The Nebraska State Fair acquired a new parking lot for the 2012 fair, adding more than 3,500 new spaces. Fair officials added the new lot after a lack of parking spots caused a gridlock on Labor Day Sunday 2011.
"Obviously that was a concern to us because there were people who maybe came from a distance that were never able to attend the fair," says Joseph McDermott, Executive Director of the Nebraska State Fair.
The new lot is directly adjacent to and east of the fairgrounds. Including the spaces in this lot, the fair now offers 9,000 free parking spots. The new lot is used only when all other lots are filled, and as predicted, Labor Day Sunday once again became the day when additional parking spots were needed.
"Yesterday, Sunday, was the first day that we used the lot. The transition from our lots to that one went very smooth. I think at the peak yesterday we ended up parking about 1000 cars in that lot," McDermott says.
And it appears the improvements are working. Fair visitors had no complaints about the parking.
"It was very, very easy to do, and like I said, no problem at all," says Kelly Burgess.
Penny Lee was of a similar opinion: "I was here early so it was easy to park and get to the fair."
The new parking lot may have solved the lack of spaces, but fair officials say they still have other improvements to make.
"We'll have to review what happened this year, but things have gone very smoothly," McDermott says. "We do seem to have an issue when concerts let out, in getting people off the grounds, and we'll continue to work on that."