Tag Archives: Missouri

July/August 2018 Explore!

June 20, 2018 by and

Nebraska

Uncle Sam Jam! July 3 at Oak Lake Park, First and Charleston streets, Lincoln. Bring the whole family to Lincoln’s official celebration of Independence Day, featuring food, music, fireworks, and more. 402-441-7547.
lincoln.ne.gov 

Annual July Fourth Flea Market July 3-4 at Fairbury City Park, 421 Park Road, Fairbury. Spend two days celebrating America’s independence at the largest flea market in southeast Nebraska, where everything from dishes to clothes will be available for purchase, along with great food. A morning parade and a fireworks show at dusk will take place on July 4. 402-729-3221.
fairburyfleamarket.com 

1898 Independence Day Celebration July 4 at Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, 3133 W. Highway 34, Grand Island. This summer tradition includes a parade, a concert, pie-eating contests, games, and more. 308-385-5316.
stuhrmuseum.org

Zoofest July 6-7, 14th and O streets, Lincoln. Taking place in front of the Zoo Bar, this festival will feature all-day performances from national and local musicians along with food, drinks, and merchandise for sale. 402-435-8754.
zoobar.com 

The Good Living Tour July 7 at City Park, 100 Third Ave., Red Cloud; July 20 at Johnny Carson Mural, 111 Third St.,  Norfolk. This statewide concert tour is back. Acts performing in Red Cloud are Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band, Rascal Martinez, Freakabout, and Lester Junction. Acts performing in Norfolk are Emily Bass and the Near Miracle, Bokr Tov, and The Belles. 308-386-8117.
goodlivingtour.com

Midwest Toy Farmers’ 31st Annual Toy Show July 8 at Northeast Community College, 801 E. Benjamin Ave., Norfolk. Midwest toy farmers will display and sell their toy trucks, tractors, and more at this annual event.
toyfarmer.com/showsauctions

Oregon Trail Days July 12-15 in Scottsbluff. This 97th annual event is one of the oldest community festivals in Nebraska. The celebration includes a kickoff barbecue, a hill climb bicycle ride to the top of Scotts Bluff National Monument, a chili cook-off, horseshoe tournament, and more. 308-632-2133.
oregontraildays.com

John C. Fremont Days July 13-15 in Fremont. This award-winning celebration of Fremont’s history offers education along with the “Cruisers on Main” car and bike show, a rodeo, an antique and collectors show, a parade, beautiful hot air balloon glow, and many more activities. This year’s festival is dedicated to the remembrance of World War I, and displays will be a part of this recognition of the Great War. 402-727-9428.
johncfremontdays.org

2018 MCA Mustang National Show July 13-15 at Pinnacle Bank Arena Festival Lot, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Spectators will be treated to a display of Mustangs along with approximately 500 other vehicles. 402-267-3665.
hoofbeatoflincoln.com

My Ántonia  July 20-22 at Red Cloud Opera House, 413 N. Webster St., Red Cloud. This play by A.P. Andrews, based on the novel by Willa Cather, follows the life of Ántonia, a young and lonely immigrant girl living with her family in Black Hawk, Nebraska, who befriends young Jim Burden. Their story is one of pioneer hardships, personal struggles, and the endurance of memory. 402-746-2641.
willacather.org 

Christofer Visser—Civil War Re-enactor July 20 at Schoolhouse Art Gallery & Nature Center, 427 Main St., Brownville. Spend an evening listening to Christofer Visser’s true historical stories along with unique stories pertaining to his travels. 402-825-4992.
brownville-ne.com 

Cornhusker State Games July 20-29, various locations in Lincoln, Omaha, and surrounding communities. This amateur sporting event offers participants the opportunity to compete in Olympic contests like gymnastics, track and field, and swimming, as well as more relaxed events like horseshoe pitching and chess. 402-471-2544.
cornhuskerstategames.com

Highway 66 Concourse Classic July 22 at Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland. Come view the nation’s history of classic automobiles while viewing rare autos and motorcycles. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 402-944-3100.
sacmuseum.org 

Steve Miller Band & Peter Frampton Aug. 2 at Pinewood Bowl Theater, 3201 S. Coddington Ave., Lincoln. The two icons will perform hits from their legendary careers and jam together. 402-904-4444.
pinewoodbowltheater.com

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal Aug. 3-5 at Brownville Concert Hall, 126 Atlantic St., Brownville. Guests will be entertained by Hoyer and his band’s electrifying fusion of soul and funk. 402-825-3331.
brownville-ne.com 

Family Fun Carnival  Aug. 4 at Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland. Animals, face painters, and balloon artists will be present at this kid-friendly event, which includes a large shuttle slide, a spacewalk, and a science lesson. 402-944-3100.
sacmuseum.org      

GSK Orange Run Aug. 4 at Fallbrook YMCA, 700 Penrose Drive, Lincoln. Offering both family-friendly and competitive activities, this event features a 1-mile fun run/walk and a 5K race aimed at promoting fitness, health, and fun.
lincolnrun.org 

NHRA Nebraska State Championships Aug. 4-5 at Kearney Raceway Park, 4860 Imperial Ave. Racers from all over the state will compete for the state title in this race. 308-750-2049.
krpi.com

Nebraska Rod & Custom Car Show Aug. 5 at Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, 3133 W. Highway 34, Grand Island. Dozens of street rods, hot rods, customized vehicles, and historical American automobiles will be on display at the museum’s 1890s Railroad Town. 308-385-5316.
stuhrmuseum.org 

Nebraska Star Party Aug. 5-10 at Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area, Highway 97 & Cedar Bay, Valentine. This week-long event dedicated to nature and the stars will entertain children and adults alike. Guests can learn how to explore the night sky and take educational tours of the surrounding area. 402-333-5460.
nebraskastarparty.org 

Kool-Aid Days Aug. 10-12 in downtown Hastings. Celebrate America’s beloved powdered drink mix, which was created in Hastings, with this weekend festival. Events include Kwickest Kool-Aid Drinking Contest, Jammers Boat Races, a fun run/walk, and more. 402-461-8405.
kool-aiddays.com

An Evening with Earth, Wind & Fire Aug. 14 at Pinewood Bowl Theater, 3201 S. Coddington Ave., Lincoln. Enjoy a night listening to the legendary tunes of this band whose works range from disco and funk to Latin and African music. 402-904-4444.
pinewoodbowltheater.com 

Columbus Days Aug. 16-19 in Columbus. Spend the weekend listening to live music, enjoying food, viewing the All Ford Car Show, a pedal tractor pull, a parade, and more. 402-564-2769.
facebook.com/columbusdays 

Nebraska Football Fanday Late August (date TBD) at Memorial Stadium, 1 Memorial Stadium Drive, Lincoln. Come to Memorial Stadium for a day full of events such as obtaining autographs, and meeting the coaching staff and players. 402-472-2263.
huskers.com

Nebraska State Fair Aug. 24-Sept. 3, 501 E. Fonner Park Road, Grand Island. Participate in traditional fair activities like livestock exhibits, a midway, and lots of fried food. Concerts include Kelly Clarkson, Sugarland, Up with People, and more. 308-382-1620.
statefair.org

Jason Mraz Aug. 30 at Pinewood Bowl Theater, 3201 S. Coddington Ave., Lincoln. The Grammy-award winning artist will entertain fans alongside his “Superband.” Brett Dennen will perform as a special guest.  402-904-4444.
pinewoodbowltheater.com

Iowa

Yankee Doodle Pops July 2 at Iowa State Capitol, E. Ninth St. and Grand Ave., Des Moines. The 25th annual performance by the Des Moines Symphony will entertain guests with a patriotic outdoor musical performance that ends with a display of fireworks over the city. This free event is welcome to all ages. 515-280-4000.
dmsymphony.org 

Independence Day July 4 at Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale. Celebrate America’s birthday with a family-oriented day of pie-eating contests, foot races, a town parade, and more. The celebration will also include the Walnut Hill Bluestockings playing baseball according to 1875 rules. 515-278-5286.
lhf.org

80/35 Music Festival 2018 July 6-7 at Western Gateway Park, 12th and Locust Streets, Des Moines. The 11th-annual music festival will entertain with over 50 musical performances, including Kesha and Phantogram as headliners.
80-35.com

Saturday In The Park July 7 at Grandview Park, 24th St. and Grandview Blvd., Sioux City. On July Fourth weekend, Sioux City hosts a free music festival featuring jazz legend Boz Scaggs and Grammy-winner Jason Isbell and the 400 unit. 712-277-2575.
saturdayinthepark.com

North Liberty Blues & BBQ July 14 at Centennial Park, St. Andrews Drive, North Liberty. Eat barbecue and listen to performances from regional blues musicians. Activities for children and craft beers are also featured.
northlibertyblues.org

Ioway Culture Day July 14 at Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale. Spend the day exploring the Ioway culture—the namesake of the state of Iowa. Guests can take a tractor-cart ride to a 1700-style Ioway farm where they can learn how the Ioway constructed their homes, farmed, and prepared food. In addition, guest speakers will impart their personal knowledge of Ioway tradition and technology. 515-278-5286.
lhf.org

Jamey Johnson July 20 at McGrath Amphitheater, 475 First St. S.W., Cedar Rapids. The award-winning singer and songwriter will entertain with his highly praised country hits. 319-362-1729.
mcgrathamphitheatre.com

