Cruise Nite wins Outstanding Event Award

NEBRASKA CITY — Nebraska tourism industry members on Wednesday night handed out annual awards, including one for Kearney’s Cruise Nite.

The Celebrate Nebraska Awards Banquet event closed out the annual Nebraska Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Tourism Commission and hosted by Nebraska City Chamber of Commerce. General Manager/CEO of the Nebraska Rural Radio Association Craig Larson with help from Gov. Pete Ricketts and Nebraska Tourism Executive Director John Ricks announced the following 2018 Nebraska Tourism Industry Award winners:

  • The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations 10,000 or greater was awarded to Cruise Nite in Kearney. Every year, during the third week of July, visitors from all over Nebraska and adjoining states flock to Central Avenue in Kearney for Cruise Nite. Visitors experience six full days of activities, including 500 vehicles lining the streets of downtown Kearney, a parade with cars from every decade, drag races and more. The event is an economic boon for the city, bringing the entire community together and supporting local attractions and businesses. This year’s event saw record participants and spectators with an estimated 38,000 people.
  • The 2018 Henry Fonda Award, the state’s highest tourism award representing leadership, vision, and dedication to the tourism industry, went to Pat Coldiron of Seward. She is the current owner and operator of the Liberty House Bed and Breakfast in Seward, a historic 129-year-old house with an attached antique store and gift shop. She began her tourism career as the administrative assistant at the Seward Chamber of Commerce, advancing eventually to the position of chamber executive. She promoted tourism while serving as the Seward Chamber of Commerce executive director for decades and upon retiring, she continues to participate in the tourism industry. Pat continues to guide and direct the local Seward County Tourism Committee, owns and operates “Tall Grass Prairie Tours,” has served on the Seward Fourth of July Celebration Committee, served as the co-chair of the Holiday Christmas Festival in Seward and personally took on the task of revamping the Seward County tourism brochure. Pat has dedicated more than 30 years to promoting and growing the tourism industry in her state and community.
  • The Friend of Tourism Award went to the Omaha World-Herald and the Nebraska Community Foundation for the Better Half Series. Omaha World-Herald writers Sarah Baker-Hansen and Matt Hansen in collaboration with the Nebraska Community Foundation traveled the state of Nebraska, writing about the amazing discoveries they found along the way. Their articles were published in the Omaha World-Herald and eventually were made into a book in 2017. The Nebraska Community Foundation provided support for this collection of stories that celebrates the intriguing, fascinating and often surprising treasures that make Nebraska such a special place.
  • The Outstanding Event Award for communities with populations up to 9,999 went to the 97th Annual Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell.
  • The Outstanding Marketing Campaign Award for communities with populations up to 9,999 went to Knox County Visitors Committee.

  • The Outstanding Marketing Campaign Award for communities with populations 10,000 or greater was awarded to the North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau for the Group Tour Viewmaster Campaign.

  • The winner of the Outstanding Agritourism & Ecotourism Entity Award was given to the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln.

  • The Outstanding Tourism Attraction Award was given to the Oregon Trail Ballpark – Home of the Western Nebraska Pioneers in Gering.