By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Lopers are about to take over downtown Kearney.
Hundreds of University of Nebraska at Kearney students will head to “The Bricks” for Destination Downtown, a free event scheduled for 7-10 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 29).
Sponsored by UNK’s First Year Program, Destination Downtown is part of Blue Gold Welcome Week, a two-week, back-to-school celebration that introduces new Lopers to campus and the Kearney community and gives the public a chance to interact with UNK students, staff, faculty and alumni.
“We want students to feel welcome in Kearney and, in turn, become involved in the community,” said UNK senior Haley Pierce, coordinator of Blue Gold Welcome Week. “This will be our students’ home for the next four years, and they’re lucky that home is in such a great city.”
The fun-filled evening features food, games, product giveaways and prizes, discounts at downtown businesses, an eating contest and concert from Lemon Fresh Day, which takes the stage at 8:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to check out local businesses and learn more about all the great things Kearney has to offer.
“This event has something for everyone,” Pierce said. “If you’re looking for something laid-back, you can grab a snow cone and explore downtown. You can also get hyped at the eating contest or by listening to Lemon Fresh Day. Either way, you’re having a good time while meeting fellow Lopers and community members.”
More than 400 UNK students and a couple hundred community members typically attend Destination Downtown. About 40 area businesses, organizations and nonprofits are represented at the annual event and many more provide donations, including Skydive Atlas of Holdrege, which takes the eating contest winners on an aerial adventure.
Destination Downtown also partners with Kearney Night Market, which brings food trucks and a variety of vendors to the downtown business district on Thursday evenings.
There’s still time for businesses or organizations to participate in Destination Downtown by registering at unk.edu/destinationdowntown or contacting the First Year Program at 308-865-8291. There is no cost to sign up.
UNK students can take a free shuttle to and from the event. The first shuttle leaves the parking lot east of the Nebraskan Student Union at 6:45 p.m. and the final shuttle back to campus departs from the Museum of Nebraska Art at 10:30 p.m.