46th Annual RAGBRAI July 22-28 across Iowa. Thousands of bicyclists will converge upon Iowa for one week in this annual event. This year’s event travels the state from Onawa in western Iowa to Davenport in eastern Iowa. Come for the ride, stay for the homemade pie found in each town along the route. 515-284-8341.
ragbrai.com

Nordic Festival July 26-28, 507 W. Water St., Decorah. For over 50 years, Decorah has welcomed visitors from around the world to a festival full of traditional crafts, food, colorful parades, musical performances, and a Saturday night fireworks show. 800-382-3378.
nordicfest.com

Friday Night Main Event LLC July 27 at Johnson County Fairgrounds, 4261 Oak Crest Hill Road SE., Iowa City. This event features  carnival rides, a rodeo, and a live performance from country artist Walker McGuire. 319-530-1170.
—fridaynightmainevent.org 2018 National Balloon Classic  July 27-Aug. 4 at the National Balloon Classic Memorial Balloon Field, 15335 Jewell St., Indianola. This event promises a spectacular visual experience, with nearly 100 hot air balloons adorning the sky, live music, glowing lights, and fireworks at night, along with other family-friendly attractions. 515-961-8415.
nationalballoonclassic.com

2018 Hinterland Music Festival  Aug. 3-4 at Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater, 3357 St. Charles Road, St. Charles. Guests will be entertained with music from a talented number of artists from around the country (and the world) with styles rooted in rock, country, and more. Performers include Sturgill Simpson, Chvrches, and Ancient Posse.
hinterlandiowa.com

newbo evolve Aug. 3-5, 1620 Second St. S.E., Cedar Rapids.  The 10th annual festival includes appearances by film director John Waters and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, a panel session by Olympic bronze medalist Adam Rippon, and performances from Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson. 319-398-5009.
gocedarrapids.com/newboevolve

The Second City Aug. 4 at Pearson Lakes Art Center, 2201 U.S. Highway 71, Okoboji.  This tour of Chicago’s legendary improv comedy theater features the troupe’s best sketches and songs. 712-332-7013.
lakesart.org

Iowa State Fair Aug. 9-19 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, E. 30th St. and E. University Ave., Des Moines. Revel in the family-friendly atmosphere of this annual and traditional event, featuring a butter cow, thrill parks, talent show, games, and much more. Special guests include Reba McEntire, Florida Georgia Line, and comedian Jim Gaffigan. 515-262-3111.
iowastatefair.org

FRYfrest Aug. 31, Quarry Road and E. Ninth St., Coralville. Join Hawkeye fans in this annual celebration of historic football coach Hayden Fry for a day of tailgating, live music, and autograph sessions from current and former football players. 319-337-6592.
fryfest.com

Kansas

14th Annual Heartland Art Guild International Miniatures Art Show July 2-31 at Paola Chamber of Commerce, Six W. Peoria, Paola. At this art display, all pieces must be 25 square inches or less in size, making it a display like no other. Over 180 works of art created by artists from the United States and beyond will be present. 913-294-4940.
artkc.com 

Junk ’N’ Donuts Swap Meets July 14 and Aug. 11 at Louisburg Cider Mill, 14730 K68 Highway, Louisburg. Grab a Lost Trail root beer and a cider donut, and shop around the Cider Mill where vendors will be selling antiques and other goods. 913-837-5202.
louisburgcidermill.com 

2018 Amelia Earhart Festival July 20-21 in Atchison. In an annual, honorary celebration of the city’s own pioneer, Atchison’s community will entertain with a carnival, an outdoor concert featuring country artists Brett Young and Maddie & Tae, food, aerobatic displays, historical presentations, and more—capped by a finale of fireworks. 1-800-234-1854.
visitatchison.com

Clue: The Musical July 20-Aug. 5 at Helen Hocker Theater, 700 S.W. Zoo Parkway, Topeka. This musical adaptation of the beloved board game invites the audience to guess the suspect via clues given out throughout the performance. Each performance offers a different conclusion, making the production a truly unique experience. 785-357-5211.
topekacivictheatre.com 

Blacksmiths and Pioneers Days  Aug. 18-19 at Transue Brothers Blacksmith and Wagon Shop, 309 Main St., Summerfield. Spend the weekend watching gun fights, riding in covered wagons and stage coaches, and observing the arts of blacksmithing, marble blowing, and other practices of the late 1800s. 402-520-0644.
transueblacksmith.org

Missouri

KC RiverFest July 4 at Berkley Riverfront Park, 1298 Riverfront Road, Kansas City.  This festival features live shows from the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America’s Jazz Ensemble and one of the largest fireworks shows in the Midwest.
kcriverfest.com

Paramore with Foster The People July 7 at Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City. This American rock ’n’ roll band will perform their hits and will be joined by Foster The People. 816-363-7827.
kcstarlight.com

First Saturday Event  July 7 and Aug. 4 at Shoal Creek Living History Museum, 7000 N.E. Barry Road, Kansas City. This free event will introduce guests to the Missouri of the 19th century through historical demonstrations and activities. Re-enactors dressed as outlaws, mountain men, and other characters will participate in skits and gunfights. 816-792-2655.
shoalcreeklivinghistorymuseum.com

The Teddy Bear Picnic July 13, Roanoke Park, 3601 Roanoke Road, Kansas City. This celebration of National Teddy Bear Picnic Day will give families the opportunity to have a picnic with their teddy bears and participate in other activities. Janie Next Door will provide live music. 816-513-7500.
kcparks.org 

AquaPalooza July 21 at Lake of the Ozarks, 1232 Jeffries Road, Osage Beach. Bring the whole family and enjoy a day of boating, live music, and a visit to Dog Days Bar & Grill. 573-348-9797.
dogdays.ws 

Buzz Beach Ball Festival July 27 at Providence Medical Center Amphitheater, 633 N. 130th St., Bonner Springs. This up-and-coming music festival showcases a mixture of underground and indie rock/pop talent,  including Portugal. The Man, Awolnation, and Rainbow Kitten Surprise. 1-800-745-3000.
beachballkc.com

Heart of America Hot Dog Festival Aug. 4 at Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 1616 E 18th St. Celebrate baseball and the all-American hot dog. Sample specially produced dogs like the Monarch, Royal Frank, and El Maestro, while providing music and family fun. Tickets to the festival include admission to the museum, which celebrates African-American baseball players. 816-221-1920.
nlbm.com

Feast of Fountains: A Food Truck Festival  Aug. 9 at The Northland Fountain in Anita B. Gorman Park, Vivion Road & N. Oak, Kansas City. Marvel at Kansas City’s mesmerizing fountains as part of this family-friendly event that also includes live music and a wide selection from a variety of food trucks. 816-513-7500.
kcparks.org 

The Farmer’s House Cornfest Aug. 11 at The Farmer’s House, 23200 Highway 273, Weston. This event includes a corn-eating contest, dunk tank, and duck races. Farm to Fork Kitchen will be serving barbecue, grilled corn on the cob, and hot apple fritters. 816-640-2909.
westonmo.com

Rod Stewart Aug. 14 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. The rock-and-roll icon will perform his greatest hits with Cyndi Lauper as special guest. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

Love Never Dies Aug. 14-19 at Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City. This sequel to The Phantom of the Opera takes place in 1907 New York, in which the Phantom tries to reclaim the love of Christine Daaé. 816-363-7827.
kcstarlight.com 

Ethnic Enrichment Festival Aug. 17-19 at Swope Park, 3999 Swope Parkway in Kansas City. This event features more than 60 different cultures selling their native foods and crafts, and performing ethnic music and dances. 816-513-7553.
eeckc.net

Trails West! 2018 Aug. 17-19 at Civic Center Park, 900-1200 Francis St., St Joseph. This community celebration features visual and musical artists along with a wide variety of food. 816-233-0231.
stjomo.com 

Sam Smith Aug. 18 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Smith will entertain guests with his signature soulful style. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

Happy Together Tour 2018 Aug. 19 at Muriel Kauffman Theatre, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. Named after the hit song by The Turtles, this event brings together some popular bands of the 1960s as they perform their hits, which defined a generation. Acts include The Turtles, The Association, The Cowsills, and more. 816-994-7222.
theturtles.com


Event times and details may change. 

Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

2018 May/June Explore!

May 2, 2018 by

Nebraska

Cranes: Taking Flight Through May 13 at the Museum of Nebraska Art, 2401 Central Ave., Kearney. This showcase contains various art forms aimed at capturing the magic of the annual migration of the sandhill crane over the heart of Nebraska. 308-865-8559.
visitnebraska.com

Looking Past Skin: Our Common Threads Through May 15 at the Nebraska History Museum, 131 Centennial Mall N., Lincoln. Learn about the way Nebraska has been enriched by the movement of various peoples, from Native American cultures to refugees. This free exhibit provides education on the impact of migration within the state and explains the challenges of living in a foreign country. 402-471-4782.
history.nebraska.gov

Outdoor Exhibits Opening Day May 1 at Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, 3133 W. Highway 34, Grand Island. Go back in time and learn about the pioneers while touring buildings and meeting historical interpreters of the time period. The Railroad Town, Antique Auto and Farm Machinery Building, Pawnee Earth Lodge, log cabin, rural church, and rural school will all open for the season. 308-385-5316.
stuhrmuseum.org

Nebraska Wine & Jazz Festival May 4-5 at Buffalo County Fairgrounds Exposition Building, 3807 Ave. N, Kearney. This 11th annual event showcases beverages from a number of Nebraska wineries and micro-breweries, with live jazz music performed by talented musicians. 308-237-3114.
wineandjazzfest.org

Fort Kearny Outdoor Expo May 12 at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area, 1020 V Road, Kearney. This family-friendly event caters to those who are interested in Nebraska’s outdoor activities and wildlife. Fishing, camping, and archery are but a few of the offered recreational opportunities. A park entry permit is required. 402-471-6009.
fortkearnyexpo.com

Corteo by Cirque Du Soliel May 17-20 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Witness the musical and acrobatic tale of a clown’s imagined funeral that brings together the comic and the tragic in a colorful carnival atmosphere. 402-904-4444.
pinnaclebankarena.com

Impractical Jokers May 18 at Pinewood Bowl Theater, 3201 S. Coddington Ave., Lincoln. As part of their “Santiago Sent Us” tour, the four stars of the hit show Impractical Jokers will take the stage and entertain with their hilarious sketches and improv. 402-904-4444.
lincoln.org

Free park entry/fishing day May 19 at any state park or recreation area. Get out and enjoy nature during this day, which allows free access to state parks, state recreation areas, or state historical parks across Nebraska. 402-471-0641.
outdoornebraska.org

Duck ’N’ Run Family Fun Day May 19 at Fairbury Community Building, 601 City Park Road, Fairbury. This Saturday devoted to family activities offers a one-mile duck dash for the kids and a competitive 10K run and a two-mile run/walk for the adults. Additional kid-friendly activities include a “lucky duck” drawing with cash prizes. 402-729-3000.
fairbury.com

20th Annual Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival  May 26 at Homestead National Monument, 8523 West State Highway 4, Beatrice. Over 30 fiddlers will compete for more than $3,000 in cash prizes at this event. Other events include harmonica and fiddling workshops, and an acoustic band competition. 402-223-3514.
nps.gov

Annual Brownville Spring Flea Market May 26-28 in Brownville. Come and see what hundreds of vendors bring to this annual tradition, including recycled and upcycled products, food, and antiques. 402-825-6001.
brownvillehistoricalsociety.org

63rd annual Willa Cather Spring Conference May 31-June 2 at National Willa Cather Center, 413 N. Webster St., Red Cloud. This  year’s conference celebrates the 100th anniversary of My Antonia. The keynote speaker is Nina McConigley. 866-731-7304.
willacather.org

Rock Creek Trail Days June 2-3 at Rock Creek Station Historical Park, 57426 710th Road, Fairbury. This event features a re-enactment of Wild Bill Hickok’s legendary conflict with David McCanles, mule-pulled wagon rides, and a buffalo stew cookout, among other historical activities. A park entry permit is required. 402-729-5777.
fairburychamber.org

Nebraskaland Days June 13-23 at Wild West Arena, 2400 N. Buffalo Bill Ave., North Platte. Cowboy up at this festival celebrating Nebraska’s country heritage. The PRCA Buffalo Bill Rodeo features fan favorites such as bull riding, steer roping, and more. The event also includes parades, an antique car show, quilt show, tennis tournaments, and much more.  Florida-Georgia Line and Alabama headline the entertainment. 308-532-7939.
nebraskalanddays.com

33rd Annual Wagons West Celebration June 16 at the Trails & Rails Museum, 710 W. 11th St., Kearney. This festival includes live music, games for children, great food, contests, and educational demonstrations. 308-234-3041.
bchs.us

Father’s Day June 17 at Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland. Plan an adventure for your dad this year and treat him to a visit to the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum.  All dads (accompanied by family) enjoy free admission to the museum. There will be a museum tour at 11 a.m., a crawl through of the C-54 “Skymaster”  from noon-2 p.m.
sacmuseum.org

Homestead days June 23-24 at Homestead National Monument, 8523 W. State Highway Four. See how life was lived in the late 1800s through stage performances, demonstrations of traditional crafts and farm machinery, a re-enactment of a Civil War encampment, children’s festival, and more. 402-223-3514.
nps.gov

Full Moon Bonfire—with Storyteller Darrel Draper in Theodore Roosevelt: Rough Rider President June 30 at Wostrel Family’s Union Orchard, 2405 S. Highway 75, Union. Dressed as the 26th President of the United States of America, Darrel Draper delivers an enthusiastic performance pertaining to “Teddy” Roosevelt’s historically important and entertaining run for a third term as president. 402-263-4845.
unionorchard.com


Iowa

Spring Sip, Taste & Stroll May 4 in Downtown Burlington, 400 N. Front St., Burlington. Spend the evening visiting various downtown wineries and breweries while tasting samples and strolling around the area’s shops. 319-752-6365.
greaterburlington.com

Maifest May 5-6 at the Amana Colonies. Guests of this festival will be treated to entertainment rooted in German tradition, including Maipole dancers and wonderful music. Additionally, the World-on-Wheels food-truck fair will serve international cuisine, and guests can also stroll from store to store tasting samples as part of the Wine, Beer, and Chocolate Walk. 319-622-7622.
festivalsinamana.com

Orange City Tulip Festival May 17-19 in Orange City. This event, which began in 1936, celebrates Dutch heritage and consists of beautiful tulips, dances performed in traditional Dutch clothing, daily parades, old-country foods, and more. 712-707-4510.
octulipfestival.com

41st annual Houby Days May 18-20 at the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids. Celebrate spring with a carnival, live music, traditional Czech dances and food, and more. 319-398-5009.
gocedarrapids.com

80th annual North Iowa Band Festival May 24-28 in Mason City. Seventy-six trombones (or more) will parade through the streets of this Iowa town, where Music Man composer Meredith Wilson lived. Along with marching bands, this festival includes a carnival, food, games, and live entertainment. 641-423-5724.
masoncityia.com

John Wayne Birthday Celebration May 25-26 in Winterset. America’s favorite Western star was born in the heart of Iowa, and this two-day festival will celebrate him with a horse parade, 5K run/walk, a benefit auction, and movies. Red Steagall headlines the live entertainment. 515-462-1044.
johnwaynebirthplace.museum

Annual Tivoli Fest May 26-May 27 in Elk Horn. Celebrate all things Danish at this annual spring festival, which includes Danish food, dances, live entertainment, fireworks, and more. 712-764-7001.
danishmuseum.org

2018 Wizard Festival & Quidditch Matches June 2 at Moonstone Lavender Gardens, 1449 240th Ave., Thurman. This is a celebration of all things Harry Potter. Activities include magic lessons from Professors McGonegall, Snape, and others, as well as an opportunity to learn and play Quidditch. Costume contests, music, and food are also included. 712-628-2113.
moonstonelavender.com

Ice Cream Days June 13-16, Le Mars. Come to the “Ice Cream Capital of the World,” home of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, for events for the whole family, including a parade, a Grill-n-Chill Rib Rally, live music, and more. 712-546-8821.
lemarsiowa.com

36th Annual Walnut Antique Show June 15-17 in Walnut. Spend Father’s Day weekend at Walnut’s nationally celebrated antique show. With over 350 dealers of antiques and collectibles lining the city’s historic streets, this event is more than an antique show—it is a spectacular display of community and tradition. 712-784-3443.
walnutantiqueshow.com

Wurst Festival June 16 in the Amana Colonies. While sampling sausages from the area’s best sausage makers and sipping on cold drinks, guests can listen to live music, play games, and watch as dachshunds race one another as part of the second annual Dachshund Derby. 319-622-7622.
festivalsinamana.com

Trekfest XXXIV June 29-30 at Hall Park, Riverside. Featuring live music, a demolition derby, activities for kids, and a life-size statue of Captain Kirk, this StarTrek-themed extravaganza, held in the captain’s fictional hometown, is sure to entertain all ages.
trekfest.org


Kansas

KS Food Truck Festival. May 5, 9th and Pennsylvania streets, Lawrence. This one-day festival features more than 25 food trucks with offerings from across the world, with live entertainment. Proceeds benefit Just Food, the Douglas County Food Bank. 785-856-3040.
ksfoodtruckfest.com

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 & Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series May 11-12 at Kansas Speedway, 400 Speedway Blvd., Kansas City. On May 11, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns for this 250-mile race. May 12 is the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Martin Truex Jr. will defend his title and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson will also race that night. 866-460-7223.
kanssspeedway.com

Lawrence Busker Festival 2018 May 25-27, Downtown, 8th to 11th streets, and Vermont to New Hampshire streets, Lawrence. This annual event invites everyone to enjoy a get-weird-weekend. Unusual live performances by artists, both local and global. Don’t miss the Busker Ball at the Lawrence Arts Center. 785-843-2787.
lawrencebuskerfest.com

Sunflower Music Festival June 22-30, White Concert Hall, 1700 S.W. College Ave., Topeka. This 10-concert series on the Washburn University campus features orchestra, chamber ensembles, jazz, and student ensembles. 785-670-1396.
sunflowermusicfestival.org


Missouri

Off the Wall: Pop Hits of the ’80s with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra May 4 at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. Travel back to the decade in which Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and others ruled the charts. 816-994-7200.
tickets.kauffmancenter.org

