Tag Archives: explore

May 2019 Explore!

April 18, 2019 by

For NebraskaIowaKansas, and Missouri

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


Space Day 2019 May 4 at Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, Ashland. Guests can celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing at Space Day. This family event features activities, movies, planetarium shows, and guest speakers. 402-944-3100.

Community Appreciation Day/Stuhr Under the Stars May 4 in Grand Island. The start of the summer season features free admission, food and drink specials, and activities for the whole family. When the sun goes down, attendees can enjoy an outdoor movie under the stars at the Stuhr Museum’s Railroad Town. Blankets and chairs for sitting are encouraged. 308-385-5316.

woman helping girl walk on stilts

National Bird Day May 4 at the Arbor Lodge Mansion, Nebraska City. Celebrate birds while touring the Arbor Lodge Mansion. Visitors can “hunt” for the many resident birds. 402-471-0641.

Lincoln Marathon May 5 in Lincoln.This event includes three different races. Runners can participate in the full marathon, half marathon, or 1-mile race. Races start at 7 a.m. and end at Memorial Stadium.

Sip Nebraska Wine, Craft Beer, and Spirits Festival May 10-11 at Mahoney State Park, Ashland.The sixth annual festival comes to Mahoney State Park for a weekend filled with live music, wine and beer tastings, and vendors for festivalgoers to enjoy. 402-882-2448.
—blurparties.com/sipnebraskathree women at Sip Wine Festival

Fort Kearny Outdoor Expo May 11 at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area, 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.

Toast Nebraska Wine Festival 2019 May 17-18 at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, Gretna. Vala’s brings you its all-Nebraska wine festival, complete with music, food vendors, and many local wineries available for tasting. 402-310-7264.

Bill Morris Memorial Fishing DerbyMay 18 at Ponca State Park, Ponca. This all-ages event includes hands-on activities throughout the day. Prizes will be distributed in many categories. 402-471-0641.

Free Fishing and Park Entry Day May 18 at any Nebraska state park or recreation area. Enjoy a Saturday of fishing or state park activities without the purchase a fishing license or park permit. 402-471-0641.

Kenny Chesney’s “Songs for the Saints 2019 Tour” May 18 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln. Country music star Kenny Chesney brings his act to the Pinnacle Bank Arena for a night of fun and music. 402-904-4444.

Wildlands Day & Free Park Entry May 18 at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, Gering. In Nebraska’s panhandle, this family-friendly event includes a bird hike, wildflower walk, and many other activities. 308-436-3777.
— outdoornebraska.gov

Nebraska Junkathon May 24-26 at Thompson’s Treasures Antique and Uniques, Sargent. Vendors come together for a festival of antiques, food, and more in central Nebraska. 308-750-9435.—facebook.com/junkathonfleamarket

Annual Brownville Spring Flea Market May 25-27 in Brownville. Hundreds of vendors bring their wares to this annual tradition, including recycled and up-cycled products, food, and antiques. 402-825-6001.

Migratory Bird Day Celebration May 25-27 at the Lewis & Clark State Recreation Area, Crofton. This all-day event includes a glow in the dark egg hunt, guided bird walks, and more (along Nebraska’s riverine border with South Dakota). 402-388-4169.

64th annual Willa Cather Spring Conference May 31-June 1 at National Willa Cather Center, Red Cloud. This annual event celebrates the works and life of Willa Cather. 866-731-7304.

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Cascade Wing & Brew Fest 2019 May 4 at Cascade Amphitheater, Cascade. Attendees can enjoy some wings and beer as this festival comes back for its sixth year of food, drinks, and live music. 563- 690-8611.

Maifest May 4 at Amana Colonies, Amana. Dancers, food trucks, and a parade will bring German traditions to this celebration of spring. 319-622-7622.

Third Annual Coffee & Donut Festival May 4 at the Capital Square, Des Moines. Coffee and doughnuts are the highlights of this Des Moines festival, which includes games and plenty of family fun. 515-599-7500.

Art Walk May 4 at Kohlmann Park, Waverly. This fine arts walk includes more than 40 artists for visitors to peruse. Open to the public. 319-352-4526.

Free Comic Book Day: May the Fourth Be With You May 4 at Oak Leaf Comics & Collectibles, Mason City Iowa. This event includes free comic books, inflatables, and fun for the whole family. Fifty percent of sales will be donated to the North Iowa Youth Center. 641-424-0333.

Vintage Garden Market with Friends May 4-5 at Rural Route Rust, Avoca. Attendees can enjoy an outdoor market of vintage goods. Drinks, food, and vendors will be available. 402-267-4104.

Knick knacks at Vintage Gardens Market

Downtown Show and Shine May 5 at 206 Main Street, Cedar Falls. Cars and motorcycles will line Main Street for viewing. Food vendors will be available at this free event open to the public. 319-277-0213.

Ultimate Spring Women’s Expo May 7 at the Wild Rose Casino, Clinton. Bring some friends to this event that includes shopping, prizes, and more. 563-243-9000.

The Beach Boys: “Now & Then Tour” May 9 at the Sioux City Orpheum Theatre, Sioux City. The iconic band will bring their hit music to the Orpheum Theatre for a night to remember. 712-244-5000.

Spring Garden Festival May 9-12 at Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines. This event celebrates everything about gardens with activities, workshops, and more. 515-323-6290.

Orange City Tulip Festival May 16-18 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, Dutch food, and more. 712-707-4510.

Tree Town Music Festival May 23-26 at the Heritage Park of North Iowa, Forest City. This three-day event brings together big names in country music for a fun festival. Performers include Jake Owen, Dierks Bentley, Lauren Alaina, and more. 641-585-3378.

80th annual North Iowa Band Festival May 23-27 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.

Celebrasian May 24-25 at the Westin Gateway Park, Des Moines. In its 17th year, Celebrasian will be a celebration and appreciation of Asian culture, uniting the Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander communities in Des Moines. Guests can enjoy live performances, authentic food, and educational activities. 515-770-1026.

Annual Tivoli Fest May 24-May 26 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

Pink tulips

Boone River Valley Festival May 24-27 at the Boone Valley Brewery, Boone. Festival attendees can enjoy a weekend filled with music, crafts, and fun for the whole family.

