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Greetings from Historic Red Cloud: Great Stories Grow Here! 

Set amid brick-lined streets, charming homes, historic buildings, and the immense beauty of the prairie, Red Cloud offers a glimpse into a storied American past while maintaining a progressive vision for the future. Great stories start in Red Cloud--add your own chapter today!

Brad & Andrea Frey (Republican Valley Rentals, Abundant Life Honey, and Andrea Frey CPA) win Outstanding Business Award at 72nd Farmers & Merchants Banquet

Two years ago, it was unthinkable that the Red Cloud Tourism & Commerce would be giving out the Business of the Year award to a business located in the former Stockaid Liquor location. The building had been left dormant for a couple of years and seemed destined to decay into eventual oblivion. Thankfully, Andrea and Brad Frey (pictured above with RC Tourism & Commerce President Kyle Klein) took a chance on a building formerly owned by Andrea's grandparents and sensed that it was full of entrepreneurial opportunities. Now, instead of sitting dormant or housing merely one business, the site houses 4 different businesses: a U-Haul location (Republican Valley Rentals), an office for Andrea's accounting business, Abundant Life Honey, and Silver Spur Boutique. The first 3 are owned and operated by the Freys while the latter is a tenant. In a few weeks, Bruce Fox will resurrect his much beloved restaurant Fat Fox's with a food truck/trailer that will be parked at the location, meaning the site will soon host 5 different businesses. This year's Outstanding Business Member award goes to the Freys because of the combined impact all of these businesses will have on quality of life and commerce in Red Cloud. 

Tom & Linda Hitchler receive "Outstanding Volunteer Award" at the Red Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce's Farmers & Merchants Banquet

Tom & Linda Hitchler (pictured above with Red Cloud Tourism & Commerce President Kyle Klein) have been a fixture on the Red Cloud scene for years. From their legendary run as owners of The Palace Lounge & Steakhouse to volunteering for a variety of community organizations (including the Red Cloud Fire Department, the Lions Club and the Willa Cather Foundation) to their involvement in a plethora of community activities, Tom & Linda have earned the respect of the community. In recent years, Tom & Linda have also handled the meal prep for the Farmers & Merchants Banquet. In 2022, they handed that responsibility over to Danny & Val Benge which made this year the perfect time to honor their decades long efforts on behalf of the Red Cloud Tourism & Commerce. Thank you, Tom & Linda, for all that you have done for Red Cloud businesses and organizations over the years! 

Farmers & Merchants Banquet features community development speakers; Chamber of Commerce hands out "first dollar of profit" to new businesses 

The 72nd Farmers & Merchants Banquet got back on its normal schedule after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. Despite a quick turnaround of only 4 months since the last gathering (Sept. 11th, 2021), Red Cloud Tourism & Commerce pulled off a nice event and had plenty of business news to report to the 125+ folks who came to hear about progress in the community and enjoy a great meal prepared by Danny & Val Benge, owners of Hometown Market

The major awards of the evening were given to Brad & Andrea Frey (Outstanding Business Member) and Tom & Linda Hitchler (Outstanding Volunteers). The Freys received their award due to their efforts at not only rehabilitating the former Stockaid Liquor location, but also turning it into a place where 4 (and soon 5) businesses can thrive. The Hitchlers received their award partly as a thank you for preparing the banquet meal the last few years, but mainly for their decades of dedication to the Red Cloud community. 

Given that only 4 months had passed since the last banquet, it was particularly encouraging to see five new businesses receive their first dollar of profit from RC Tourism & Commerce (Hair Magic, Twisted Petal Too, Silver Spur Boutique, YWCA School of Dance, and Republican Valley Rentals). The short turnaround did mean, however, that there were no grants to award for Utility Rebates (up to $600 for a first year business) or the Storefront Improvement Grant (up to $500 for a member business). 

The rest of the evening featured several community leaders discussing development projects. Chamber President Kyle Klein discussed potential expansion plans for Webster County Community Hospital and recent grants WCCH received. Stacie Heldt, Chair of the Red Cloud Community Fund's Recreation & Health Committee, discussed fundraising efforts and initial plans for a Recreation Trail in the community. Casey Fangmeyer discussed plans for improvements at Illian Ballfields while Willa Cather Foundation Executive Director Ashley Olson discussed WCF's "Campaign for the Future" and shared photos of progress at the Pavelka Farmstead, the Farmers & Merchants Bank, and the Burlington Depot. Jarrod McCartney discussed ongoing progress at the Hotel Garber site and shared updated architectural renderings and was joined by Todd Mahin and Brad Frey to discuss work going on in downtown buildings. 

The evening concluded with several happy winners of silent auction and raffle items which included weekend getaways donated by the Kearney Convention & Visitors Bureau, a Lincoln sports weekend package, and a woman's self-care package at businesses in Red Cloud, Blue Hill, and Hastings. A North Platte package will be given away to a dues paying member later in the year. Foregoing entertainment at this year's banquet allowed for significant savings, which will hopefully translate in improvements at Street Car Days and other RC Tourism & Commerce sponsored events. The primary point of the the Farmers & Merchants Banquet is to serve as a fundraiser for the rest of the events the RC Tourism & Commerce organizes during year and for the aforementioned grant programs. Please contact Adam Vetter at 402-746-2251 or the RC Tourism & Commerce line at 402-746-4065 if you have questions about how you can help with events or about becoming a member. 