Ninth Annual Sikeston Jaycees Crawfish Boil & Music Festival May 5 at Sikeston Rodeo Grounds, 1220 N. Ingram Road, Sikeston. This event offers wonderful Louisiana crawfish and live music in a friendly atmosphere. Activities for the whole family are also scheduled. 573-931-0099.
sikeston.net

Gatsby Days May 10-13 in Excelsior Springs. Break out the beads, fringe, and zoot suits for this homage to the roaring ’20s. Events include a fashion stroll, antique car parade, a Gin & Jazz party, vaudeville performances, and more. 816-630-6161.
exspgschamber.com

Discovery Day May 19 at Lewis and Clark State Park, 801 Lake Crest Blvd., Rushville. Explore and learn about the wildlife and wildflowers that inhabit Gosling Lake Trail and Lewis and Clark Lake. Guests can also learn about the Corps of Discovery expedition and even look at a model keelboat. 816-579-5564.
mostateparks.com

Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band May 19 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of his album Son of a Son of a Sailor, the iconic singer will take the stage and entertain with his timeless hits. He will also stop in Des Moines on May 22. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

Poison May 25 at the Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. The world-famous rock band will take the stage as part of their “Nothin’ But A Good Time 2018” tour with special guest Cheap Trick. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

Festa Italiana June 1-3 at Zona Rosa, 8640 N. Dixson Ave., Kansas City. With great Italian food, a beer garden, an Italian car show, and much more, this annual event celebrating Italian and Italian-American culture is sure to entertain the whole family. 816-587-8180.
zonarosa.com

Renditions Polish Pottery Festival June 9 in Weston. This celebration of Polish culture includes live music, dancing, traditional food, and displays of unique pottery and art. 816-640-2909.
westonmo.com

Kesha & Macklemore June 26 at the Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. “The Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore” tour will bring the two superstars together as they put on a spectacular show. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com


Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

2017 September/October Explore!

September 1, 2017 by
Photography by contributed

State of Nebraska

Apple Jack Festival in Nebraska City Sept. 15-17.

Apple Jack Festival Sept. 15-17, various locations, Nebraska City. Drawing 60,000-80,000 people to Nebraska City every year, this festival celebrates the beginning of apple harvest. Named one of the Top 10 Fall Harvest Festivals in the United States by USA Today, everything is entirely apple-themed. Apple pie, apple cider, candy apples, caramel apples, apple fritters, and more goodies will be available. 402-873-8757.
gonebraskacity.com/festival/apple-jack-festival

Harvest Festival Sept. 16-17, Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail, Gering. Now in its 21st year, this event attracts thousands of travelers from throughout Nebraska and neighboring states. There will be a pick-your-own potato patch, demonstrations of antique farm equipment, a corn maze, and more. 308-436-1989.
legacyoftheplains.org

Annual Ogallala Indian Summer Rendezvous Sept. 21-23, Rendezvous Square, 112 E 2nd St., Ogallala. The 33rd annual event features a chili cook-off, car and bike show, 5K and one-mile run/walk, music, and entertainment. 308-284-4066.
ogallalaindiansummerrendezvous.com

Lincoln Symphony Orchestra presents Joshua Bell & Bruch Sept. 26, Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. Performing composer Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell will join the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra for their season-opening performance. 402-476-2211.
—lincolnsymphony.org

Luke Bryan Sept. 28, Bob Benes Farm, 701 S.W. 63rd St., Lincoln. Billboard’s top country artist in 2016 is bringing his “Farm Tour” to Lancaster County resident Bob Benes’ farm. With special guest Jon Pardi, the show is the first of the ninth year of the tour that brings country music to rural farm fields. No phone number available.
lukebryan.com/farm-tour

Lincoln Calling Sept. 28-30, various locations, Lincoln. The annual non-profit music festival put on by Hear Nebraska will feature emerging artists as well as some better-known ones, such as headliner Charli XCX. No phone number available.
lincolncalling.com

B-52s at Lied Center for Performing Arts Sept. 30

B-52s Sept. 30, Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. Known for their hit singles “Love Shack,” and “Rock Lobster,” the B-52s have sold over 20 million albums, bringing a party with them to every city they visit. 402-472-4747.
liedcenter.org

Prairie Loft Harvestfest Oct. 1, Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor & Agricultural Learning, 4705 DLD Road, Hastings. This free annual event celebrates the harvest season in Nebraska, offering kids’ activities and music, a tractor display, hayrack rides, farm animals, food vendors, and more. 402-463-0565.
prairieloft.org

Trevor Noah Oct. 6, Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. The host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show will perform an evening of stand-up. He was the first South African stand-up comedian to appear on The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. 402-472-4747.
liedcenter.org

Great Pumpkin Festival in Crete Oct. 6-8

Great Pumpkin Festival Oct. 6-8, along Main Street in Crete. Downtown Crete will be packed full of autumn fun. Highlights include hayrack rides, carnival games, food, and the Great Pumpkin Giveaway. 402-826-2136.
cretepumpkinfest.com

Prairie Lights Film Festival Oct. 20-22, The Grand Theatre, 316 W. Third St., Grand Island. This three-day film festival promotes and showcases Nebraskan-made films and encourages networking and public support. This year includes the world premieres of the documentary Prairie Pints and short film The Bagman Died First. 308-381-2667.
prairielightsfilmfest.com

Motown the Musical Oct. 21-22, Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. This show follows the American Dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy, who assisted in launching the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and others. Motown the Musical features hit songs such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” 402-472-4747.
liedcenter.org

Boo on the Farm Oct. 22, Wessel Living History Farm, 5520 S. Lincoln Ave., York. This Halloween event is for children in preschool through fifth grade. Games, treats, wagon rides, and Starbucks coffee will be available all day long. Each child will receive a pumpkin to take home. 402-710-0682.
livinghistoryfarm.org

Boo at the Zoo Oct. 26-30, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, 1222 S. 27th St., Lincoln. With over 40 trick-or-treat booths, Boo at the Zoo is Lincoln’s largest Halloween event. All of the money raised directly supports the animals, and children can see their favorite critters while snacking on candy. 402-475-6741.
lincolnzoo.org/events

The Good Life Halfsy Oct. 29, throughout Lincoln. This half marathon goes through several area green spaces. Runners also pass stadiums and iconic buildings before finishing downtown. 402-937-8515.
goodlifehalfsy.com

Punkin’ Chunkin’ Oct. 29, along Highway 32 one mile east of Petersburg. Competitors enter their machines to shoot, launch, throw, or fly pumpkins weighing 6 to 12 pounds. Pumpkins will be flung across fields all day long, and the event is held in conjunction with the World Championship Punkin’ Chunkin’ Association. 402-386-5551.
ci.petersburg.ne.us

Iowa

Iowastock 2017 Music and Art Fair Sept. 1-4, Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater, 3357 St. Charles Road, St. Charles. This new festival to central Iowa has a major goal in mind of highlighting the state’s homegrown talent. Along with music, the four-day event will feature food vendors, arts and crafts, and after-parties. 515-770-1218.
iowastock.com

Harvest Wagon Rides at Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa, throughout September and October.

Harvest Wagon Rides Sept. 9, 16, and 23, and Oct. 14, Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale. This evening of horse and wagon rides through fields and country roads also includes light refreshments and other autumn fun. 515-278-5286.
lhf.org

World Food & Music Festival Sept. 15-17 in downtown Des Moines. This food festival celebrating cuisine from around the world is returning with live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and a fireworks show. 515-286-4949.
worldfoodandmusicfestival.org

ZZ TOP Sept. 17, Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines. The legendary rock band has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. 515-246-2300.
desmoinesperformingarts.org

Oktoberfest in downtown Des Moines Sept. 22-23

Oktoberfest Sept. 22-23, downtown Des Moines from Mulberry Street to Grand Avenue. Featuring polka bands, authentic German food, a rooftop bier garden, beer villages, dance lessons, and a stein holding competition, the 14th annual Oktoberfest is held in the heart of the Historic Court District. 515-286-4950.
oktoberfestdsm.com

Halloween Hike Oct. 23, Annett Nature Center, 15565 118th Ave., Indianola. Trek down a trail lit by jack-o’-lanterns and meet several costumed characters along the way. Crafts and snacks will follow the adventure through the woods. 515-961-6169.
warrenccb.org

Family Halloween Oct. 26-29, Living History Farms, 1121 Hickman Road, Urbandale. This non-scary family event includes horse-drawn wagon rides, storytellers, pumpkin bowling, trick-or-treating, and jack-o’-lanterns. 515-278-5286.
lhf.org

Steve Martin and Martin Short Oct. 27, Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines. An evening of stand-up, film clips, musical numbers, and conversations of their lives in show business. The comedians will be joined by the Grammy-winning Steep Canyon Rangers, a bluegrass band with whom Martin performs. 515-246-2300.
desmoinesperformingarts.org

American Alpaca Showcase Oct. 28-29, Iowa State Fairgrounds, 3000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines. This livestock competition will feature animals from both the American Alpaca Showcase and the Illinois Alpaca Show. The event is free and will feature alpacas from farms from all over the county. 603-610-6010.
americanalpacashowcase.com

Kansas

Spooktacular Weekend Oct. 20-22 throughout Atchison. Visit the most haunted town in Kansas during the spookiest time of the year. Events include tours by the Haunted Trolley, and of the Sallie House, which has been featured on paranormal shows such as The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and BuzzFeed Unsolved. 800-234-1854.
visitatchison.com/explore-experience/haunted-atchison

Edgar Allen Poe History Mystery Walking Tour Oct. 29 at Atchison Theatre, 401 Santa Fe St., Atchison. Beginning with a tour of the old railroad town, the eerie evening returns to Theatre Atchison to enjoy an evening of mystery as the theater’s Encore Players recreate the drama of Edgar Allen Poe from the golden age of radio. 1-800-234-1854.
visitatchison.com

Missouri

Joestock Music Festival Sept. 1-3, Felix Street Square, 2601 Frederick Ave., St. Joseph. This free music festival is for all ages. Produced in conjunction with the Missouri Music Hall of Fame, the festival is a celebration of local art and music. 816-676-1112.
stjosephmusicfoundation.org

Independence Uncorked Wine Festival Sept. 9, 313 W. Pacific Ave., Independence. Featuring 25 local wineries, the largest Missouri wine festival includes art, music, and food booths. Proceeds from the event go towards national and local charities, and the event is held on the grounds of the historic Bingham-Waggoner Estate and 1852 mansion. 816-820-2112.
independenceuncorked.com

Midwest Tea Festival in Kansas City Sept. 9-10.

