious soft serve ice cream and explore the Cody Park Rides and animal enclosure that shows animals in a natural setting.

The Settlers Trading Post, located at the base of Chimney Rock, gives visitors a look at where settlers stopped along the Oregon Trail. You can stop by and have some ice cream in a homemade waffle cone and explore historical attractions like Fort Robinson, Carhenge and the Agate Fossil Beds.

The Chocolaterie Stam was originally established in Europe in 1913. It is known for making Dutch gourmet chocolate, but it also provides rich gelato with a variety of flavors. Stop in Papillion and experience a European chocolate and ice cream store.

The Bluebird serves up signature ice cream representing the history of Brownville. Guest can also enjoy artwork, music and antiques. Along the Steamboat Trace Trail, this is a cyclist-friendly ice cream shop.

Go to VisitNebraska.com for more suggestions on where to go to cool off and enjoy a sweet treat.   
For more information about travel, events and unique destinations in Nebraska, order your free travel guide today at VisitNebraska.com. Then stay connected with Nebraska Tourism on our Visit Nebraska Facebook page, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram and on YouTube.
 
The mission of the Nebraska Tourism Commission is to expand Nebraska’s dynamic and diverse travel industry making it more viable by creating awareness, attracting increased visitors which results in greater tourism revenue and economic gain throughout the state. To learn more, go to VisitNebraska.com.

####