Spring Art & Craft Festival May 25 at Triangle Park, McGregor. This event kicks off summer with vendors, food, and activities for kids. 563-873-2186.

Iowa Arts Festival May 31-June 2 in Iowa City. A family-friendly event that brings together different artists in the Iowa area, this event also features live music performances, food vendors, and more. 319-337-7944.

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Boots and Beer Auction May 3 at Hoover Pavilion, Dodge City. This event brings many food and craft beer vendors together, also featuring live and silent auctions. 620-227-8188.

KS Food Truck Festival May 4 at the Warehouse Arts District, Lawrence. This one-day festival features more than 25 food trucks with offerings from across the world and live entertainment. Proceeds benefit Just Food, the Douglas County Food Bank. 785-856-3040.

47th Annual Square Fair & Arts Festival May 11 at the Anderson County Courthouse, Garnett. An annual event, this free family fun affair brings many craft vendors for visitors to peruse. Live entertainment, food, and more. 785-448-6767.

Peony Festival May 18-19 at Stockton Area Chamber of Commerce, Stockton. The annual Peony Festival will feature peony displays around the city. The event includes a parade, craft vendors, and more. 785-425-6703.

Pink Peony plant

Lawrence Busker Festival 2018 May 24-26 in downtown Lawrence. This annual event invites everyone to enjoy a get-weird-weekend. It includes unusual live performances by artists—both local and global—and the Busker Ball at the Lawrence Arts Center. This will be the first ever all-female busker festival. 785-843-2787.

Tumbleweed Music Festival May 30-June 1 at the La Cygne Reservoir, La Cygne. The annual festival filled with music and fun is back for another round. Attendees can enjoy three days and two nights of camping, country music, canoeing, and hot air balloon rides.

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Gatsby Days May 2-6 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.

four women posing at Gatsby Days

2019 Apple Blossom Parade & Festival May 4 in St. Joseph. The parade has been in existence for over 90 years, and it has expanded into a festival with a Kansas City BBQ Society-sanctioned barbecue contest. The event runs in conjunction with Discover Downtown, which features live music, food vendors, and kids activities. 816-261-0422.

10th Annual Sikeston Jaycee & Health Facilities Rehab Crawfish Boil & Music Festival May 4 at the Sikeston Rodeo Grounds, Sikeston. Attendees can enjoy music and family entertainment. This event includes a grand feast of Louisiana crawfish. 573-471-2498.

Harry’s Hay Days May 4-5 in Grandview. This family-friendly event—taking place at the childhood home of Harry Truman—will be a celebration of his birthday and legacy. It is a two-day event filled with music, vendors, games, and a parade. 816-316-4888.

Artfest on Walnut May 4-5 in Springfield. Over 100 artists will be on display at this celebration of art, with performances, food, and activities for the whole family. 417-831-6200.

Renditions Polish Pottery Festival May 11 in Weston. This celebration of Polish culture includes live music, dancing, traditional food, and displays of unique pottery and art. 816-640-2909.

crowd at Polish Pottery Festival

VolksWeston May 11 in Weston. This event will display vintage Volkswagens along Main Street to the City Hall parking lot. 816-640-2757.

Fourth Annual Weston Wine Fest May 18 at Pirtle Winery, Weston. Attendees can enjoy wine, food, and live music. 816-640-2752.

Westport Roots Festival May 25-27 in Kansas City. The music festival is back for its fifth year. Attendees can enjoy three days of fun and music from 60 bands. 816-960-4560.

Centralia Anchor Festival May 31-June 2 at the City Square, Centralia. This event brings a fun day filled with music, parade, a carnival, and more. 573-682-2272.

KC Pridefest May 31-June 2 at Berkley Riverfront Park, Kansas City. Entering its 43rd year, KC PrideFest is back for a celebration of love and diversity. 816-535-0911.

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

This calendar was printed in the May edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

March/April 2019 Explore!

February 14, 2019 by and

For NebraskaIowa, Kansas, and Missouri

This calendar was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


Twelfth Annual Polar Bear Tank Race March 1 & 2 at Middle Loup River near Mullen. This timed event features teams of four-to-six people racing down the river in metal stock tanks. Prizes are awarded for tank decorations and themes. Teams may also choose to forgo the race and enjoy a relaxing float down the river. 308-546-2206.


Rodeo Grand Island March 1 & 2 at Heartland Events Center in Fonner Park, Grand Island. This Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association event features team roping, barrel racing, and Xtreme Bulls Tour (Saturday). 308-382-4515.


cowboy riding a bucking horse in rodeo ring

A Celtic Celebration March 5 at Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln. Master musicians Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy take the stage, joined by their virtuosic children. The evening highlights fiery fiddling, step dancing, singing, and world-class music. 402-472-4700.


The Jersey Tenors March 5 at the Neville Center in North Platte. In an opera-rock mash-up sensation that blends opera classics, rock epics, and crooning ballads, The Jersey Tenors combine for a powerhouse vocal performance. 308-532-8559.

—@northplattecommunityplayhouse on Facebook

Delfeayo Marsalis March 14 at Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln. Audience members can celebrate a late Mardi Gras with New Orleans-style jazz performed by legendary trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis and baritone saxophonist Roger Lewis, founder of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. 402-472-4700.


Aircraft Adventure March 16 at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland. Visitors can learn about the B-17 Flying Fortress and the A-26 Invader during this special event. 402-944-3100.


St. Patrick’s Day Celebration March 16 in downtown O’Neill. The home of “The World’s Largest Shamrock” nearly doubles its size to 7,000 people during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Festivities begin Wednesday with the Irish Walk of Fame and the painting of the town’s beloved shamrock. The big day is Saturday, with a fun run, Green Eggs and Ham breakfast, free concert, Irish dancers, a parade, kids activities, and donkey basketball. 402-336-2355.


Shamrock Shuffle 5k Walk/Run/Crawl March 16 at Chuckles Bar in Fairbury. Runners and walkers are encouraged to dress up in leprechaun gear for this event. The post-race celebration includes unique awards, live music, giveaways, green booze, and food. 402-729-3000.


Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival March 21-24 at multiple locations in Kearney. Thousands of Sandhill cranes migrate through Nebraska each year, and this festival highlights the cranes. The event includes educational speakers, meals, and, of course, a trip to see the cranes. 308-468-5282.


Michael Buble March 23 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. The popular jazz and pop singer will help celebrate the arena’s fifth anniversary with performances of hits such as “Feelin’ Good,” “Haven’t Met You Yet,” and more. 402-904-4444.


Michael Buble head shot

Michael Buble

Mystery at the Mansion March 23 at Arbor Lodge Mansion in Nebraska City. Solve clues, look for evidence, and break the old fashioned whodunnit case while mingling with new friends. 402-873-8717.


Brownville Concert Series: The Rastrelli Cello Quartet March 31 at Brownville Concert Hall in Brownville. This unique ensemble mixes works by Bach, Dave Brubeck, and more in their concert titled From Brahms to Beatles. 402-825-3331.


Star City BaconFest April 7 at Marriott Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. The event for meat-lovers features bacon-inspired delights from Lincoln’s finest chefs and live entertainment.


Complexions Contemporary Ballet April 11 at Lied Performing Arts Center in Lincoln. With technical precision, power, and passion, Complexions transcends tradition with a groundbreaking mix of styles ranging from ballet to hip-hop. 402-472-4700.


Mahenwahdose April 13 at Red Cloud Opera House in Red Cloud. Mahenwahdose is a Muscogean word meaning “True Native American Theater.” The Native American performance company from Oklahoma features Native artists dedicated to performing accurate, educational, and traditional stories of indigenous America. 866-731-7304.


The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain April 14 at Lied Performing Arts Center in Lincoln. The world-renowned ukulele superstars come to the Lied with their toe-tapping music, hilarious banter, and sheer superlative entertainment.  402-472-4700.


eight members of ukulele orchestra in tuxedos standing outside in front of doric columns

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Spring Fling April 20 at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland. Kids of all ages can participate in an egg hunt, make and take a craft, visit with the Easter Bunny, and learn about making kites. 402-944-3100.


Kearney Symphony Orchestra: Dances of Love April 23 at UNK Fine Arts Recital Hall in Kearney. This classical concert features Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances accompanied by the University of Nebraska-Kearney choir. 308-865-8441.


Arbor Day Celebration April 26-28 at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City. Visitors can celebrate this holiday where it all began—at Arbor Day Farm. All across this 260-acre campus, opportunities abound to play, learn, taste, and shop, all in celebration of trees. Concurrent to this event is the 148th Annual Arbor Day Celebration in Nebraska City, with a parade, kids activities, plant sales, and more. 402- 873-8717.


Earth Day April 27 at Union Plaza in Lincoln. This event includes live music, informational booths, family activities, food trucks, and a farmer’s market.


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Rodney Carrington March 1 at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. Carrington is a multitalented comedian, actor, and writer who has recorded eight major record label comedy albums selling over 3 million copies. 515-244-0507.


Brothers Osborne March 7 at the Orpheum in Sioux City. This twang-and-crunch duo blends equal parts country and rock into a fresh, identifiable sound. 855-333-8771.


Kinky Boots March 15 at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City. This musical is scored by pop icon Cyndi Lauper and is about an unlikely friendship between a shoemaker and a drag queen. 855-333-8771.


Leprechaun Chase 10k March 9 at Principal Park in Des Moines. Skill (and a little luck) will be needed at this particular event. Runners will be decked out in green, or anything shamrock-related, during the race and the green beer after-party.


St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 15 and 16 in Emmetsburg. This sister city of Dublin, Ireland, celebrates the “wearing o’ the green” in a grand way. Events include a bean bag tournament, fun run, kids’ zone, free movie, live music, and a parade. Before the parade, eat a cup of Irish stew or a baked potato with toppings, or sample the entries from the chili cookoff. 712-852-4326.


group of people, two holding babies, walking and waving in St. Patrick's Day parade

St. Patrick’s Day Festival

Maple Syrup Festival March 23-24 at Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids. The Maple Syrup Festival, held at the end of the syruping season, features syrup-making demonstrations, a look inside the Maple Sugar House, a pancake breakfast with real maple syrup, and live music. 319-362-0664.


Randy Rainbow April 4 at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. Fresh off the sold-out first leg of this national tour, internet sensation Randy Rainbow’s series of political spoofs and song parodies have garnered international acclaim and over hundreds of millions of views. 515-244-0507.


Tenderloins and So Much More Tour April 6 at Cooking with Alessandra in Des Moines. This tour explores foods that were made famous in Des Moines and restaurants that keep those traditions alive. 515-508-9474.


Take a Bite April 12-14 in Amana. This three-day food fest includes cooking demonstrations, hands-on instruction, samples, dinners, and special menu items at Amana Colonies. 319-622-7622.

Red Green’s “This Could Be It!” Tour April 14 at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. Fans of public television’s The Red Green Show will be able to see handyman projects, hear advice given to married guys and teenage boys, and get tips on getting old. 515-244-0507.


Canadian comedian Steve Smith, known as Red Green, leaning back in chair, arms behind head, feet up, with a toe tag that reads "This could be it."

Red Green

Kites Over Hoover Park April 20 near Hoover Park in West Branch. April is kite-flying month, and thousands of colorful kites will fly during this event, which includes a kite-performance team and family-friendly games, a candy drop, and crafts for kids. 319-643-5301.


Food and Farm Festival April 27-28 at Living History Farms in Urbandale. Local producers, brewers, makers, and artists will gather together on the front lawn of Living History Farms to celebrate everything that makes Iowa great. VIP events include Festival of Cheese, Beer ’n’ Bread, and Cocktails and Comfort Food. 515-278-5286.


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Fake Patty’s Day March 2 at Aggieville Historical District in Manhattan. Aggieville is the place to drink green beer and spread Irish cheer. The streets will be shut down so that revelers can more easily travel from bar to bar during this special event. 785-320-6709.



Switchback March 9 & 10 at The Warham Opera House in Manhattan. The McCain Performance Series features Irish-Americana. band Switchback. Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack have written many Irish songs that ring as true as the ancient ballads of Finn McCool’s time. 785-532-6428.


