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Chadron State Park Celebration is Saturday

Sunrise at Chadron State Park. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)
Sunrise at Chadron State Park. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

Nebraska’s first state park will celebrate its 93rd anniversary Saturday with a wide variety of activities for all ages. Activities are planned at Chadron State Park from early morning to late at night.

“We have a lot of great activities planned for people young to old and expect to have big turnout for our celebration,” said Gregg Galbraith, park superintendent. “If you’re looking for a great way to have a lot of fun for not a lot of money, this is it.”

In addition to the park’s many regular activities, such as horseback riding and swimming, a full slate of special events has been planned.

As a tribute to the region’s history, antique tractors will be on display. The Highway 20 Antique Tractor Club will have a parade at 10:30 a.m., a show from noon to 4 p.m. and a “slow race” at 1 p.m.

The anniversary celebration also has many special activities for youth, including an inflatable bounce house on site throughout the day.

Pellet gun shooting will be available in the picnic area from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an archery card shoot will be 1-5 p.m. at the Trading Post. Activities at the swimming pool include a raft relay race at 1 p.m. and diving for money at 5 p.m.

The Hippity Hop Horse Race, in which children ages 6 and under will ride bouncy balls to the finish line, will be at 2 p.m.

Park visitors also will enjoy the entertainment and informational presentations scheduled that day.

Many of the activities will be at the Trading Post. Live band music will entertain park visitors there from noon to 4 p.m. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., park naturalist Amanda Filipi will present an animal display and Larry and Mary Waldron of Rushville will provide demonstrations in flint knapping and primitive basketry. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission wildlife division staff members plan a bighorn sheep program from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and blacksmith Jake Butler will display his craft from noon to 2 p.m.

At 8 p.m., Filipi will wrap up the day’s events by delivering a program about “creatures of the night,” such as bats and owls, at the lagoon shelter.

In recognition of the park’s anniversary year, a lunch featuring sloppy joes and hot dogs will be served for 93 cents from noon to 3 p.m. Free watermelon will be served from 1-4 p.m. at the pool.

The activities are free, but vehicles are required to have a park entry permit. The permit can be purchased online at outdoornebraska.org or at the park’s entrance.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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