Culture

Art and Galleries Along the Byway
Many nationally and internationally recognized artists and artisans call the Byway region home. Several have concluded that the natural surroundings stimulate their artistic expression. Some of these artists have studios and welcome visitors by appointment. Check the county and community information sections for listings.
Entertainment Along the Byway
The ways that the farmers and ranchers play are often closely tied to their occupations. In large cities, people may leave their desk job to spend the weekend in a different environment like the mountains or at a beach. It’s different along this Byway, where their work is so much a part of their lives that it is often their play. Rodeos—including ranch rodeos, bull riding, team penning, cattle cutting, horse racing, and tractor pulls—are all part of the cultural entertainment of the area.

Other cultural practices that occur on a daily and seasonal basis, such as harvesting, branding, and cattle drives, are often used as social events. County fairs, ethnic festivals, and community celebrations also feature the cultural heritage of the area.

Don’t get the impression that work and play that is like work are the only outlets for residents. Dances, fine arts exhibits, musical concerts, ethnic festivals, and craft shows are just a few of the popular activities along the Byway. The residents frequent attractions like bowling alleys, movie theatres, and golf courses. Every community seems to have some type of a homecoming celebration, such as high school alumni weekend, community or holiday festival, where people make new friendships or rekindle relationships with extended families.

Examples of ethnic traditions occur in various communities along the Byway.

  • German Heritage Days Old Settlers Picnic is held annually at the Liederkranz in Grand Island featuring foods and dance traditions.
  • Dannebrog was proclaimed the “Danish Capital of Nebraska” in 1989 by the Nebraska Legislature. Travelers can taste authentic Danish pastries and foods at the local bakery and restaurant. Grundlovsfest (Danish Days) is a weekend event celebrating Danish traditions.
  • Loup City celebrates Polish Days annually, featuring a polka street dance, Polish food court, and cultural customs.
  • On the far west end of the Byway, Hemingford holds Czech Days and Fun Dayz each year keeping the Czech traditions alive by wearing traditional Czech clothing and enjoying Czech music and food.

These events and many others celebrate the Byway heritage and promote the lifestyle of their ancestors.

Other Attractions Along the Byway
The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway’s culture has evolved in part because of the unique landscape. The pioneers who emigrated here found the only way for their survival was to develop a livelihood that worked in harmony with the fragile land. Residents, some in their 4th or 5th generation on the same land, are ever diligent stewards of the plains as they preserve its immense open spaces, its wildlife, and its integrity. The cultural practices that developed in the region are recognized nationally because of the valuable stewardship of the land and the stability that is provided to the fragile soils. Visitors are welcome to learn more through the many local attractions and events along the Byway that celebrate this unique history.
Ranching and Farming Along the Byway
Agriculture has played a major role in human history, as agricultural progress has been a crucial factor in worldwide socio-economic change. Although the Sandhills were used in a variety of ways by prehistoric Native Americans, early explorers spoke of the region as “the Great American Desert.” Early settlers were unprepared for the changing temperatures and the variety of hardships of this region. Due to the lack of trees in the area, they lived in dug-outs or built sod houses. Most adapted to the conditions and learned to live in harmony with the land. To learn more about the farming and ranching culture of the region, visit any of the numerous museums or cultural events along the Byway.

