Tag Archives: Brownville

2017 May/June Explore

May 1, 2017 by and


Buddy Guy. May 4 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and six-time Grammy Award winner Buddy Guy will showcase his highly acclaimed guitar talent and vocals. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$55. 402-472-4747

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. May 12 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln. Country music’s famous married couple are touring the U.S. together for the first time in a decade on their “Soul2Soul World Tour 2017.” 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $86.50-$217. 402-904-4444

Migratory Bird Day. May 13 at Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska City. Learn about the impressive journey some birds take through migration each year. This event will feature crafts and games. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: $8 adults, $6 children (3-12), free to children 2 and under. 402-873-8717

Motherless Daughters Retreat. May 13 at Red Road Herbs Retreat & Learning Center, Stanton. This retreat is to support and encourage women of all ages who have lost their mothers. Women will share memories through storytelling, photos, poetry, and prose. 1-5 p.m. Registration: $40. 402-640-0744

Free Park Day. May 20 at all Nebraska state parks and recreation areas. Free entry and fishing in all Nebraska state parks, state recreation areas, and state historical parks. Individual parks and recreation areas will hold special events. Regular park hours apply. 402-471-0641

Def Leppard, Poison, and Tesla. May 24 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln. Hard rock fans will enjoy this show, which promotes Def Leppard’s new album, And There Will Be a Next Time. Poison fans will see all four members of the original band reunited for the first time in more than five years. 7 p.m. Tickets: $29-$122. 402-904-4444

Move—Beyond. May 24 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln. Dancing with the Stars performers Julianne and Derek Hough will bring fans on a journey of dance and music, taking inspiration from the four elements—earth, wind, fire, and water—as an exploration of the human relationship with nature. 7 p.m. Tickets: $59-$649. 402-472-4747

60th Annual Spring Flea Market. May 27-28 in Brownville. This village-wide flea market is full of antiques, art, collectibles, plants, food vendors, and community fun. Expect to find lots of treasures, from 19th-century books to 1960s car parts. 402-825-6841

Ogallala Invitational Drover Golf Tournament. June 3-4 at West Wind Fold Course and Bayside Golf Course, Ogallala. The 13th annual Ogallala Invitational Drover Golf Tournament has an entry fee of $125 per person for two days of golf, golf carts, range balls, and two meals. 9 a.m. 308-284-4487

Archie’s Late Night Party. June 8 at The University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln. This all ages event invites families to stay up late at Morrill Hall. Guests will learn about natural history and science through hands-on activities. 6-10 p.m. 402-472-2642

Get Outdoors Day. June 10 at Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska City. In celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, Arbor Day Farm will hold numerous outdoor events including a scavenger hunt, agility activities, and crafts. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: $8 adults, $6 children (3-12), free to children 2 and under. 402-873-8717

The Swedish Festival. June 16-18 in Stromsburg. The annual festival, in the “Swede Capital of Nebraska,” will include Swedish food, costumes, dancing, free entertainment, sports tournaments, a carnival, parade, car show, and more. 1-8 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission: free. 402-764-5265

International Mud Day. June 24 at Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska City. Arbor Day Farm celebrates International Mud Day with educational opportunities and a chance for kids to make mud paintings and sculptures. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: $8 adults, $6 children (3-12), free to children 2 and under. 402-873-8717


Maifest. May 6-7 in the Amana Colonies. Witness dancing around the Maypole and lots of music while dining on, or sampling, German food and wine in this quaint series of villages. See free demonstrations at the furniture shop, woolen mill, and other areas. Admission: free.

