Come May, it’s time to get your groove on again at Aksarben Village’s Stinson Park. That’s because Saturdays @ Stinson concerts return with perhaps the best lineup to date. The sounds begin May 5 and run for 11 Saturdays through July 28. Did we mention the concerts are free? Concertgoers are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, an umbrella, and coolers (don’t forget koozies or plastic cups—leave the bottles at home). Food and drink vendors will be on hand, along with face painting and balloon artists, and don’t forget the fountain and playground equipment for the kids. The full slate:
May 5 – Taxi Driver
May 12 – Hi-Fi Hangover
May 19 – Blue House with the Rent To Own Horns
May 26 – Lemon Fresh Day
June 2 – Gooch and His Las Vegas Big Band
June 9 – Charm School Dropouts
June 16 – Finest Hour
June 23 – Soul Dawg
July 7 – The Confidentials
July 21 – High Heel
July 28 – The 70’s Band
Tired of that sad-looking produce you were stuck buying all winter? With the return of spring comes the return of Benson Bounty and its fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The family-run outfit will host a stand at Benson’s Ted & Wally’s (61st & Maple streets) every Saturday morning beginning May 12 until Oct. 13. Benson Bounty also is offering shares in its Community Supported Agriculture. Members receive special bulk pricing on produce, which they pick up weekly as a share of harvests. Contents vary by week, reflecting what’s in season at the Benson Bounty farm.
Things really perked up at Archetype Coffee (3926 Farnam St.) in February thanks to the showing java experts Isaiah Sheese and Jason Burkum put on at the U.S. Coffee Championships Qualifying Competition in New Orleans. Sheese finished second in the Barista Qualifying Competition, in which competitors prepare and serve coffee beverages for sensory judges while being assessed on preparation abilities by technical judges. Burkum placed second in the Cup Tasters Competition. Tasters receive eight sets of three cups, or triangles, where two cups are identical and one is different. Those with the most correct answers in the shortest amount of time wins. Sheese and Burkum qualified to compete in the national championships in Seattle in late April. Any wonder why business at Archetype is so…brisk? In fact, it is brisk enough that they are opening a second location this fall in Little Bohemia. Keep a caffeinated eye open for updates.
There’s plenty of opportunity for fun with friends for those who live in the Capitol District. But there’s also time for fun with Fido. Among the more popular features at the Capitol District Apartments is its dog park—the only resident dog park in Downtown Omaha. And it comes with real grass. There’s plenty more, of course. The apartments are within walking distance from numerous food, entertainment, and cultural venues. And on-site amenities include a community lounge with games and an outdoor deck, an attached garage parking, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Fido would approve.
Dundee denizens who want a taste of the South now don’t have far to go. Not since December, that is, when Kith & Kin Southern Kitchen took over the former Paragon Dundee space at 5018 Underwood Ave. The menu features hush puppies, crab cakes, Gumbo Nachos, po’ boys, Cajun burgers, Southern Rubbed Ribs, and much more from the Land of Dixie, all served with a healthy portion of Southern hospitality. Kith & Kin is open every day for lunch and dinner, offering brunch instead of lunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m until 2 p.m.
Add the Omaha Farmers Market to things that go bump in the night at Midtown Crossing. But there’s nothing to fear about the expanded night market series coming to Midtown beginning in May. The Turner Park Night Market debuted along 31st Avenue in 2017, featuring eclectic pop-up festivals with music, markets, games, themed food, and fresh produce from Omaha Farmers Market. Oh, and moonlight yoga. The four Friday evening dates last year drew nearly three dozen vendors and 5,000 guests each outing. Night Market grows to five dates in 2018—the last Friday evening in May, June, July, August, and September at Turner Park. Attendance is free, open to the public, and dog-friendly.
If it’s June in NoDo, that means bats, baseballs, brats, beers, and…bicycles? Yup. Omaha Bikes, for an eighth consecutive year, will be hosting Bike to the Ballpark—free bike parking during the College World Series. Why come to the games at TD Ameritrade Park stressed because of traffic congestion and high-priced parking? Pedal in then park your ride in a safe, fenced area monitored by Omaha Bikes volunteers. Bike valet starts at least one hour before the first pitch and goes until 30 minutes after the game. Don’t have a bike? Don’t worry. Check out B-Cycle, Omaha’s public bicycle sharing system. There are three stations located downtown.
Seriously?! We’re on year 44 of the Omaha Summer Arts Festival? Well, if art appreciates with age, then so does the OSAF, Omaha’s premier destination for arts and entertainment. Set for June 8-10, the 2018 edition will feature 135 of the nation’s finest visual artists, a stage of continuous free music, and a hands-on children’s fair. The fun takes place on Farnam Street from 10th to 15th streets, just one block north of the Old Market.
You gotta figure a place that serves fried Oreos is a place you wanna try, right? Right. And the place in question is Smoking Jay’s BBQ at 2524 S. 13th St. The family-owned restaurant has been pleasing Vinton Street palates since it opened in January 2015. Menu favorites include the Heart Attack Burger (cheeseburger topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce and homemade onion rings), Jay’s Lil’ Griddle (grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with pulled pork and barbecue sauce) and Pork Nachos (crispy waffle fries topped with baked beans, pulled pork, barbecue sauce, shredded cheese, green onions, and jalapenos). There’s plenty more, too (again: fried Oreos). Smoking Jay’s is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
24TH AND LAKE
Did you know Jewish settlers were the first to populate the historic 24th Street and Lake District, doing so in the 1890s and referring to a stretch between Cuming and Lake streets as the “Miracle Mile?” Or that it later became known as the “Street of Dreams” to African-Americans who helped the area thrive? You can learn that and much more during a North 24th Street Walking Tour, held the second Saturday of each month, April through October. The tours begin at 11 a.m. at Dreamland Park (24th Street and Lizzie Robinson Drive) and cost $10 per person or $15 per couple.
This article appears in the May/June 2018 edition of Encounter.