Clown of Kings Comedy & The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra March 17 at C.L Hoover Opera House in Junction City. To celebrate this Opera House’s 150th anniversary, three short films starring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, will be shown, accompanied by The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. 785-238-3906.


Easter Egg Hunt April 20 at Louisburg Cider Mill in Louisburg. Warm cider and donuts will be provided during this Easter egg hunt, and family photos with the Easter Bunny after the hunt will add to fond family holiday memories. 913-837-5202.


Kegs ’N’ Eggs April 27 at Kansas City Renaissance Festival grounds in Bonner Springs. While sipping on craft beers and listening to live music at this adult-only event, guests can hunt for golden eggs and win prizes. 913-721-2110.


three people, two girls and guy with beard standing in the middle, all wearing pretzel "jewelry," crowd in background

Kegs ’N’ Eggs

Kansas Storytelling Festival April 26-27 in downtown Downs. Tall tales, anecdotes, and historical re-enactments can all be found at this festival, which offers two evening concerts and many separate sessions of stories, workshops, and music. 785-454-6648.


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Eric Church March 1 and 2 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The country star will be performing songs from his new album Desperate Man as well as other popular past hits. 816-949-7100.


Bud Light Grand Parade and party March 2 in the Soulard District, St. Louis. One of the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations outside of the Big Easy is held in St. Louis. The festivities started in late January and culminate with this parade and party, bringing tens of thousands of people into the city. 800-916-8938.


10th Annual Mardi Gras Bar Crawl March 2 in the Power & Light District, Kansas City. Mardi Gras fans can eat, drink, and be merry in this annual tribute to pre-Lent traditions. The crawl includes 12 participating bars with live music, crawfish-eating contests, fire jugglers, and street performers. 816-842-1045.


Backtrack Vocals March 2 at the Missouri Theatre in St. Joseph. Backtrack is an award-winning, five-person a cappella group based out of New York City. The group creates impressive covers of past and present pop music. 816-279-1225.

— saintjosephperformingarts.org

Metallica March 6 at Sprint Center in Kansas City. One of metal’s biggest acts comes to Kansas City on their world tour. 816-949-7100.


Snake Saturday March 16 in North Kansas City. This popular St. Patrick’s Day event in Kansas City includes a parade followed by a carnival, children’s events, and more. 816-548-3113.


St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17 along Broadway in Kansas City. Those who do not get enough shamrocks and shenanigans in North Kansas City can spend the next day reveling with fellow St. Patrick’s Day fans with one of the country’s largest St. Patrick Day parades.


NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional March 29-31 at Sprint Center in Kansas City. Kansas City is again hosting teams in the Midwest Regional of March Madness’ Elite Eight. Regional winners will advance to Minneapolis for the Final Four and championship games. 816-949-7100.


Kansas City FilmFest April 10-14 at Cinemark on the Plaza in Kansas City. More than 120 films will be shown over five days at this annual event, which celebrates the power of storytelling as a shared cultural experience through the cinematic arts. 816-756-5877.


Joshua Redman Quartet April 11 at Folly Theater in Kansas City. Coming in from New York City after a series of concerts at the famed Blue Note club, the son of legendary saxophonist Dewey Redman brings his own jazz style to the Midwest. 816-474-4444.


Joshua Redman holding saxophone, staring into camera, wearing pink button-down shirt

Joshua Redman

Pig and Swig April 21 in the Power & Light District, Kansas City. A showcase of some of the best local and regional barbecue flavors, bourbon, whiskey, and craft beer. 816-842-1045.


Arturo Sandoval April 27 at Folly Theater in Kansas City. This 10-time Grammy Award winner’s most recent album includes duets with Ariana Grande, Stevie Wonder, and Josh Groban. 816-474-4444.


Arturo Sandoval playing trumpet in suit, with black background

Arturo Sandoval

Blessing of the Bikes April 28 on the historic downtown square in Neosho. The annual event brings together more than 300 bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts to initiate the onset of the riding season. Food, vendors, drift trike racing, and live music carry the day that is concluded with a bike blessing. 417-389-3301.

—@blessingofthebikescovenant0702 on Facebook

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

January/February 2019 Explore!

January 3, 2019 by , and

For NebraskaIowaKansas, and Missouri

This calendar was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


Paul Shaffer & The Nebraska Jazz Orchestra Jan. 10 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln. Paul Shaffer has worked as a musical director for David Letterman, John Belushi, and Dan Akyroyd. 402-472-4747.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar Jan. 17 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln. Amazing puppetry, innovative black-light staging, and an original score bring new life to Eric Carle’s classic for kids of all ages. 402-472-4747.


Disturbed with Three Days Grace Jan. 22 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln. Multi-platinum-selling rock band Disturbed headlines with classic hits and new music with Three Days Grace supporting. 402-904-4444.


Susan Werner Jan. 25 at Rococo Theatre, Lincoln. Werner returns to Lincoln after sold-out shows across the country to perform music from her latest album, An American in Havana, inspired by Werner’s recent travels to Cuba. 402-472-4747.


Harlem Globetrotters Feb. 1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln. These athletes are known for performing “amazing feats of basketball.” This year, everything they do will bring fans closer to the action than ever before. 402-904-4444.


The King and I Feb. 1-2 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln. Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and British schoolteacher Anna Leonowens. 402-472-4747.


Chris Botti Feb. 7 at  Lied Center for Performing Arts, Lincoln. Featuring jazz standards, famous masterpieces, and pop music classics, the Grammy-winning trumpeter will perform along with his band. 402-472-4747.


My Ántonia Feb. 7-9 at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, Lincoln. Willa Cather’s novel, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, is presented in this new theatrical adaptation. The story is told through the memories of narrator Jim Burden. 402-472-2072.


Dutchman Feb. 15-23 at the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Lincoln. A conversation on a subway turns vicious as Dutchman’s two passengers, a white woman and a young black man, flirt with race and rage. 402-472-4747.


The OK Factor Feb. 17 at the Kearney Concert Association, Kearney. This self-described alternative folk duo will perform original music as well as familiar folk favorites. 308-627-2717.


James Taylor and His All-Star Band with Special Guest Bonnie Raitt Feb. 20 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln. Legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor and his All-Star Band perform with special guest Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt and her band. 402-904-4444.


