By SARA GIBONEY
KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Destination Downtown helps bring more energy to downtown Kearney, according to business owners.
“The university brings a lot of culture to Kearney. When the college is out, it’s definitely a different town. It’s more vibrant when the students are here. They bring an energy and diversity that we don’t have on a regular basis,” said Bryce Jensen, The World Theatre’s house manager.
“Downtown is the heart of Kearney, and probably some of the coolest stuff we have to offer. Destination Downtown allows us to show it off.”
“If students don’t get this opportunity to get a glimpse of what we have down here they might never come down here and explore,” Jensen said.
“Students bring a lot to Kearney and here at The World we try to cater to them. We try to get some independent films and things we think they would like. It’s also affordable, so it should be a destination for them throughout the year too. We have cheap ticket prices and $1, $2 and $3 concessions.”
The World Theatre offered free popcorn to students and showed clips of films and events that will be featured this fall.
Destination Downtown, which is open to students and the public, featured a performance by the Talbott Brothers, a rock band featuring brothers Nick and Tyler Talbott from Imperial. The event also included prizes, free food, students discounts at businesses, an eating contest and other activities.
Katie Moore, owner of Chapman Swifts Coffee House, said the event allows downtown businesses to get exposure. “It helps let students know that these businesses are down here. We want to get more people downtown so we can revive it a little bit,” she said.
Chapman Swifts offered 50 percent off drinks for students, hosted an acoustic performance by the Talbott Brothers, and had a coloring contest, jam session and raffle.
“It’s nice to be able to provide students with a quiet place to study and hang out and be with their friends that’s a little bit away from campus. It allows them to contribute to the smaller businesses in Kearney,” Moore added.
Destination Downtown was part of Blue and Gold Welcome Week, a two-week event designed to help students become familiar with the UNK campus and Kearney community, as well as give the public a chance to interact with students, faculty and alumni. Classes began at UNK on Monday.
Rex Herrick, co-owner of Buffalo Records, said events like Destination Downtown expose students to the offerings downtown.
“It’s good to get students down here and expose them to what we have,” he said. “It’s also just good for the community to have a younger population around.”
Buffalo Records offered a 10 percent discount to students, had bands perform in the store and extended its hours until 11 p.m. Blue and Gold Welcome Week continues through Sept. 3.
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, firstname.lastname@example.org