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TitleCategoryAddressDescription
Carnegie Arts Center Art Galleries 204 W. 4th, Alliance, NE 308-762-4571 TEL
CaLinda’s Pot Shop & Art Gallery Art Galleries PO Box 22, Ashby, NE 308 577-6766 TEL
Custer County Historical Museum Art Galleries PO Box 334, Broken Bow, NE 308 872-2203 TEL
Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Visitor Center Art Galleries 207 S. F St, Broken Bow, NE 308 872-2661 TEL
Gallery: Art & Creativity Center Art Galleries 80797 Oak Grove Rd, Comstock, NE 308 215-0076 TEL
Pawnee Arts Center Art Galleries 106 S. Mill St, Dannebrog, NE 308 226-8286 TEL
Prairie Winds Art Center Art Galleries 112 W. 3rd St, Grand Island, NE Art Center 308 381-4001 TEL
Thedford Art Gallery Art Galleries PO Box 115, Thedford, NE 308 530-2380 TEL
Laing Lake Entertainment North edge of Alliance, Alliance, NE
The Sandhills Drive-In Entertainment Alliance, NE 308-762-4100 TEL
Victoria Springs State Recreation Area Entertainment 6 miles east of Anselmo, Anselmo, NE
Arnold Lake State Recreation Area Entertainment 1 mile souith of Arnold on Nebraska Hwy 40 or Nebraska Hwy 92, Arnold, NE
Custer County Fair Entertainment Custer County Fairgrounds, Broken Bow, NE 308 870-2493 TEL
Melham Park Lake Entertainment Broken Bow, NE
Middle Loup River Entertainment Dunning, NE
Cornhusker Wildlife Area Entertainment 4 miles west of U.S. Highway 281 and Old Potash Highway, 1/2 mile south on country road., Grand Island, NE
Mormon Island State Recreation Area Entertainment Interchange I-80 Exit 312, Grand Island, NE
Nebraska National Forest, Bessey Division Entertainment 1 mile west of Halsey on Nebraska Hwy 2, Halsey, NE
Avocet Wildlife Management Area Entertainment 1/2 mile east of Hyannis on Nebraska Highway 2, Hyannis, NE
De Fair Lake Wildlife Management Area Entertainment 2 miles south of Hyannis on Nebraska Highway 61, 1/4 mile east, Hyannis, NE
Smith Lake Entertainment Lakeside, NE
Sherman Reservoir Entertainment 4 miles east of Loup City, Loup City, NE
Sherman Reservoir SRA/WMA Entertainment 4 miles east of Loup City, Loup City, NE
Glidden Canoe Rental Entertainment 507 SW 1st Street, Mullen, NE 308 546-2206 TEL
Hondo Lanes Entertainment 202 S Washington, Mullen, NE 308 546-2417 TEL
Mullen Golf Club Entertainment 36544 West Highway 2, Mullen, NE 308 546-2636 TEL
Mullen Shooting Range Entertainment Mullen, NE
Public Outdoor Swimming Pool Entertainment 302 S McShane Ave, Mullen, NE 308 546-2588 TEL
Pressey Wildlife Management Area Entertainment 5 miles north of Oconto on Nebreska Hwy 21, Oconto, NE
Ravenna Lake Entertainment 1 mile southeast of Ravenna, north of Nebraska Highway 2, Ravenna, NE
Valentine National Wildlife Refuge Entertainment HC 14 Box 67, Valentine, NE 402-376-3789 TEL
Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge Ranching and Farming 10630 Rd 181, Ellsworth, NE 308 762-4893 TEL
Morgan’s Store Ranching and Farming P.O. Box 27, Ellsworth, NE 308 762 2666 TEL
Grant County Historical Society Ranching and Farming 105 East Harrison, Hyannis, NE 308 458-2377 TEL
Sheridan County Ranching and Farming Lakeside, NE
Double R Guest Ranch Ranching and Farming 86091 Double R Drive, Mullen, NE 308 546-2314 TEL
Middle Loup River Ranch Guest House Ranching and Farming 40203 Highway 2, Thedford, NE 402-450-2268 TEL
Valentine National Wildlife Refuge Ranching and Farming HC 14 Box 67, Valentine, NE 402-376-3789 TEL
Alliance Chamber of Commerce Other Attractions 305 Box Butte Ave, Alliance, NE 308 762-1520 TEL
Dobby’s Frontier Town Other Attractions 325 E. 25th St, Alliance, NE 308 762-7157 TEL
Alliance Knight Museum and Sandhills Center Other Attractions 908 Yellowstone, Alliance, NE 308 762-2384 TEL
Victoria Springs State Recreation Area Other Attractions 6 miles east of Anselmo, Anselmo, NE
St. Anselms Catholic Church, Rectory and Parish Hall Other Attractions Anselmo, NE
Ansley Lake Other Attractions West edge of town off Nebraska Highway 2, Ansley, NE