One-Ham Manlet Feb. 23-24 at the Elder Memorial Theatre Center, Lincoln. Watch one actor play 20 characters in this comedic adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. 402-465-2384.


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Triple Espresso—A Highly Caffeinated Comedy through Jan. 13 at The Temple for Performing Arts, Des Moines. Viewers will get to see the story of three guys whose bid for showbiz fame and fortune ended in four minutes of magnificent failure on national television. 515-246-2368.


Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood Jan. 12 at Des Moines Civic Center, Des Moines. This invigorating new perspective on Prokofiev’s much-loved classic explores themes of family and friendship, courage and heroism. 515-246-2300.


Ordinarius Jan. 15 at The Temple Theater, Des Moines. Audience members will see Brazil’s award-winning contemporary vocal group make their U.S. debut. Their current show focuses on the songs of Carmen Miranda. 515-246-2300.


Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival Jan. 18-19 in downtown Cherokee. The weekend includes pub crawls on Friday and Saturday nights, a jam session on Saturday afternoon, and a big band dance on Saturday night. A music clinic is offered for high school students on Friday. 712-225-6414.


35th Annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Days Jan. 19-20 at the River City Mall, Keokuk. View bald eagles in their natural habitat at the Mississippi Riverfront and Victory Park & Southside Boat Club on Saturday and Sunday. 319-524-5599.


Jesse Cook Jan. 20 at Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines. On his albums and in concert, Cook explores the roots of flamenco and its many offshoots, from India to Spain, and on to Cuba and Latin America. Along the way, he developed his signature synthesis of world music. 515-244-0507.


39th Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games Jan. 24-27 at Lake Okoboji. Iowa’s fictional university comes together for a spectacular weekend of sporting events to shake off cabin fever. 712-332-2107.


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert Jan. 25-26 at Des Moines Civic Center, Des Moines. This concert features the film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in high-definition (on a giant screen) while the Des Moines Symphony performs John Williams’ unforgettable score. 515-246-2300.


The Choir of Man Jan. 31 at Des Moines Civic Center, Des Moines. It’s a party. It’s a concert. It’s a pint-filled good time. This multi-talented cast of nine handsome blokes sings everything—pub tunes, folk, Broadway, classic rock—all to roof-raising heights. 515-246-2300.


Charlotte’s Web Feb. 5 at Stephens Auditorium, Ames. This treasured tale—featuring mad-cap and endearing farm animals—explores bravery, selfless love, and the true meaning of friendship. 515-294-7389.


Dear Evan Hansen Feb. 5-10 at Des Moines Civic Center, Des Moines. Winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and the 2018 Grammy Award, Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it. 515-246-2300.


Des Moines Home and Garden SHOW Feb. 7-10 at Iowa Events Center, Des Moines. This show is the largest and most successful home show in central Iowa, featuring over 400 exhibitors, 1,000 experts, and amazing feature gardens. 515-244-5456.


12th Annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival Feb. 16 at Iowa Events Center, Des Moines. Bacon lovers unite at this bacon-centric event that promotes international bacon fellowship. 515-564-8000.


Malpaso Dance Company Feb. 19 at Des Moines Civic Center, Des Moines. Since its establishment in 2012, Malpaso Dance Company has become one of the most acclaimed Cuban dance companies. 515-246-2300.


Close to You: The Music of The Carpenters Feb. 23 at Temple Theater, Des Moines. Singer and playwright Lisa Rock has compiled a moving tribute to the music and life of Karen Carpenter. She brings it to the stage with her six-piece backing band. 515-246-2300.


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American Aquarium Jan. 3 at The Granada, Lawrence. This alt-country band’s songs are filled with biographical lyrics about last calls, lost love, and long horizons. For every drunken night at the bar, there’s a hangover in the morning. For every new relationship, there’s the chance of a broken heart. 785-842-1390.


Who Am I, And Where Am I Going? Jan. 19 at Topeka Symphony, Topeka. Giant philosophical questions will be posed and artists will respond through poetry and prose, nostalgia, and naivete. 785-232-2032.


Junk’N’Donuts Swap Meet Jan. 12 at the Louisburg Cider Mill, Louisburg. Discover antiques, new items, food, and live music. Grab a friend and peruse the 50-plus vendors, or stop by the country store for some root beer and cider doughnuts. 913-837-5202.


Trek to the Tower Jan. 13 at the C.L. Hoover Opera House, Junction City. Get a full tour of the Opera House and the chance to see inside history. Requires reservations. 785-532-6428.


Stomp Jan. 15 at the McCain Auditorium, Manhattan. This international percussion sensation has garnered awards, rave reviews, and appeared on numerous television shows. 785-532-6428.


Lawrence Cody Ko and Noel Miller: Tiny Meat Gang Live Jan. 23 at The Granada, Lawrence. Cody & Noel are achieving the American dream, setting out on a self-financed comedy tour and entertaining tens of hundreds of people around the ninth smartest nation in the world. 785-842-1390.


Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Jan. 25 at Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center, Wichita. The Russian National Ballet Theatre combines artistic mastery and technical perfection, all set to Tchaikovsky’s immortal music. 316-303-8000.


Acoustic Junction Jan. 26 at the C.L. Hoover Opera House, Manhattan. Audiences will get the chance to view the best talent in the region. Each show offers a wide variety of music, including country, folk, and bluegrass. 785-238-3906.


Eagle Day at Milford Lake Jan. 26 at the Milford Nature Center, Junction City. Take a guided bus tour and view live eagles as they soar above Milford Lake. There will also be various programs on raptors of Kansas and a tent with activities for the kids. 785- 238-5323.


imPerfect Dancers: Anne Frank—Words from the Shadows Jan. 29 at the McCain Auditorium, Manhattan. This inspirational tribute is a work of extraordinary beauty and grace, The Diary of Anne Frank, inviting attendees to think about this dark period of history through the eyes of an adolescent. 785-532-6428.


Celebrating Women Feb. 1 at The 1900 Building, Mission Woods. Bach Aria Soloists honors celebrated women composers throughout history, from the Middle Ages to today’s living composers, who are making vital contributions to chamber music. 913-449-6995.