Midwest Tea Festival Sept. 9-10, Ararat Shrine Temple, 5100 Ararat Drive, Kansas City. An event completely dedicated to tea, the Midwest Tea Festival focuses on tea preparation, tea culture, history and tons of tea tastings. A tea market featuring vendors from across the Midwest and country will run the entire length of the festival. 816-923-1995.
midwestteafest.com

Gorillaz Sept. 22, The Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Fresh off of the release of the band’s latest album, Humanz, Gorillaz is better known as their virtual selves. The group is known as the most successful virtual band of all time, after selling over 7 million copies of their 2001 self-titled debut album Gorillaz. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

The xx—”I See You Tour” Oct. 3, Star Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City. The British indie-pop band expanded their 2017 North American tour following the release of their third studio album, I See You. 816-363-7827.
kcstarlight.com

Pony Express Pumpkinfest Oct. 13-15, Pony Express Museum, 914 Penn St., St. Joseph. The lighting of the Great Pumpkin Mountain—where hundreds of carved, electrically lit pumpkins come to life at the flip of the switch—opens the Pony Express Pumpkinfest. Following the lighting ceremony, a festival featuring a children’s costume parade, festival rides, food, and crafts takes place. 816-279-5059.
ponyexpress.org/pumpkinfest-201

Witnessing the Great Eclipse

August 23, 2017 by

The 2017 Great American Eclipse will take place on August 21, turning day into night. The cosmic coincidence occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, creating a perfect alignment of Earth, moon, and star. Although the sun is about 400 times larger than the moon, the moon is about 400 times closer to the Earth than the sun. Thus, the two appear about the same size in the sky, with the moon covering the entire sun (except its atmosphere, the corona).

The path of totality—when the moon completely covers the sun—will pass over parts of Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. It is on this path that viewers can enjoy a total eclipse, with a maximum duration lasting around two minutes. Areas in western Nebraska can expect the eclipse to take place around 11:49 a.m. MST, and areas in eastern Nebraska, northern Missouri, and Kansas will experience the eclipse around 1 p.m. CST.

Hotel rooms in cities that lie along the path of totality are selling out, and have been for the last two months, if not longer.

“I have had people calling for the last two months stating that all the motels were full [and asking if there are] any other options for places to stay,” says Kim Pederson, volunteer and program coordinator for the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce (speaking with Omaha Magazine four months before the eclipse).

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when planning your eclipse trip.

  • Make a weekend of it
    The eclipse will take place on a Monday, but many activities in locations along the path of totality will take place the weekend leading up to the eclipse. Attend an event, plan a barbecue, or gather family and friends to watch it with you.
  • Stay flexible on eclipse day
    Unless you are 100 percent certain that the weather on eclipse day will be clear, don’t plan anything that would be hard to undo in case of clouds. Be sure that you are able to drive to a location with little cloud coverage; use the restroom before totality; and be respectful to those around you who are trying to watch the eclipse—no playing of music or talking.
  • Get a filter in advance
    Cardboard glasses with lenses of optical Mylar are inexpensive and allow you to look directly at the sun. Except during totality, it is not safe to watch the eclipse because of the sun’s intensity. The cardboard glasses filter out most of the light, and all of the dangerous infrared and ultraviolet radiation.
  • Don’t photograph the eclipse
    Why consider looking down at your camera for the short two minutes that the eclipse will last, when you can take in the eclipse with your own two eyes? You will lose valuable time fiddling with the camera, and no photo will capture what you see. Especially since this event will not happen again until 2024, you don’t want to miss a second of it.

When the rare phenomenon is all done, what’s to eat?
Here are a few eateries suggested by the tourism departments of NebraskaKansas, and Missouri

Nebraska

Beatrice

The Black Crow, 405 Court St. This fine-dining restaurant offers guests pizzas, Nebraska steaks, pastas, and an extensive wine list. 402-228-7200.
—blackcrowrestaurant.com/index.html

4 ONE 8, 418 Court St. It may be hard to decide what to eat at this bar and grill, as the menu features salads, entrees, and sandwiches, including an extensive list of burger options. Mac-and-cheese burger, anyone? 402-230-3400.
facebook.com/418barandgrill

Grand Island

The Chocolate Bar, 116 W. Third St. This eatery in the heart of downtown Grand Island has cocktails, a bakery with many chocolate desserts, lunches, and dinners. Vegan and gluten free options are available for an extra charge. 308-675-0664.
—thechocolatebargi.com

Sin City Grill, 410 W. Third St. Beginning with two boys, a burger, and a bet, the Sin City Grill specializes in fresh burgers, hand-cut fries, and décor straight out of Las Vegas. 308-398-2237.
—sincitygrillgi.wordpress.com

Hastings

Back Alley Bakery, 609 W. Second St. Back Alley Bakery offers a daily lunch menu, a case full of pastries, freshly baked bread each morning, and an artisan pizza night on Thursdays. 402-460-5056.
—backalleybakery.com

Odyssey, 521 W. Second St. Offering innovative cuisine that includes udon bowls, bruschetta boards, and garden salads, the Odyssey is open for lunch and dinner. 402-834-3811.
—odysseydowntown.com

Kearney

Cunningham’s Journal, 15 W. 23rd St. This pub and grill offers sandwiches and other pub fare with live entertainment in the evenings. It also is home to a large outdoor area. 308-236-9737.
cunninghamsjournal.net

The Flippin Sweet Pizzeria, 203 E. 25th St. This restaurant boasts pizzas named after movies or movie quotes. The owners’ other restaurant, The Flippin Sweet Burger Joint, is at 3905 Second Ave. The Flippin Sweet Pizzeria was named one of the best pizzerias in the Midwest in 2015 by Zagat’s. 308-455-3083.
—theflippinsweet.squarespace.com

North Platte

Canteen Bar & Grille, 2102 S. Jeffers St. Nothing at Canteen is frozen, and everything is made to order. Lunch items range from chicken-fried chicken to a Mediterranean tuna salad wrap. Guests can also enjoy steaks and chops at dinner, and wine-lovers can select from their large wine list. 308-535-6168.
canteengrille.com

Another Round, 1008 W. 18th St. This sports bar and grill, located on a golf course, offers a selection of sandwiches, burgers, steaks. 308-534-2080.
anotherroundbarandgrill.com

Paxton (technically just outside the eclipse’s path)

Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse & Lounge, 123 N. Oak St. Rocky Mountain Oysters and Buffalo Burgers are two of the unique items on the menu of this restaurant, which features more than 200 big game trophies on the walls. With a history as interesting as the taxidermied animals, this spot is perfect to grab a burger and talk to the locals. 308-239-4500.
—olesbiggame.com

Alliance

Mi Ranchito Restaurant, 930 Flack Ave. Classic dishes like enchiladas share the menu with signature items like the Navajo Taco. The recipes have been handed down from generation to generation. 308-629-1500.
—facebook.com/miranchitoalliance

Ken & Dale’s Restaurant, 123 E. 3rd St. This restaurant has served steak, chicken, seafood, and sandwiches for 30 years. 308-762-7252.
—kendalesrestaurant.com

Scottsbluff/Gering

The Steel Grill, 2800 10th St., Gering. This family-friendly steakhouse features steak nachos piled onto 12-inch pizza pans. The establishment also offers lunch, dinner, and a selection of beers. 308-622-1020.
—facebook.com/pages/the-steel-grill/149237835129540

Emporium Coffeehouse and Cafe, 401 S. Beltline Highway West, Scottsbluff. This restaurant emphasizes Mediterranean food, including (favorites) real pomme frites or veal and gnocci alla Romano. Chefs prepare fresh, delicious, meals ranging from Greek gyros to Mediterranean salads to tender steaks and fish. 308-633-2882.
—emporiumrestaurant.com

Kansas

Hiawatha

The Country Cabin, 2534 Kestrel Road. Each day features a different chef special, such as garlic peppercorn-crusted beef tenderloin medallions or seafood-stuffed catfish. The rotating menu can be found on their website. 785-742-4320.
—thecountrycabins.com

Gus’ Restaurant, 606 Oregon St. Guests to Gus’ Restaurant can expect smoked brisket, steak dinners, and fresh fish feeds. Be sure to check the daily special on the restaurant’s Facebook page. 785-742-4533.
—facebook.com/gus-restaurant-515304345193616