Tulip Festival. May 18-20 in downtown Orange City. Thousands of tulips will be in bloom during this festival. This ethnic festival features music and dancing by children and adults in authentic costumes, two daily parades, a nightly musical theater, a carnival midway, Dutch delicacies and other food, and an art fair. 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Admission: free. 712-707-4510

Red Hot Chili Peppers. May 23 at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines. This Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy Award-winning group are touring to promote their most recent album, The Getaway. Irontom and Jack Irons will perform as special guests. 8 p.m. Tickets: $50-$100. 515-564-8000

Steel Magnolias. June 2-18 at the Des Moines Community Playhouse, Des Moines. This story is about six unlikely friends in the South who entertain with lighthearted conversations until tragedy strikes and brings them face-to-face with their mortality. Tickets: $25-$36. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. 515-277-6261

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. June 5 at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines. Commemorating the 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut album, the band is touring in addition to releasing two companion vinyl box sets featuring their entire studio album collection. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $39.50-$129.50. 515-564-8000

35th Annual Antique Show. June 16-18 throughout the city of Walnut. Stroll along the 17 blocks of dealers outside, through two indoor halls, the Catholic Church yard, and the many shops downtown. Bring a hauling vehicle and plan to stay for the weekend—this event brings more than 300 dealers and approximately 30,000 attendees. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission: free. 712-784-3443

Wurst Festival. June 17 in the Amana Colonies. Celebrate one of Germany’s favorite foods. Sample more than 40 different sausages, drink cold beverages, play yard games, and listen to live music. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: free.

Des Moines Arts Festival. June 23-25 at Western Gateway Park, Des Moines. The festival features visual, performing, and interactive arts, along with music and film, from both professional artists and emerging local artists. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: free. 515-286-4950

Trek Fest XXXIII. June 23-24 in downtown Riverside. Klingons driving tractors? Riverside’s annual tribute to its most famous citizen, the future Capt. James T. Kirk, includes a parade, costume contest, dog show, and bingo. This year’s theme is “30 Years of Next Generation.” 3 p.m.-midnight Friday; 7 a.m.-midnight Saturday. Admission: free. 319-631-9181

The Big Parade and Mardi Gras Festivale 2017. June 29 in downtown Sioux City. Those who didn’t make it to “N’awlins” on the Tuesday before Lent started can experience a similar festival in June with a big parade down Fourth Street. Following the parade will be an authentic Cajun dinner, Zydeco music, fireworks, and a display of handmade Mardi Gras costumes direct from Louisiana. 6-10 p.m. Admission: free, but tickets must be purchased for the food. 712-279-4800


BBQ Cookoff and 93rd Annual Apple Blossom Parade. May 5-7 at Civic Center Park, St. Joseph. Come to St. Joseph’s annual rite of spring. This citywide event includes a grand parade, a contest sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, live music, and other activities. A people’s choice tasting and contest is a highlight of Friday evening. Admission: free, but tickets must be bought for the food. 816-271-4393

Garth Brooks. May 6 at Sprint Center, Kansas City. One of country music’s most beloved stars is coming back to Kansas City. Brooks released his latest single, “Ask Me How I Know,” at the SXSW Festival in Austin, a month after selling his 5 millionth ticket on this tour. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $75 and up. 816-949-7100

Weston Wine Festival. May 13 in downtown Weston. Live music and wine tasting is the focus of this festival, situated in a historic small town. Taste wines from eight different wineries from around the area. Noon-7 p.m. Tickets $25. 816-640-2909

Chainsmokers. May 17 at Sprint Center, Kansas City. Grammy-nominated artist/producer duo Drew Taggart and Alex Pall are most known for their song “#Selfie,” which went viral in 2015. The group has announced that their debut album will launch later this year. 7 p.m. Tickets: $41-$75.50. 816-949-7100

KC Jazz Festival. May 25-28 at 18th and Vine District, Kansas City. This festival, held in Charlie Parker’s birth town, is a multi-day showcase of national and local artists highlighting Kansas City’s role in the development of mid-20th century jazz. Headliners include Brandy, John Scofield, Regina Carter, and the Hot Sardines. Times vary by location. Tickets: $15-$125 for a single-day pass, $150-$350 for a four-day pass. 816-474-8463