Hidden Art Locked Away Feb. 1-2 at the Riverfront Convention and Community Center, Leavenworth. This exhibit features artwork produced by inmates of the United States Penitentiary and the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth,and an art sale on Saturday. 913-682-4459.


Legally Blonde—The Musical Feb. 2 at the McCain Auditorium, Manhattan. The story follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, sexism, snobbery, and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. 785-532-6428.


Luke Combs: “Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour” Feb. 7 at INTRUST Bank Arena, Wichita. This artist, with his gritty, grizzled vocals and brazen songwriting talent takes his arena tour to Kansas, featuring special guests LANCO and Jameson Rodgers. 855-755-7328.


Jeff Dunham: “Passively Aggressive Tour” Feb. 9 at INTRUST Bank Arena, Wichita. Record-breaking global comedy superstar Jeff Dunham will bring his cast of characters to Wichita for a night of riotous laughter and comedy.  855-755-7328.


Potted Potter Feb. 10 at the McCain Auditorium, Manhattan. This parody takes on the ultimate challenge of condensing all seven Harry Potter books, and a real-life game of Quidditch, into 70 hilarious minutes. 785-532-6428.


Pops—Will You Be My Valentine Feb. 16 at the Topeka Symphony, Topeka. Steve Lippia performs with the Topeka Symphony in a concert of the sweet, romantic, and fun songs that made Frank Sinatra famous. 785-232-2032.


Jersey Boys Feb.19-20 at Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center, Wichita. They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony Award-winning, true-life musical phenomenon. 316-303-8000.


30th Annual Winter Bluegrass Festival Feb. 22-23 at Wichita Marriott Hotel. The Kansas Bluegrass Association will be throwing the 30th annual festival, which will include Grammy Award-winning singer Tim O’Brien, a songwriting workshop, and an instrument petting zoo. 316-777-1091.


Taco Topia Feb. 22 at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City. This one-day festival features a variety of Mexican food. This taco-inspired event will include local music acts, giant yard games, unique drinks, and interactive activities. 913-321-5800.


Chocolate After Dark Feb. 23 at Dillion House Events, Topeka. This event features chocolate samplings, music, and the chance to consult with world-renowned chocolatiers throughout the evening. 785-290-0073


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Russian Romantics: Tchaikovsky and Glazunov Jan. 11-13 at the Kauffman Center, Kansas City. Presumed lost for more than a century, the recent rediscovery of “Chant funèbre” allows audiences to hear a young Stravinsky’s rise to prominence before he wrote his famed “Firebird.” Glazunov’s passionate “Violin Concerto” blends colorful, freewheeling melodies with impressive technical feats. Tchaikovsky’s triumphant “Third Suite” culminates in a powerful finale. 816-471-0400.


Stray Cat Lee Rocker Jan. 18 at the Missouri Theatre, St. Joseph. Lee Rocker made his mark singing and playing his giant upright bass in the legendary music group The Stray Cats. 816-279-1225.


Secret Soldiers: Heroines in Disguise Jan. 22-Feb. 10 at The Coterie, Kansas City. Watch these true accounts of four women who, for different reasons, served as men in the Civil War. 816-474-6552.


Alon Goldstein Jan. 24 at the Kauffman Center, Kansas City. Musicians and music fans can sit in on a fascinating encounter as virtuoso pianist Alon Goldstein shares musical insights with two area piano students on stage in Helzberg Hall. 816-471-0400.


7th Annual Beer, Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Feb. 1-2 at Ozark Empire Fairgrounds & Event Center, Springfield. A unique tasting and shopping experience for guests 21 and older, this event includes live music, educational seminars, and live cooking demonstrations from top local chefs. 417-833-2660.


Anita Jackson Feb. 2 at the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Gallery, St Louis. One of St. Louis’ premier ladies of song, Anita Jackson, makes her Sheldon series debut, paying tribute to jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald. 800-916-8938.


10th Annual Hunt & Fish Outdoor Show Feb. 9-10 at Springfield Expo Center, Springfield. Listen to experts discuss deer and mushroom hunting, watch demonstrations, and shop local and regional vendors. 417-881-2231.


Pony Express Family DAY Feb. 18 at the Pony Express National Museum, St. Joseph. Family Day gives the kids a chance to step back into the 1860s job of a Pony Express Rider. You can experience the lifestyle through educational, hands-on exhibits and activities during this family fun day. 816-279-5059.

Lift Every Voice: Black History Month Celebration Feb. 23 at Powell Symphony Hall, St Louis. This annual concert celebrates African-American culture and community traditions that have influenced the history of St. Louis, as well as cities around the world. 314-534-1700.


Northland Symphony Orchestra Concert Feb. 23 at Pine Ridge Presbyterian, Kansas City. In their third concert of the season, the Northland Symphony Orchestra will feature pieces from Mendelssohn, Copland, Britten, and Dvorak. 816-945-2436.


Trio Virado Feb. 24 at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, St. Louis. Trio Virado is a fresh new collaboration of three of the most distinguished artists on their instruments of flute, viola, and guitar—Amy Porter, Juan-Miguel Hernandez, and João Luiz. 314-991-0955.


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

November/December 2018 Explore!

October 29, 2018 by , and

For NebraskaIowaKansas, and Missouri

This calendar was printed in the November/December 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


Hayrack Ride, Storytelling, and S’mores Through Nov. 10, Friday & Saturday evenings at Lied Lodge and Conference Center, Nebraska City. Arbor Day Farm’s popular fall activities include hayrack rides, cider, s’mores, and storytelling. 402-873-8733. 

Fort Atkinson Candlelight Tour Nov. 3 at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, Fort Calhoun. Visitors to the park will experience a guided tour of the fort by candlelight that reveals a mystery. Each stop along the way will unravel another part of the evening’s plot. Reservations can be made by calling 402-320-4055.

Veterans Day Nov. 11 at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, Ashland. The museum honors America’s military veterans with a special program and lunch on Veterans Day. This lunch program features posting of the colors and a keynote speaker. Veterans are encouraged to attend this event in uniform. Online RSVP required. 402-944-3100. 