Atchison

Chuck & Hank’s River Shack, 102 E. Atchison St.This restaurant offers a view of the Missouri River, and serves ribs, sandwiches, and wings in the heart of Atchison. 913-367-4837.
—facebook.com/chuckandhanks

Willie’s Sports Pub, 701 Commercial St. Local beers are available in addition to burgers, sandwiches, wings, and entrees. 913-367-2900.
—facebook.com/willies.atchison

Kansas City, Kansas

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, 3002 W. 47th Ave. Featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and named by Anthony Bourdain on his “list of restaurants to eat at before you die,” this restaurant was born in a gas station, but has expanded to multiple locations across the Kansas City metro. The original, established in 1996 still serves amazing barbecue. 913-722-3366.
joeskc.com

Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri

Boulevard Brewing Co., 2534 Madison Ave. Offering fine beers that can now be found throughout the nation, this brewery was established in 1989. In addition to brews, guests can nosh on a chicken andouille pretzel dog or cheese board while choosing from one of their 24 beers on tap in the 10,000 square foot beer hall. 816-701-7247.
boulevard.com/visit-us

St. Joseph

Boudreaux’s Louisiana Seafood & Steak, 224 N. 4th St. The restaurant serves authentic New Orleans cuisine. Although Boudreaux dishes out more than seafood, its specialties include oysters, shrimp, and fried crawfish. 816-387-9911.
—boudreauxstjoe.com

Il Lazzarone, 1628 Frederick Ave. Upholding the traditional methods of pizza-making, this family-owned pizzeria specializes in Neapolitan pizza. The restaurant also has a Kansas City location. 816-273-0582.
illazzarone.org

Columbia

Murry’s, 3107 Green Meadows Way. Since 1985, Murry’s has brought good food and jazz to Columbia. The restaurant offers oft-unseen items like oyster grinders and chicken poblano to be enjoyed alongside live music. The expansive menu includes appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, and a wide selection of sweets. 573-442-4969.
murrysrestaurant.net

Shakespeare’s Pizza, 3911 Peachtree Dr. This bard of pizzerias includes an extensive list of pies, and a dedication to the craft that is so thorough they slice their own pepperoni to achieve the perfect level of thickness. 573-447-7435.
—shakespeares.com

Jefferson City

Prison Brews, 305 Ash St. Located two blocks from the former Missouri State Penitentiary, this microbrewery and restaurant offers quirky dishes like the Prison Reuben and vegetarian-friendly options like a grilled portabella sandwich. Guest can try their hand at bocce on one of the playing courts or relax on the large outdoor patio. 573-635-0678.
prisonbrews.com

Arriś Bistro, 409 W. Miller St. Spanakopita and souvlaki are two of the many southern-European items on this bistro’s extensive lunch and dinner menu. They also feature a “liquid lounge” that offers a wide variety of beers and wine. 573-634-8400.
facebook.com/arrisbistro

Whether dining fine or casual on this day, the solar eclipse will be a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be celebrated.

Find more information about the eclipse at: greatamericaneclipse.com

This article appears in the July/August 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

July/August 2017 Explore

Nebraska

The Good Living Tour July and August, various locations. The third-annual ambitious concert series, produced by Hear Nebraska, connects Nebraska talent to Nebraska towns, encouraging the growth of the state’s music industry. Concerts will be held in: Imperial (July 1), Red Cloud (July 15), McCook (July 29), Norfolk (Aug.4), Lyons (Aug. 18), and Hastings (Aug. 19).
hearnebraska.org

Slide the City July 1, at Benjamin Avenue and 25th Street, Norfolk. 1,000 feet (three football fields) of vinyl will create a family friendly slip-and-slide water party. 402-844-2000.
slidethecity.com

Fourth of July Celebration July 4 in downtown Seward. Recognized as “America’s Small Town Fourth of July City,” Seward has hosted an old-fashioned family celebration since 1868. The event attracts nearly 40,000 people and features a car show, grand parade, extravagant fireworks display, and live entertainment. 402-643-4189.
julyfourthseward.com

Summer Arts and Music Festival July 4 in downtown Fairbury. This summer festival includes a showcase of pottery, a blues party, and a wine and beer tasting room. 402-613-2064.
fairbury.com

John C. Fremont Days July 14-16 in downtown Fremont. Boasting new and old attractions, the 20th annual John C. Fremont Days will feature a Spam-cooking contest, live entertainment, a car and bike show, and more. 402-727-9428.
johncfremontdays.org

Nebraska Book Festival July 14-15 at Constellation Studios, 2055 O St., Lincoln. Providing an opportunity for participants to cultivate an understanding of literary history and culture in Nebraska, the festival celebrates Nebraska’s literary heritage and contemporary authors to stimulate public interest in books, reading, and writing. 402-472-7710.
bookfestival.nebraska.gov

Cornhusker State Games July 21-30, various locations in Lincoln and Omaha. Since 1985, the Cornhusker State Games has given people the chance to play. Competitions range from track and field, to chess, to mall-walking. 402-471-2544.
cornhuskerstategames.com

Cowboy Night July 21 at Stuhr Museum, 3133 W. U.S. Highway 34, Grand Island. An evening of cowboy activities returns. The event includes branding, roping games, a horse breaking demo, live music, and s’mores at the picturesque Rural Farmstead. 308-385-5316.
visitgrandisland.com

Gretna Days July 27-30 in downtown Gretna. This tradition began over 50 years ago to thank the community through a picnic. Gretna Days now include a carnival, golf tournament, teen dance, craft show, fireworks show, and more. 402-378-6284.
gretnadays.com

Czech Days Aug. 4-6 in downtown Wilbur. People of all backgrounds will come to celebrate Czechoslovakian culture. Festivities range from traditional dancing to a duck and dumpling run. 402-821-2732.
nebraskaczechsofwilber.com

Haymarket in White Aug. 4 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Dr., Lincoln. Guests to the third annual Haymarket in White Dinner & Dance will enjoy gourmet picnic fare and dance the night away. Attendees, who must dress in all white, come together to celebrate Lincoln and the Haymarket community. 402-904-4444.
pinnaclebankarena.com

Bruno Mars Aug. 7 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Dr., Lincoln. The “24k Magic World Tour” is Mars’ first full-length tour since 2013. Mars, currently deemed one of the world’s most influential artists by Rolling Stone, has sold out shows throughout the world and has continued to impress fans of all ages. 402-904-4444.
pinnaclebankarena.com

A Very Berry Kool-Aid Days Bash Aug. 11-13 in Hastings. Kool-Aid Days celebrates the sugary drink invented by Edwin Perkins. Grab a glass of Kool-Aid at the World’s Largest Kool-Aid Stand, learn about Kool-Aid and other inventions of the 1920s, and more. 402-461-8405.
kool-aiddays.com

Capital City Ribfest Aug. 17-19 Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Dr., Lincoln. The 21st annual Ribfest returns with loads of barbecue, sides, and music. 402-904-4444.
pinnaclebankarena.com

Eclipse Painting Night Aug. 18 at Cedar Hills Vineyard & Gardens, 48970 375th Road, Ravenna. A painting night in honor of the total solar eclipse will take place at the Cedar Hills Vineyard. Guests will paint the Howl at the Moon design. Wine and snacks will be available for purchase. 308-452-3181.
visitgrandisland.com

Kendrick Lamar Aug. 18 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Dr., Lincoln. Lamar’s April-released album, Damn, has already gone platinum. Hailed by Rolling Stone as “the most gifted rapper of a generation,” Lamar has earned six Grammys, including one for best album. 402-904-4444.
pinnaclebankarena.com

Solar Eclipse Viewing Aug. 21 at Homestead National Monument, 8523 Nebraska Highway 4, Beatrice. The rare spectacle of the moon passing between the sun and the Earth turns the day into night. A total solar eclipse will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. The park will host NASA programs and telescopes. 402-223-3514.
nps.gov

Brad Paisley Aug. 25 at the Nebraska State Fair—Fonner Park, 501 E. Fonner Park Road, Grand Island. Country singer Paisley will be joined by country artists Dustin Lynch, Chase Bryant, and Lindsay Ell. 308-382-1620.
visitgrandisland.com

Nebraska State Fair Aug. 25-Sept. 4 at Fonner Park, 501 E. Fonner Park Road, Grand Island. The 11-day event offers insights into the unique culture that is Nebraska. The fair includes a competitive livestock exhibition, carnival rides, first-class entertainment, and numerous food stands. 308-382-1620.
statefair.org

Iowa

Independence Day. July 4 at Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale. Learn how Independence Day was celebrated 100 years ago. Participate in pie-eating contests, foot races, spelling bees, watermelon seed spitting contests, and more. The day will also feature a reading of the Declaration of Independence and a Victorian street parade. 515-278-5286.
lhf.org

80/35 Music Festival July 7-8 at Western Gateway Park, 12th and Locust streets, Des Moines.  Headliners for the 10th anniversary of this music festival, named after the two interstates that cross through Des Moines, will include The Shins and MGMT.
2017.80-35.com

Ioway Culture Day July 15 at Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale. The Ioway Nation will come to the Farms to offer visitors an opportunity to experience how they built their homes, prepared food, and farmed. Guest presenters will share their knowledge of Native American culture and technology. 515-278-5286.
lhf.org

