Your Fairgrounds FAQs

Long-term Funding & Technical Reference Information


Our Impactawards

Major Events

  • 320+ events annually—200 local, 120+ regional/national/international
  • Nebraska’s largest county fair – 120K visitors over 10 days
  • 2nd largest indoor ag show—1700 ag experts from 27 states & Canada attract 20K ag producers from 5 states
  • Two of Top-10 in USA Quarter Horse shows
  • Largest indoor tractor pull west of the Mississippi
  • 80+ ag business & ag education events
  • Won four years of World’s largest rodeo - National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) vs. venues nationwide –2020 (canceled), 2021, 2026, 2027
  • World’s largest RV event:  Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) International RV Convention (postponed ftom 2020 to 2022) with 2000 RVs

 

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Our Annual Economic Impact

  • Nebraska’s 3rd largest out-of-state visitor attraction
  • 67% of visitors at 120 regional/national events from outside of county/state
  • Draw visitors from 45 states annually
  • $60 Million economic visitor impact for Lancaster County & Nebraska
  • Supports 700 full-time equivalent jobs
  • 98% of 1623 participant families from out of state at NHSFR (43 states, 5 Canadian provinces, Mexico, Australia & New Zealand)

 

Our Visitors' Incremental Local Tax Impact Each Year: 

  • $2.8 Million State of NE sales & lodging taxes per year
  • $1.4 Million in City of Lincoln sales & occupation taxes
  • $300K in Lancaster County lodging tax

 

Our Local Community Impact Each Year:

  • Southeast NE’s largest community & emergency center
  • 69% of county citizens visit 1 or more times per year (46% 2+ times/year)
  • Home to 20+ local community groups to carry out their own missions through regular events
  •  e.g. monthly blood drives, election site, fundraisers

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Recent Service Stories:

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Our Impact Growth Plans

Current Unique Exhibit Structures with Ag focus

  • 10 acres under roof including 3300-person shaded grandstand 
  • Convenient parking for for 5000+ cars and oversize vehicles (trucks/trailers)
  • 10th largest event center campground (1300 campsites)
  • Capacity and equipment for 3,000+ equine/livestock stalls and pens
  • Center of USA location and easy "on and off" I-80 attractive to national events 
  • Known for world class arena footing and Nebraska-friendly operations experts 
  • Largest banquet hall in the county with full on-site cafes, catering services 
  • Arena buildings convert to carpeted winter trade and spectator show spaces 

 

The Need for Capital Improvements

Like most Nebraska county fairgrounds, the actual facility repair, replacement, and improvement costs are real, pressing, and long ago outstripped the available, legacy tax funding system. 

Increased usage and subsequent increase wear and tear require modernization of the legacy funding model, a model originally designed to fund the facility to be solely used for the annual county fair. 
Lancaster Event Center Fairgrounds has 165 acres of core maintenance, repair and improvements estimated at $2.5 Million per Year:
  • 10 acres under roof including grandstand with multi-use outdoor arena
  • 55 acres of campground
  • 30 acres paved and 13 acres gravel parking/driveways
  • 46 acres of grass parking
  • 14 acres of ditches/drainage

  

Phase 3 of Master Plan

$23M ARPA challenge grant (25% of est. cost) could jumpstart the local funding to complete the final build-out of the fairgrounds envisioned 21 years ago.

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Our Story

What is the Lancaster County Agricultural Society?

Created by the County Agricultural Society Act, the Lancaster County Agricultural Society is a nonprofit dedicated to “the improvement of agriculture, industry, homes, and communities of the state.” Ag Societies have been serving the state of Nebraska since the first years of statehood over 150 years ago by building and maintaining county fairgrounds and running annual county fairs for their youth and communities.

 

Nonprofit Fairgrounds Founded in 2001

The Lancaster County Ag Society opened your Lancaster Event Center Fairgrounds in 2001 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization to be home of the Lancaster County Fair as its needs outgrew borrowed buildings on the former State Fairgrounds.  

The Lancaster County Ag Society benchmarked 20 national fairgrounds to guide the original 3-phase master plan and gets compliments on the functionality of the design to this day from visitors around the country.  

 

Mission & Vision

Our Mission is three-fold:

  1. Provide a wonderful, welcoming and fun experience at a great value.

  2. Share experiences in a unique venue that showcases the agricultural nature of Lancaster County and State of Nebraska.

  3. Contribute greatly to the county's youth, culture and economy to our county and state.

Our Vision is to be a leading event center not only regionally, but also nationally.

 

Current Funding & Growth Over 20 Years

Lancaster County Ag Society only receives approximately $130,000 in property tax support annually for maintenance of the fairgrounds just to hold the annual county fair.

The fairgrounds has an estimated $2.5 Million facility core maintenance to remain open year round for the community, which is currently funded solely through the rental and hosting of events year round.  

For over 20 years and counting, the fairgrounds has grown to be nationally recognized is now Nebraska’s busiest and fastest-growing fairgrounds kept busy all year-round. 

The Lancaster County Board, a separate county-level political subdivision, partnered with the Lancaster County Ag Society to form the Lancaster County Fairgrounds JPA to issue bonds to build and remodel the Lancaster Event Center Fairgrounds.  The County Board has been a principal partner in ongoing improvements of LEC Fairgrounds through ongoing lodging tax grants to attract out-of-county/state visitors like the NHSFR and FMCA—two international events booked in first 45 days after opening of latest grounds improvements.