Gateway Farm Expo Nov. 14 & 15 at Buffalo County Fairgrounds, Kearney. Guests will see the latest agriculture technology and services at this 49th annual expo, which will feature market analyst Sue Martin, free barbecue, and hundreds of exhibits.

Christmas at the Mansion Nov. 17-Dec. 23 at Arbor Lodge Mansion, Nebraska City. The historic 52-room mansion features vintage-inspired decorations and holiday-themed displays. 402-873-7222.

Twenty One Pilots Nov. 20 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln. This American music duo from Columbus, Ohio, brings a mix of piano, synthesizers, drums, vocals, and occasionally the ukulele and bass to the stage. 402-904-4444.

Starry Nights Christmas Tree Festival Nov. 24 & 25 at Speedway Village, Lincoln. The festival includes designer-decorated Christmas trees, pictures with Santa, a children’s workshop with crafts and activities, free holiday treats, entertainment, and raffles. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on the trees and purchase wreaths. 402-475-1303.

Starry Nights Christmas Tree Festival, Nov. 24 & 25 in Lincoln

Holiday Trolley Tour of Lights Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 30-Dec. 29 at Lied Lodge and Conference Center, Nebraska City. The Arbor Day Farm trolley will take visitors on a tour of historic Nebraska City to view the best Christmas lights. A classic Christmas book is read during the ride. 402-873-8733.

Christmas on the Prairie Dec. 1 at Scotts Bluff National Monument, Scottsbluff. This annual event includes a variety of activities that evoke a time gone by. Visitors will be able to make pioneer crafts and enjoy complimentary treats. 308-436-9700.

Fort Robinson Historical Christmas Dinner “Light Up the Fort” Dec. 1 at Buffalo Soldier Barracks, Crawford. Christmas lights installed on park buildings will be lit and guests can feast on a Christmas dinner. 308-665-2919.

Santa Goes to Space Dec. 1 at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, Ashland. Santa Claus and Star Wars (with Imperial Stormtroopers of the 501st Legion) join forces for a fun-filled family day. Young guests can visit with Santa and experience space-related booths, Star Wars characters, activities, make-and-take ornaments, and holiday music. 402-944-3100.

A Very Musical “Christine” Christmas Dec. 7-9, Brownville Concert Hall, Brownville. This annual Christmas concert features Broadway star Christine Andreas, and guests Joel Higgins and Martin Silvestri. 402-825-3331.

Christmas Cabaret Dec. 7-9 at James Arthur Vineyards, Raymond. The vineyards welcome visitors for an evening of holiday-themed songs. 402-783-5255.

Christmas Past and Present Dec. 7-9 at Stuhr Museum, Grand Island. This event features a lamplit tour of Railroad Town and live music. 308-385-5316.

Christmas at the Codys’ Fridays through Sundays, Dec. 7-23, North Platte. Buffalo Bill’s magnificent Victorian mansion is decorated for the holidays and open to the public during the Christmas season each year, as is the barn. Evening events include outdoor caroling and hayrack rides. Complimentary hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts are available. 308-535-8035.

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Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games Nov. 3 at Orpheum Theatre, Sioux City. This dance and musical performance features cutting-edge technology, including a giant flat-screen that spans the width of the stage, special effects lighting, dancing robots, and world champion acrobats. 712-244-5000.

Lighted Christmas Parade Nov. 23 in downtown Clarinda. Over 75 lighted floats decorate the Clarinda downtown square for this holiday parade. 712-542-2166.

Lighted Christmas Parade, Nov. 23 in Clarinda

Julefest Nov. 23 & 24 in Elk Horn and Kimballton. This celebration of the arrival of the Christmas season is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Events include a “Naughty or Nisse” 5K Polar Run, a pancake supper, and a concert. The Museum of Danish America and Danish Windmill will be open throughout the weekend. 712-764-7472.

Tannenbaum Forest Nov. 23-Dec. 16 at the Amana Colonies. The colonies will be decorated with more than 40 real Christmas trees. Guests can visit Santa, stop by St. Nick’s Cafe for a warm drink, and see the 17-foot, German-style Christmas pyramid. 319-622-7622.

Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band Nov. 27 at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines. Inducted to both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Seger has earned 13 platinum and seven multiplatinum-certified sales awards. 515-564-8000.

Sinterklaas Day Dec. 1 in downtown Orange City. Holland’s version of Santa arrives on his white horse during a large parade. Other activities include Dutch games and a puppet show. 712-707-4510.

Norwegian Christmas Celebration Dec. 1 at The Vesterheim National Norwegian-American Museum and Heritage Center, Decorah. This lively day of events includes Scandinavian holiday traditions, crafts, music, a movie, and other treats. 563-382-9681.

Norwegian Christmas Celebration, Dec. 1 in Decorah

Christmas in Kalona Dec. 1 in downtown Kalona. Children can fill their “walking stockings” with gifts from local merchants, have their picture taken with Santa, decorate cookies and ornaments, take a cookie walk, tour churches, and ride in a carriage. 319-656-2660.

Old World Christmas Market Dec. 1 & 2 at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, Cedar Rapids. Specialty imports and handmade gifts will be available, along with seasonal treats, live music, and dance performances. 319-362-8500.

Old World Christmas Market, Dec. 1 & 2 in Cedar Rapids

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker Dec. 3 at Orpheum Theatre, Sioux City. This performance presents world-class Russian artists, hand-painted sets, Russian snow maidens, and jubilant nesting dolls. Great Russian Nutcracker brings the Christmas spirit to life for all ages. 712-244-5000.

Finding Neverland Dec. 26 at Orpheum Theatre, Sioux City. Based on the film of the same name, this show teaches people that—with a little bit of pixie dust and a lot of faith—nothing is impossible and the wonder of childhood lasts forever. 712-244-5000.

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Chili & Soup Festival Nov. 3 in downtown Hutchinson. This annual festival features a variety of soups and chilis, which can be voted on by attendees, along with music, entertainment, and shopping in the downtown area. 620-694-2677.

Find the Wine Nov. 3 at Walters’ Pumpkin Patch, Burns. Snacks and samples of wine will be available, but the guests must try to locate samples hidden within the corn maze. 21+ only. 316-320-4150.

