Several spots in Sarpy County and a honey vendor in Ralston have been pinned and circled on the map as a place to visit this summer by the State of Nebraska.
Specifically, area art spots, parks and breweries were chosen as part of the 2013 Nebraska Passport sites out of 80 featured stops of craft beer shops, literary stops and, of course, art galleries.
The purpose of the passport program is to encourage travelers — from Nebraska and beyond — to explore and see what the Cornhusker State has to offer.
From May to September, those who visit the select sites in Passport program — the full list of which is online at VisitNebraska.com — can redeem their stamped passport for prizes.
For each completed tour, participants can win a Nebraska Passport T-shirt. Twenty stops earns $1 Nebraska Lottery scratch tickets and 40 stops wins a digital camera. A grand prize drawing could nab the winner an iPad Mini in October, and an additional drawing for 300 $1 lottery coupons will be held for those 19 and older who turn in a passport with at least one stamp.
The program, which began in 2010, expanded to the entire state in 2011. Last year the program expanded again to beyond just historic sites and and scenic routes, and now is larger than ever. More than 170 sites applied to be part of last year’s program.
Papillion’s Nebraska Brewing Company and La Vista’s Lucky Bucket Brewing Company are on the list. Jason Payne, owner of Lucky Bucket, said they are planning on promoting their tours and beer tastings online.
“We’re happy to be part of the program, it’s fantastic,” Payne said. “People will get a full tour of the brewery and distillery, get to sample the beer and see what our brand does out here.”
Included will be their newest venture, Flip Flop, a strawberry blonde ale fit for summer.
It’s All About Bees! in Ralston, a honey-based products vendor, is part of the group of destinations. Wendy and Margi Fletcher said it feels fabulous to be involved with the program, and have been doing their part to promote it at farmer’s markets and craft shows.
Visitors can expect a tasting experience of several varieties of honey, from flavored cream to cranberry, buckwheat, sunflower and others.
“It feels good to promote ours and other businesses in Nebraska,” Wendy Fletcher said. “We can’t wait.”
Fontenelle Forest Nature Center in Bellevue was chosen as a tourism stop. Brad Watkins, director of communications for the forest, said Fontenelle is a unique place in Nebraska, one he’s excited to share with visitors.
“We want people to get out here, enjoy the trails and see the landscape, learn about the natural side of Nebraska,” he said.
Margie Trembley and her husband, Glenn, own and operate Springfield Artworks. She said she is excited to be part of the program this year.
“I’m really happy about it, we’ve been interested in it from the beginning,” she said. “We’re not sure yet exactly what our tour will entail, but I plan on telling them about the history of the area and our building, which is historical.”
Another stop in Springfield is Soaring Wings Vineyard.
Passports are available at participating stops or online.
“Glenn and I are both really excited to share our art with tourists traveling across our state,” Trembley said.