Grand Island, Neb.- If you want to see racing pigs, monkeys racing on dogs, BMX and more while at the State Fair, well, to flip around Horace Greeley, you have to head east, young man.
When a lot of people think of the State Fair, they have visions of the main streets lined with food vendors and the big red buildings.
But a turn to the east opens up a whole new area not at first utilized.
"You know, when we first moved to Grand Island, we really didn't put much back there," said State Fair Executive Director Joe McDermott. "Horses were back there, but that was about it."
He's talking about the east entertainment area. Family friendly features and acts that need a little space are found there now.
With more added each year, people are finding their way east, according to Events and Entertainment Director Chelsey Jungck
"Word is spreading," said Jungck. "I think it's still a little bit of a hidden gem. People are still discovering it each year, but more and more foot traffic (is here)."
Vendors who were feeling lonely at times the first few years are starting to see the fruits of the improvements as well
"It's getting better, yes," said Ron Kitt of Sunglass Express. "We enjoy it. We have pretty good crowds coming in and out of here with all the shows and everything out here."
With a number of key attractions strategically located throughout the east entertainment area, fair officials and attendees alike both realize to get a full experience from the fair, they need to head on over to the east side.
"This stuff down here I think would be entirely different from what's been over there," said fair attendee Rod Lemke from Waverly. "So, it's kind of getting an idea of what's entirely on the site."
The east side has long been home to the equine events, and remains so with help from the new Thompson foods outdoor arena.
People wanting to save shoe leather can take the trams to the heart of the east entertainment center, leaving no reason to stay back
"That's right, head on up to the east side," said Jungck. "It's a really full entertainment area."
One little inside tip, if you know the east side is where you're headed, there's even a special parking lot back there.
And again, the trams will take you anywhere else on the grounds.