Festa Italiana. June 2-4 at Zona Rosa, Kansas City. This annual festival celebrates Italian-American culture through an assortment of Italian food favorites, an Italian car show, food eating contests, vendors, and more. 5-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission: free. 816-587-8180

Future. June 7 at Sprint Center, Kansas City. Future achieved three back-to-back No. 1 albums in 2015. His songs “Low Life” (featuring The Weeknd), and “Where Ya At” (featuring Drake), both went double-platinum. 7 p.m. Tickets: $27.50-$97.50. 816-949-7100

Polish Pottery Festival 2017. June 10 in downtown Weston. Celebrate all things Polish and Eastern European with food, music, dance, pottery, artisans, and cultural booths. The public library will read Polish children’s stories at selected times, and photos can be taken in the Polish Pottery Road Trip car. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: free. 816-640-2909

Fiesta Kansas City. June 16-18 at Crown Center Square, Kansas City. or the 16th year, this Latino-style celebration presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City will provide a fun-filled weekend for guests. Festivities will include many vendors, entertainment, food, beverages, and more. 5-11 p.m. Friday; noon-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission: free. 816-476-6767

Big Slick. June 23 at Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City. Kansas City-raised celebrities Rob Riggle, Eric Stonestreet, Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, and David Koechner will take the field in a charity softball game before the Royals play the Toronto Blue Jays. A fireworks show follows the games. 5 p.m. Tickets: $25-$40. 816-921-8000

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

Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

The Creative Spirit of Brownville

May 19, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann and Jay Tallmon

This article appears in the May/June 2015 edition of Omaha Home.

What’s there to do in Brownville?” wonders Tom Rudloff, owner of The Antiquarium Book Store and Bill Farmer Gallery in Brownville. “Not much. Seven museums, five art galleries, a theatre, a concert hall, an arboretum, a winery, and three bookstores. So, not much.”

Maybe you haven’t heard of it. Maybe you’ve been meaning to get there. Maybe you’ve already fallen in love with the place.

Regardless, Brownville might be America’s only town of 130 residents that a 1,200 word article can hardly begin to synopsize.


Seventy-eight miles south of Omaha, Brownville is anchored like its own historic steamboat, the Spirit of Brownville, in the windblown hills above the Missouri River Valley. It’s one of the few places where you can wake up on the water (River Inn Floating B&B), shop for curios (Gypsy Jack’s Antiques & Oddities), buy rare books from a self-confessed “crazed grammarian” (The Antiquarium), sip locally crafted wine while touring pre-Prohibition era underground brewing caves (Whiskey Run Creek Winery & Vineyard), ponder the horrors of frontier dentistry (Dr. Spurgin’s Dental Office Museum), and purchase a fine broom (Country Brooms Everlasting)…all in the span of a few hours.

Founded in 1854 by Richard Brown, Brownville fell prey to the boom-and-bust cycle that crippled countless frontier towns. Within 20 years, the town had acquired a flatboat ferry, flour and lumber mills, two newspapers, a telegraph line, a high school, a medical college, three brickyards, and the promise of a railroad connection. Then, things fell apart. The railroad went bust. The county seat moved to nearby Auburn. In 1880, the population hit its high-water mark of 1,309. A 1903 fire and multiple floods destroyed several buildings along Main Street, almost destroying any hope of revival.

“Billy the Kid stayed here once,” says George Neubert, former director of Lincoln’s Sheldon Museum of Art and current curator/owner of the newly opened Flatwater Folk Art Museum. “He was going to rob the town, but when he realized we had no money, he went to Missouri.”


That’s not the end of the story. Brownville lay dormant. Slowly, driven by arts, crafts, niche entertainment, historical preservation, books, local restaurants, museums, and the sublime geography of the river valley, the town began to flourish again, albeit in a more contemplative, meaningful way.

I’ve been meaning to visit for several years. When I finally do come down to explore the village, which is supposed to have the most vibrancy per square inch than anywhere else in the state, I’ve chosen the wrong day. Almost everything is closed Mondays.

