This past week I ventured out to Nebraska for the 2014 Husker Harvest Days farm show. I say venture - because you never know what you are going to get when you travel with me. It's always an exciting adventure.
This year's farm show was no different. I could almost call it a reunion of sorts.
I was able to leave fairly early for my road trip to Grand Island, Nebraska on Monday. I was very optimistic about the week - mostly about the weather. The weather forecast to be cooler with chances of rain. I should have known, I'm in the middle of Nebraska at a farm show. At least this time I remembered to pack my rain slicker and pants.
I started off my trip with a short stop at Boys Town to visit my sister's family. As it was middle of the day and on a school day, I was only able to see my sister and my niece. She is still ornery as ever. My niece that is, not my sister.
I made it just in time to meet up with the other editors of Farm Progress for steaks and drinks at our usual restaurant establishment.
Tuesday's show went off without a hitch - minus a few rain storms here and there. I plotted out my plan on what streets to hit first and which ones to wait until the rain passed. I made it through the first quadrant before the rain came - dratz. I didn't have my rain gear on me at this time. I was more concerned with my camera equipment getting wet than I did myself. A quick stop to the show office and two Zip-lock bags later, I was in full swing again.
I finished my first zone ahead of the rain, which then I popped into the Hospitality tent for a refresher. For any of you who have been to one of our four farm shows (Farm Progress Show, Husker Harvest Days, Hay Expo or New York Farm Show), the Hospitality Tent has the BEST coffee, and it's free. Maybe that's why it's the best.
After warming up and getting a few great photo opts, I ventured out again. This time I snagged my Kansas Farmer editor and we headed to Misty's for some BBQ pulled pork sandwiches. It was well worth the wait in the rain.
Side note - next time you attend Husker Harvest Days, you could try to literally eat your way through the show site. Between the Hula Hut, GICC food stand, Eagles Nest, Misty's and Pork Place - you will not go away hungry. Want dessert? Try the homemade kettle corn and roasted almonds to name a few.
Back in our media shack, munching on some good local food - the rain came again. This time I was prepared. I darted off to the Varied Industries Tent where I ran into an old parish pastor from about 18 years ago. What a nice surprise.
Two other times, as I was walking through the crowd I was picked out by former high school classmates. It was starting to feel like a class reunion!
Wednesday's show was canceled due to the conditions the wet weather left behind from a downpour Tuesday night. I received a message and met up with a high school classmate for appetizers and to catch up. It was close to 10 years the last time we saw each other. She said I haven't changed a bit.
Thursday's show was a wet one. I barely made it into the parking lot without being stuck. My parents made it up to the show and we met for lunch as usual. We had to stop at our spot - the GICC lunch stand.
Shortly after lunch, I found myself stranded in yet another down pour in the Mitas tent. I hung out there for a bit having a great conversation with a few of the exhibitors.
Once the rain let up and I made my way across the grounds, there was one thing that came to mind that I noticed that day. Actually, thinking back, it happened every year at that show. The farmers and the exhibitors that come to that show are very friendly and approach me to comment about the show. Maybe it's because of the free coffee at the Hospitality tent, or the many great food vendors, but looking around at the crowd - they all had their ponchos, a bag of free popcorn and a smile - they were happy to be there.
I have had more people stop me in the middle of the street to say hello or to tell me how much they love coming to the show rain or shine. Many say the weather is what makes it an adventure. I'm pretty sure, that couple that said that didn't see the mess they were parked in on the east side of the parking lot. Their adventure was yet to come.
I made it back to Iowa later that day, mud and all - this time without getting my pickup stuck in the mud.
See you in 2015!