"The Farmer"

This sculpture, “The Farmer,” by Lawrence Starck of Loveland, Colorado, won the inaugural Norfolk Sculpture Walk people’s choice award. The sculpture will remain in place on Norfolk Avenue near Fourth Street until the next sculpture walk begins next April.

The Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau is looking ahead to 2020 as this year’s events begin to wrap up.

At the bureau’s advisory committee meeting this week, the committee received reports about the end of two summertime events.

The Norfolk Area Sculpture Walk came to a close at the Riverpoint Arts Festival, held concurrently with Oktoberfest. At the festival, “The Farmer,” a bronze statue on Norfolk Avenue near Fourth Street by Lawrence Starck of Loveland, Colorado, was named the winner of the people’s choice award, which was determined by a public vote.

Traci Jeffrey, director of the visitors bureau, said the inaugural sculpture walk was well-received throughout the community and by visitors.

“It adds something to the community to be able to go around town and see these sculptures,” Jeffrey said.

While “The Farmer” was declared the people’s choice winner, Jeffrey said many other entries received many votes because of the wide variety of different sculptures.

“One person’s favorite could have been someone else’s least favorite,” Jeffrey said. “That’s the great thing about an art contest like this.”

Artists for the next sculpture walk are being sought. The next round of sculptures will be placed in April. Until then, the current sculpture will remain displayed. All of the sculptures are also available for sale.

Also ending last week was the Norfolk Area Passport program, in which visitors could take in 16 locations around Norfolk and submit their passports for a drawing of prizes.

Jeffrey said the program, in its second year, received many more entries than in its first year, but there is still more room for growth and getting the word out.

To prepare for 2020, the committee is also now accepting grant applications for any hosts of events in and around Norfolk, both for already established events but especially for new ideas for events.

“There are probably people who have wanted to get something started, but haven’t had the money or resources to bring it,” Jeffrey said. “This is a way we can support new ideas in the community.”

Applications may be found online at visitnorfolkne.com/event-grants. Applications are due Jan. 3.

The bureau also welcomed Ashley Jansen, a Norfolk Realtor, as activities development director of the Norfolk Area Sports Council.

Jansen said she is looking to pick up where her predecessor, Rachel Reiser, left off by building and maintaining partnerships and making Norfolk an attractive place to live and visit.

“Norfolk is a place where me and many of my friends are coming back and we hope our kids stay here, too,” Jansen said. “We’re looking to give them more things to do.”

In other business, the committee also renewed its partnership with the Pierce County visitors bureau and received $2,500 from the bureau. Norfolk is also preparing to host the Class A state girls golf tournament at the Norfolk County Club next week.

In other news

The Nebraska Department of Education recently released a 13-page document outlining its recommendations for school summer programming.

Norfolk Public Schools will be relaxing staffing restrictions from its COVID-19 response plan because of the decrease in new Madison County virus cases.

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