So, instead of entering galleries and historic buildings, I walk around admiring the well-preserved architecture, peering into darkened windows, and scribbling. As I press my cheeks against a glass bulletin board to read the schedules, a grey minivan captained by a senior couple rolls up behind me.

“Are you an architecture student?” says the amiable man behind the wheel.

“No, I’m writing an article about Brownville.”

“Oh, we thought you might be an architect,” the woman says. “A bunch of UNL students have been coming down here for a class project. Is this your first time? Do you want us to show you around? We’ll drive you.”


Being the kind of person who accepts rides from strangers, I enter the van.

Moments later, I’m now friends with George and Eva Neubert, owners of the Flatwater Folk Art Museum. Flatwater specializes in art “that doesn’t have a label next to it,” George explains. As a former director of Lincoln’s Sheldon Museum of Art, he knows art, art history, and curation. And he believes that the most exiting work is what goes on outside the mainstream.

“There’s an authenticity that I found in a lot of folk art that the thousands of MFA students producing wonderful, well-sculpted, products didn’t have the kind of angst that true folk art had. Plus it’s one of the most ethnically diverse collections in America.”

But why Brownville?

“When you consider a town of 130,” George says, “you’ve got more things happening culturally—per capita—than anywhere else
in Nebraska.”

Across the village on the hill at 309 Water Street in the historic Nebraska State Teachers’ Association building, Tom Rudloff’s Antiquarium contributes heavily to the cultural fabric here.

After nearly 40 years as Omaha’s de facto den of intellection, the Antiquarium relocated to Brownville in 2008. The new place contains over 150,000 rare and used books and is modeled after the famed Long Room of Dublin’s Trinity College Library. Despite moving to a little-known town bordering the state of Missouri, the Antiquarium still attracts visitors from around the world seeking what they won’t find anyplace else. Together with the Brownville Concert Series, the Antiquarium is making this village a global destination spot.


“The scenery is lovely and so is the air,” Rudloff says. “At least before the nuclear plant blows apart. Do I sound cynical? I’m a loudmouth, that’s what I am! At 76, how’s it going to get me in trouble?”

I ask what the store hours are.

“We don’t have hours,” he declares triumphantly. Then, popping up from his chair, he glides over to the old-time, hand-cranked cash registers and returns with a more definitive answer, which he reads aloud:

“Open 9 or 10 most days, some days as early as 7:30, sometimes as late as 11 or 12. We might close at 4:30 or later, sometimes midnight.”

It’d be a good idea to call first.

On my most recent trip to Brownville, I end the day with a burger at the Lyceum Café, a diner/bookstore/gallery that serves as the village focal point. On this Saturday evening, waitress Ashley Robertson zigzags between dining room, cash register, art gallery, and kitchen, balancing six huge plates while still moving and greeting people by name.

“I’ve loved the tiny town ever since I began working here eight years ago,” Robertson says. “If you are a person who loves nature, history, and homes with character, Brownville is the perfect town. My two kiddos and I enjoy walking down to the river, walking the Steamboat Trace Trail and the Whiskey Run Creek Trail, which is an absolutely gorgeous little trail, especially in fall.”

During the summer, Robertson and her family attend the Brownville Village Theatre, listen to weekly live music sponsored by Whiskey Run Creek, eat treats at the local ice cream parlor, enjoy Fourth of July activities, and search for treasures at the Brownville Flea Market.


Everyone I’ve met has mentioned the flea markets. They’re a huge deal, shutting down Main St. for three days while tourists and vendors flood the town. This year, the 59th Annual Spring Flea Market runs May 23 – 25. Over 260 antiques & collectibles dealers, food vendors, artists, and craftspeople will attend this year’s events. If you want to stay the whole weekend, you have 11 accommodation options, including places called The Actor’s Residence and Gypsies Nook. Look out for the 60th Annual Fall Flea Market, which runs September 26 – 27.

If Billy the Kid came back to Brownville now, he’d find plenty to steal.