NPR's Maureen Corrigan to Speak at 67th Spring Willa Cather Conference

Reprinted from the Willa Cather Foundation's January 2022 e-newsletter

This year's Spring Conference (June 2-4) will highlight literary prizes while also celebrating the 100th anniversary of Cather's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, One of Ours. We are delighted to announce that Maureen Corrigan, book critic on NPR's Fresh Air, will be a featured speaker. Corrigan's talk, "All the Glittering Prizes," will consider the decisions behind literary awards, informed by her time as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. 

Learn more about the 67th Spring Willa Cather Conference
Purchase One of Ours from the Willa Cather Bookstore 

Red Cloud to receive $18.4K in tourism marketing grants

Nebraska Tourism announced grant awards totaling $603,984.50 in the combined application cycle of the Community Impact and Tourism Marketing Grant programs for 2022. The Commission received a total of 76 applications this grant cycle requesting $1,503,051.54 in funding. "As we see more people looking at Nebraska as a travel destination, it’s important for communities to be able to showcase everything our unique state has to offer,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism Commission executive director.
Red Cloud Tourism & Commerce will receive $9,750 while the Willa Cather Foundation will receive $8,696. Both organizations will use the money for marketing initiatives. 

Warcat Boys & Girls Wrestling Win Home Invite, Continue Excellent Seasons 

from Nick Blasnitz at the Hastings Tribune 

The Red Cloud/Blue Hill wrestling team is in the midst of its best season in quite some time. The Warcats put another exclamation mark on the year with a tourney victory on Saturday when they won their home invite.

Nick Lonowski, who has been the Warcats' head coach for the last six seasons, said there's just something extra special about winning the home tournament.

"Winning our home tournament is awesome," Lonowski said. "Our home tournament gives many people who are not our regular fans an opportunity to come watch. Having a big home crowd makes it very special for the kids."

READ "Red Cloud-Blue Hill girls wrestling benefits from experience" by John Huthmacher in the Hastings Tribune

Warcat Boys & Girls Wrestlers and staff are pictured above. Front Row (L to R) : Arica Hartman, Aiden Piel, Carter Auten, Lily Gomez, Caden Trew, Chase Ostdiek, Isaac Piel, Holden Gilbert (student manager). Back row (L to R): Coach Dennis Riemersma, Brooks Armstrong, Coach Nick Lonowski, Jake Hodson, Brody Fischer, Alec Lounsbury, Klayton Niles, Riley Lambrecht, Coach Mitch Krueger, Patricia Arroyo,  and Coach Lacey Hild.
Red Cloud in the News


Joe & Tay & Valentine's Day
February 12, 2022
Kerry Grombacher & Aspen Black Duo
February 26, 2022
Root Marm Chicken Farm 
March 19, 2022
Erin Flanagan
February 24, 2022 
Great Plains Mini Film Festival
March 12, 2022
Easter Egg Hunt
April 16, 2022
Learn more about this traveling Smithsonian exhibit by pressing play! 
Crossroads: Change in Rural America Exhibit
February 18 - March 31, 2022

In 1900, about 40% of Americans lived in rural areas, By 2010, less than 18% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. In just over a century, massive economic and social changes moved millions of Americans into urban areas. Yet, only 10% of the U.S. landmass is considered urban.

Many Americans consider rural communities to be endangered and hanging on by a thread—suffering from brain drain, inadequate schools, and a barren, overused landscape. Why should revitalizing the rural places left behind matter to those who remain, those who left, and those who will come in the future? Because there is much more to the story of rural America.

Crossroads: Change in Rural America offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century. The exhibition will prompt discussions about what happened when America’s rural population became a minority of the country’s population and the ripple effects that occurred.

View All Events
APMA Architecture completed new renderings of the exterior of the Hotel Garber site after it was determined that seeking Historic Tax Credits would be part of financing the project. While this new rendering is not set in stone, it replaces the square, more modern looking windows of the previous design with arched windows that more closely resemble the original version of the building when it was finished in 1902-03. If you're interesting in being a donor, an investor, or just want to learn more about the project, please contact Jarrod McCartney at 402-746-2653 or If you live in Nebraska, consider contacting your state senator and urging them to support providing funding to this project via ARPA money put into the Shovel Ready Capital Recovery and Investment Act. When completed, this project will bring 10 new jobs to Red Cloud, create $6 million in yearly economic impact, and generate close to $400K in tax revenue over the next decade. 
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Copyright © *2022* *Red Cloud Tourism & Commerce*, All rights reserved.
*Volume 6.1 You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website.

Our mailing address is:
Red Cloud Tourism & Commerce
413 N. Webster St. 
Red Cloud, NE 68970 
Jarrod McCartney, Willa Cather Foundation, Nebraska Tourism Commission, Ashley Armstrong, Rob Olsen, APMA Architecture, and Red Cloud Community Schools 


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Red Cloud High School's Quiz Bowl team took first place at the Silver Lake Invite on January 27th! Pictured Front Row L to R are: Patricia Arroyo, Phoenix Kincaid, Beau Lewis, Kayce Clark, Margaret Arroyo, and Mariah McDole. Back row L to R: Coach Kevin Daehling, Brody Fischer, Abigail Reyes, Brooks Armstrong, and Tavis Rippen.