An American in ParisJuly 18 at Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines. The 2015 Tony Award-winning musical about an American soldier, a French girl, and a mysterious European city will enchant audiences of all ages. The show earned more awards than any other musical in the 2014-2015 season. 515-246-2300.
desmoinesperformingarts.org

National Balloon Classic July 28-Aug. 5 at Memorial Balloon Field, 15335 Jewell St., Indianola. Nearly 100 hot air balloons will paint the Iowa sky with brilliant colors, as live music plays on the ground beneath them. Events range from balloon races to balloon glows.
nationalballoonclassic.com

Hinterland Music Festival Aug. 4-5  at Saints Amphitheater, 3357 St. Charles Road, St. Charles. Held in a rural escape outside of Des Moines, Hinterland features a blend of music, camping, art, craft vendors, family engagement, and more. Headliners include The Head and the Heart and alt-J. 515-975-7830.
hinterlandiowa.com

Iowa State Fair Aug. 10-20 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, E. 30th Street and E. University Avenue, Des Moines. Attracting more than 1 million people from around the world, Iowa’s salute to the best the state can offer includes exhibits ranging from livestock to doll houses, along with entertainment and achievement. Don’t forget the food! The 2016 fair offered more than 80 options that could be eaten on a stick. The fair is included in the New York Times best-selling travel book 1,000 Places to See Before you Die. 515-262-3111.
iowastatefair.org

Missouri

KC RiverFest July 4 at Berkley Riverfront Park, Kansas City. This Independence Day event for all ages includes 14 food trucks, two stages for musical acts, children’s crafts, and fireworks. 816-559-3750.
kcriverfest.com

OneRepublic July 7 at Sprint Center,1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Since their breakout smash single “Apologize,” OneRepublic has been taking over Billboard charts. Their newest album, Oh My, was released in the fall of 2016 and debuted at No. 3  on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com/events

Footloose The MusicalJuly 7-9 at Missouri Theater, 717 Edmond St., St. Joseph. The Oscar and Tony-nominated musical will dazzle audiences for two nights. The musical follows Ren, a dance-loving kid from Chicago, who moves to a small farming town where dancing isn’t legal. The musical celebrates open minds, dancing, and the wisdom of listening to young people. 816-271-4628.
stjomo.com

Queen + Adam Lambert July 9 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Since their first meeting on American Idol in 2009, Queen and Adam Lambert have created a successful combination. The concert will feature Queen favorites, including “Bohemian Rhapsody.” 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

National Teddy Bear Picnic Day July 10 at Kansas City Museum, 3218 Gladstone Blvd., Kansas City. This will be the city’s first celebration of National Teddy Bear Picnic Day. Families are invited to come to the front lawn of the museum with their own picnics, blankets, and teddy bears. 816-513-0720.
kcparks.org

Murder in Maui, a Mystery Dinner July 22 at Robidoux Landing Playhouse, 103 Francis St., St. Joseph. Guests will work through clues to find out who is the murderer in the room. Two actors will be at the dinner to lead guests through a night of mystery and suspense. 816-901-9100.
stjomo.com

Food Truck Brunch July 23 and Aug. 20 at the Roasterie, 1204 W. 27th St., Kansas City. The monthly Food Truck Brunch is a family-friendly event that encompasses an assortment of local food trucks, live music, and games. 816-931-4000.
theroasterie.com

Green Day Aug. 11 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Green Day’s legacy continues with their Revolution Radio tour. Their show will feature a mix of classic Green Day songs and their recent hits, including “Still Breathing.” 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

Kinky Boots Aug. 18-20 at Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City. Featuring songs by Grammy-winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, the musical, based on the movie of the same name, celebrates the friendships that can be discovered and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind. 816-363-7827.
kcstarlight.com

Trails West Festival Aug. 18-21 in Civic Center Park, St. Joseph. Labeled a “total eclipse of the arts,” Trails West delivers a weekend of music, entertainment, and visual arts. 816-233-8467.
stjomo.com

Rockin’ on the River Aug. 26 at Remington Nature Center, 1502 McArthur Dr., St. Joseph. A night of food, drinks, and fireworks will take place on the Missouri riverfront. Guests will also hear music from Casey Brett and Blue Oyster Culture Club. 816-271-5499.
stjomo.com

Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey Aug. 27 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Music icon Lionel Richie had to postpone his spring “All The Hits Tour” due to an injury. He is now back on the road, bringing with him Grammy Award-winning artist Mariah Carey. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

Kansas

Heartland Art Guild International Miniature Paintings and Sculptures Art Show July 3-Aug. 4 at Miami County Historical Museum, 12 E. Peoria St., Paola. The 13th annual art show will feature more than 78 artists from around the world and more than 250 works of art. The catch is that paintings and sculptures can be no larger than 5” x 5” making this free art show very unique. 913-294-4940.
artkc.com

Junk ‘N Donuts Swap Meet July 8 & Aug. 12 at Louisburg Cider Mill, 14730 KS-68, Louisburg. 50-plus vendors will head to the mill to sell everything from antiques to new crafts, from food to gifts. Live music will be provided, as well as a country store featuring its famous apple cider donuts. 913-837-5202.
louisburgcidermill.com

Big & Rich July 14 at Warnock Lake, 17862 274th Road, Atchison. This country-western duo is the headliner for this concert, which is part of the Amelia Earhart Festival. Also performing are Cam and Erik Dylan. 800-234-1854.
visitatchison.com/event/lakefest

Amelia Earhart Festival July 13-15 in Atchison. This annual event celebrate Atchison’s most famous aviatrix. The festival includes “Grandfather Earhart’s” ice cream social, a carnival, “Breakfast with the Books” by authors about Amelia, a crafts fair, and flyovers; and it finishes with the “Concert in the Sky” fireworks show. 1-800-234-1854.
visitatchison.com

Tiblow Days Aug. 17-19 in downtown Bonner Springs. The three-day festival features the “Smokin’ On Oak” barbecue competition, a carnival, mayor’s banquet, craft and food booths, live music, parades, car shows, and more. 913-422-1020.
bsedwchamber.org

Blacksmith and Pioneer Days Aug. 19-20 at Transue Brothers Blacksmith and Wagon Shop, 309 Main St., Summerfield. The two-day event features blacksmithing, Dutch oven cooking, butter making, and other traditional activities. Guests can expect old-fashioned ice cream, wood carving, skull painting, and marble blowing. 402-520-0644.
transueblacksmith.org


This calendar is published as shown in the print edition

We welcome you to submit events to our print calendar. Please email event details and a 300 ppi photograph three months in advance to: editintern@omahamagazine.com


Event times and details may change

Memorial Day Tribute

May 8, 2017 by

Memorial Day is a federal holiday—a day of remembrance for those who have died while serving in our country’s armed forces.

The May/June issue of Omaha Magazine features the stories of several Nebraska veterans and their war experiences. My husband, Raymond Lemke, was drafted to serve in the Korean War. He was somewhat reluctant to talk about his experiences, but he wrote about his service in a memoir. I’ll share some of those experiences here.

His basic training was in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, which had been closed since World War II. When he first got there, it wasn’t even completely open. Today, it remains open and is known by the nickname “Fort Lost In The Woods.”

He trained in engineering—which consisted mainly of building Bailey bridges—and also trained with dynamite, TNT, and other explosives to blow up bridges. After training, he was sent straight to Korea. He was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division’s M114 155 Howitzers, which had nothing to do with his basic training.

He said that Korea was very difficult for him, and he felt that it was a controlled war. He said they would take a hill, back off, then take it again the next day. The loss of life was tremendous.

The winter weather in North Korea was nearly identical to the winter in Nebraska. Growing up dirt poor in rural Nebraska provided the right experience for dealing with Korean winters. By layering newspapers inside his clothes, he was able to stay warmer while so many U.S. troops froze to death.

On top of the constant cold, he was always hungry. He fondly remembered taking a big jar of peanut butter from a resupply group.

After 11 months in the service, he became a staff sergeant. He believed the promotion was because he was still standing.

The American and North Korean forces would shell each other continuously until one knocked the other out. They never thought about ear protection, and the battery fire took its toll. Despite suffering tinnitus since the war, he didn’t complain. “I’m the lucky one—I am still here,” he said. He was discharged on Nov. 6, 1953.

Later, living in Papillion, he was on the Papillion Draft Board. As a protest against the escalation of the Vietnam War, he resigned from the board, refusing to send more boys there.

I am proud of my husband’s service, and I have deep respect for all who have served and sacrificed for our great country—they are truly heroes!

Raymond Lemke

This article appears in the May/June 2017 edition Sixty-Plus, a publication within Omaha Magazine.

Mayhew Cabin

August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

To speak in archetypal clichés—without knowing where you came from, it can be difficult to understand where you are going. Nestled just south of Omaha in Nebraska City lies a piece of history that offers a window into the American love affair with slavery, and the fight for its abolition.

Built in 1855, Mayhew Cabin was once a stop on the famous Underground Railroad. Back then the cabin may have been inconspicuous, but as you drive through what is now Nebraska City, the small cottage sticks out like a sore thumb.

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Cathy Briley is the vice president of the board of directors for Mayhew Cabin. She says the relationship between slavery, racism, and present day prejudice makes Mayhew Cabin a valuable teaching tool in educating children about this segment of American history.

