by Allie Busch
The Cornhusker State Games
Every summer, athletes young and old come together to participate in top-quality amateur competition at the Cornhusker State Games. The games are suitable for both the serious competitor and someone who just wants to have some fun. From the less traditional horseshoes, foosball and armwrestling to the more customary track and field, gymnastics and swimming, there’s a game for just about everyone.
In fact, 11,643 participants from 79 counties competed in more than 60 of these sports in 2012 alone. The oldest participant was 86 and the youngest was just 14 months old.
The Games open with an Olympic-style ceremony, preceded by a three week long statewide torch run, involving more than 700 runners and 10 communities across Nebraska. Another popular activity is SportFest, which provides a variety of activities for participants and the public.
The athletes aren’t the only ones participating in the Games, however. The event couldn’t exist without the more than 2,500 volunteers and hundreds of local businesses and organizations that support it every year. For more information on future Games, go to cornhuskerstategames.com.
Lancaster County Super Fair
As the biggest county fair in Nebraska, the Lancaster County Super Fair lives up to its name. In 2012, more than 278,000 people visited the Lancaster Event Center to enjoy daily performances by comedians, dancers and musicians, plus carnival rides, a beer garden, and a variety of livestock and craft competitions. Don’t forget the food stalls – the fair also features an array of tasty eats from local restaurants and businesses. For dates and admission prices go to http://www.lancastereventcenter.com/superfair.
The Lincoln Marathon attracts thousands of running enthusiasts every May. The full and half-marathon are run on a course that winds throughout the entire city, past the state capitol, the Sunken Gardens and the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. They finish on the 50-yard line in Memorial Stadium. Other weekend events include the Runner’s Expo, a night-before “Pastathon,” and a one-mile children’s run around the state capitol building. Registration opens in December at www.lincolnrun.org/marathon.htm. Register early, as the race reaches its 10,000 runner limit quickly.
Uncle Sam Jam
Uncle Sam Jam is Lincoln’s own 4th of July spectacular. Held every year at Oak Lake Park, the event features family activities and a fireworks show choreographed with live music that lights up the sky above the city. If you’re lucky, the evening may coincide with a Lincoln Saltdogs baseball game at nearby Haymarket Park. As the holiday nears, you can find more information at lincoln.ne.gov or by calling Citizen Information Center, 402-441-7547.