Tourism was the focus of the annual State of the Valley luncheon Wednesday, with the announcement of a new major celebration next spring and plans for the 2017 solar eclipse next August.
The new annual celebration will be a Celtic festival, which Mark Masterton, dressed Wednesday in a kilt, said he is bringing to Scottsbluff after visiting similar celebrations in Colorado.
Masterton says the festival will have bagpipes, folk bands, whiskey tasting and knobby knee contests, a nine hole wooden golf club tourney with participants encouraged to wear kilts and more. Masterton says he already has a committee organized to help with the festival.
Scottsbluff Area Visitors Bureau Executive Director Brenda Leisy says area hotels are already booked for the solar eclipse August 21st next year. Scottsbluff is one of the major points along the viewing path and Leisy says thousands of visitors are expected to be in the region. There will be special viewing areas, a welcoming ceremony and a Stargazers Ball among other things.
Gering will also be part of a Union Pacific Whistlestop August 5th to celebrate Nebraska’s 150th anniversary.