“Racism in all forms is wrong,” Briley says. “Slavery was abolished, so why does our museum matter? It matters because unfortunately, people of several colors still face racism today.”

MayhewCabin2Walking around the different displays and artifacts in the Mayhew welcome center, Bill Hayes could go on for hours explaining every detail regarding the rich history of the abolitionist movement. He has a master’s degree in history, and volunteering at the museum is a hobby. 

“The site (Mayhew Cabin) was privately owned from the late 1930s until 2002,” Hayes says. “What we want to do is try to focus on the history of slavery, and how you have the movement of people being opposed to it.”

Hayes says the geographical placement of Mayhew Cabin makes it a critical stop on the
Underground Railroad.

“Nebraska City was an important stopping point because across the river is Iowa, and any more south you would cross back into Missouri (a pro-slavery state).”

Walking into the cabin, the air seems inundated with mixed feelings of hope, fear, and freedom—emitted by those who sought safe harbor there. The furnishings are basic: two rocking chairs, a trunk, and a small bed in the loft upstairs. In the cellar below there is a shocking surprise. A tunnel, now accessible to the public, once led escaped slaves from the ravine 40 yards away right into the cellar itself.

Briley says the museum focuses less on the horrors of slavery, and more on the stories of those who risked their lives to aid in the freedom of slaves.

MayhewCabin4“John Kagi, our hero at the museum, sacrificed his life fighting for the freedom of others,” Briley says. “He gave so much. He was jailed, beaten, shot, hunted, and eventually killed for his involvement in the abolitionist cause.”

According to Hayes, Mayhew Cabin represents an ongoing legacy that needs to be part of American culture.

“We talk about equality, freedom, and justice,” Hayes says. “Those may not be very many letters, but those are big words. They’re big ideas, and that’s what this country has always thought of itself representing.”

Visit mayhewcabin.org for more information. Omaha Magazine

MayhewCabin1

Living Green

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When Les and Ce Ann Zanotti built a house in Glen Oaks Estates (south of 99th Street and West Center Road) in 1972, the couple—from Iowa and Missouri, respectively—had only lived in Nebraska for a few years, and they were not really sure how long they would stay in the community. They both say, emphatically, that they never envisioned themselves still living in the same house four and a half decades later.

Zanottis2“I don’t think we thought that far ahead,” Ce Ann says.

“I was just starting a new business, so I didn’t know if I was going to be in business two years from then or not,” Les explains.

The new business venture, Management Recruiters, thrived all the way to Les’ retirement. So as the Zanottis prospered through the years and put down deeper roots in Omaha, they modified and added on to the original house and landscaping.

“We really kind of underbuilt, to be honest,” Les says. “Our house is just an ordinary house; it’s not something that’s a showpiece. But our backyard is spectacular.”

The lot was a draw from the very beginning, Ce Ann agrees, recalling that the greenery was so abundant even before construction started that, during a site visit, she lost sight of a handbag she momentarily placed on the ground. And the Zanottis were thrilled to get the lot “for a steal” from its previous holder, a prominent local business owner in the midst of a divorce and eager to liquidate.

Zanottis6

Les may describe his house as “ordinary,” but the 3,400-square-foot, two-story, French Country-style residence boasts lovely features, such as a mansard roof and leaded glass front windows. Neighborhood covenants required that the house be set back 75 feet from the street, leaving plenty of room for now-mature trees and plants in the front. The sloping, 1.3-acre wooded property proved perfect for tiered landscaping in the backyard, the site for a breathtaking flower garden that’s matured beautifully over the last 10 years and become the envy of neighbors and visitors.

Zanottis3

“It’s been at its best for the last three or four years, but it took a long time,” Ce Ann says.

The large lot was also conducive to the house itself, evolving through a series of remodels that included a 1984 add-on, which doubled the size of the family room and created another eating area, and a 1990 project that converted a bathroom and bedroom into a larger bathroom and closet. A swimming pool came and went (their now-adult daughter loved it, but pools don’t mix well with squirrels and walnut trees or blackbirds and mulberry trees, Les says) and the original, one-car garage was expanded to a three-car garage at some point.

The pinnacle, however, was the unique 2002 addition.

“That was our last and final addition. That probably is the best room in the house,” Les says.

Ce Ann adds: “It’s octagonal-shaped, there are windows on every side of the octagon (except the entrance), and a spiral staircase going down to the wine cellar. It’s kind of unusual.”

The Zanottis admit that they looked into building again in other neighborhoods—in the past. Every time they looked, they never found anything quite like what they already own.

“What kept us here was the lot,” Les says, and his wife agrees. “We like our trees, we like our lot, and we like our central location.” OmahaHome

Zanottis5 Zanottis4

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Omaha Magazine Wins 2015 Great Plains Journalism Award

April 14, 2015 by

Photo above: Director of Photography Bill Sitzmann, Creative Director John Gawley, Managing Editor Robert Nelson, and Senior Graphic Designer Kristen Hoffman with our award-winning cover at the 2015 Great Plains Journalism Awards ceremony in Tulsa, Okla.

Omaha Magazine won best magazine cover at the prestigious 2015 Great Plains Journalism Awards, one of five categories in which the magazine was named among three finalists.

The Great Plains Journalism Awards annually recognize the best newspaper and magazine journalism in an eight-state region comprising of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The awards were presented during a luncheon April 13 at The Mayo Hotel in Tulsa, Okla.

Omaha Magazine won the top award in the Magazine Cover category for the January/February 2014 Best of Omaha issue, executed by Creative Director John Gawley, then-Junior Graphic Designer Paul Lukes, and Ben Lueders of Fruitful Design.

We received two of the three finalist slots in the Magazine Cover category. Gawley and Director of Photography Bill Sitzmann were nominated for our November/December 2014 cover featuring local radio legend Otis XII in a story written by Managing Editor Robert Nelson.

Nelson himself was a finalist in the Magazine Profile Writing category for his July/August 2014 cover story on then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and again in the Magazine Column Writing category for his September/October 2014 “The Closer” column, titled “Slogan Explosion.”

Sitzmann was recognized for his portrait of Jeff Toma accompanying the story “The Handyman Diaries” in the January/February 2014 issue of Omaha Home. That story was written by Executive Editor David Williams.

Mike Lang and Corey Hart of Spectral Chemist were recognized for their video supporting our September/October 2014 story “Cricket: The Grandfather of Baseball is Making a Comeback in Omaha,” written by Robyn Murray.

“I am proud of our talented staff and we are honored to tell the stories of the people of Omaha,” Omaha Magazine Publisher Todd Lemke says. “It’s great to be recognized by our peers as being right up there with the best of the best in an eight-state regional competition where Omaha Magazine was the only Nebraska magazine recognized as a finalist—let alone a winner. We also congratulate the Omaha World-Herald for their strong showing at the awards.”

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Sauce Sensations

February 6, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

I should start out by disclaiming that, despite my Kansas City roots, I haven’t always been barbecue’s biggest fan. I grew up an extremely picky eater, despite being ribbed by my various family members, so it wasn’t until fairly recently that I really started to develop a taste for KC’s different flavors. After a particularly scarring childhood experience at Arthur Bryant’s, in which there was chewed food on my fork and I refused to touch my meal (which my uncle still makes fun of me for to this day, by the way), I swore off barbecue for life—despite it being the meal of choice at every, and I do mean every, family reunion.

If I’d grown up in a place with less tasty barbecue, I maybe never would’ve developed a liking for it. But being surrounded by the country’s best barbecue joints, I consider myself lucky enough to guide my non-local friends on their paths to discovering the food my city is most loved and well-known for. I’ve come to associate even the perpetual smell of barbecue in the city air with the most poignant sense of nostalgia, and if you ask any local native, they’ll probably tell you that barbecue is an unspoken part of Kansas City life.

With that introduction, I have a few recommendations. Whether you’re headed down south for a Chiefs game or road-tripping for a night out on the Plaza, here are four of Kansas City’s top barbecue restaurants you don’t want to miss the next time you’re in town.

Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Que
(now Joe’s Kansas City)
Opened: 1996

Top pick: There seems to be an ongoing debate about whether the ribs, pulled pork, or brisket is the Joe’s must-try. No harm in trying all of them.

Opinion: Voted by critics as Kansas City’s best barbecue restaurant this year, the newly christened Joe’s Kansas City has yet to receive a poor Yelp review from BBQ fanatics.

oklahomajoesbbq.com

Gates Bar-B-Q
Opened: 1946

Top pick: A meaty slab of ribs is most commonly ordered in my house, and always with extra helpings of sauce.

Opinion: They’ll give you their famously enthusiastic “Hi, may I help you” shout-out the very moment you cross the threshold—but rare are the times you’ll leave
Gates dissatisfied.

gatesbbq.com

Jack Stack Barbecue
Opened: 1957

Top pick: My personal favorite is the pulled pork sandwich, but the lamb ribs are perhaps more famed.

Opinion: Jack Stack is always my first choice when introducing non-Missouri natives to the realm of KC barbecue. I have yet to hear a complaint.

jackstackbbq.com

Arthur Bryant’s
Opened: 1930

Top pick: Although Arthur Bryant may have been the King of Ribs, the pulled pork sandwich is a prime second best.

Opinion: Even though you may have to root around to locate a clean fork, the full experience of both good barbecue and an environment rife with KC history
remains intact.

arthurbryantsbbq.com

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