German Christmas Market Dec. 1 at Riverfront Community Center, Leavenworth. This  indoor Christkindlmarkt includes a variety of handmade crafts for sale, German food and beer, and a silent auction. 913-682-0387.

Hyde Park Luminaries Dec. 22 at Hyde Park, Hutchinson. Hyde Park neighborhood celebrates its 35th annual Christmas Luminaria with visits from Santa, music, horse-drawn wagon rides, cider, and cookies. 620-694-9310.

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Brian Wilson: Greatest Hits Live Nov. 13 at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City. Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson will perform his greatest hits, with special guests Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. 816-994-7222.

2018 NCAA Hall of Fame Weekend Nov. 18-20 in Kansas City. The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Induction will take place on Sunday at the Arvest Bank Theater. The Hall of Fame Classic Tournament will follow over subsequent days at Sprint Center. 888-929-7849.

Christmas in the Sky Nov. 21 at Longview Lake Beach, Lee’s Summit. Musicians and dancers will perform as attendees witness the arrival of Santa in a mule-drawn sleigh, the first gift of Christmas, and a holiday fireworks show. 816-503-4800.

St. Charles Christmas Traditions Nov. 23-Dec. 24. Locations vary, St. Charles. In addition to the 80-plus characters who are always “making seasons bright,” there are a host of other activities in St. Charles at Christmastime.  800-366-2427.

St. Charles Christmas Traditions, Nov. 23-Dec. 24 in St. Charles

Downtown KC Optimist Holiday Festival Dec. 1 & 2 at American Royal/Governors Building, Kansas City. This family- and pet-friendly event will feature a Christmas cookie contest, raffle, and pet costume contest. 816-221-9800.

Candlelight Homes Tour Dec. 1 & 2, throughout Weston. Historic homes in this antebellum city will be open and the streets will be decorated with luminaries. Father Christmas will be present. 816-640-2909.

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

September/October 2018 Explore!


The Museum Builders: A Story of Fossils and Friendship Through summer 2019 at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall, 645 N. 14th St. Visitors can learn about the history of paleontology and the origins of the State Museum and Morrill Hall. The exhibit also previews new exhibits that are under construction, linking the past to the future. 402-472-2642.

Metallica Sept. 6 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Dr. This heavy-metal band is known for their hits “Until It Sleeps” and “Enter Sandman.” The event includes a pre-show party with a DJ, comedy show, fan interaction, and giveaways. 402-904-4444.

Plattsmouth Harvest Festival Sept. 6-9, various locations, Plattsmouth. Once heralded as a corn festival in the 1930s, this four-day festival has evolved over time into a multi-faceted extravaganza that includes carnival rides, parades, a talent show, tractor pull, and firework show. 402-516-4914.

Legacy of the Plains Harvest Festival Sept. 15-16 at Legacy of the Plains Museum, Gering. Antique farm machinery is the attraction at this festival, which features parades of horse-drawn equipment, hay baling, corn shelling, and kids activities. 308-436-1989.

Lincoln Calling Sept. 17-22, various locations. This emerging and affordable music festival put on by Hear Nebraska demonstrates an array of rising artists across multiple venues in downtown Lincoln. This year’s talent includes Parquet Courts, Waxahatchee, and Lion Babe. 402-429-2642.

Kevin Farley with special guest Richard Reese Sept. 20-22 at The Comedy Loft, 701 P St., No. 205. This alumnus of Second City in Chicago, and brother of the late Chris Farley, has appeared in films such as The Waterboy and TV shows such as Drunk History. 402-438-5638.

Annual Ogallala Indian Summer Rendezvous Sept. 20-22 at Rendezvous Square, Ogallala. For over 30 years, the Ogallala community has united in its tradition of celebrating their colorful past with live music featuring an Eagles’ cover band, a chili cook-off, a car and bike show, and much more fun. 308-284-4066.

AppleJack Festival Sept. 21-23, various locations, Nebraska City. Annually drawing in 60,000-80,000 people, this festival prides itself on being a USA Today Top 10 Fall Harvest Festival by celebrating apple harvest season with everything apple: apple pie, apple cider, candy apples, caramel apples, and  apple fritters. 402-873-8757.

Norfolk Oktoberfest Family Festival Sept. 21-22 in downtown Norfolk. In its seventh year, this year’s festival will include two days of live music, German food, inflatables, a Husker tailgate, bucket pong tournament, stein holding competition, and a beer garden. Included is free transportation from all hotels and free cab rides home at the end of the night. 402-371-4862.

Wakefield Hot Air Balloon and Craft Festival Sept. 21-23 along Fourth and Main streets, Wakefield. This annual fall festival celebrates the seasonal change with a focus on the sky and barbecue, as people gather to send hot air balloons out into the horizon to go along with other fun activities such as a parade, fun run, car show, and a vendor fair. 402-369-2165.

Lincoln Arts Festival Sept. 22-23 at SouthPointe Pavilions, 27th and Pine Lake Road. 88+ artists from across the nation will be showing and selling a variety of original art pieces in styles and prices to suit all tastes and budgets. Live music from Lincoln Calling bands, plus food, beverages and free art activities for kids are also featured at this community event. 402-434-2787.

An Evening with Leslie Odom Jr. Oct. 5 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St. This Tony-Award-winning actor is known for his portrayal of Aaron Burr in the original Broadway production of Hamilton. 402-474-2131.

Great Pumpkin Festival Oct. 7 along Main Street, Crete. Come to Crete for some autumn family fun, including hayrack rides, carnival games, a farmers’ market, a petting zoo, and the highly anticipated Great Pumpkin giveaway.

Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities 2018 Oct. 9 at Lied Center for the Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St. This annual event was established to demonstrate the importance of the humanities. This year’s lecture, Tumult, Tragedy, and Hope: America in 1968 from a Half-Century’s Perspective, will be presented by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham. 402-474-2131.

Prairie Lights Film Festival Oct. 12-14 at The Grand Theatre, Grand Island. In an effort to promote growth and networking opportunities for Nebraska filmmakers, this three-day festival features the state’s best talent with guests including Unemployed writer Jeremy Lubash. 308-381-2667.

Thomas Rhett with Brett Young and Midland Oct. 13 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Dr.  Rhett has produced 10 No. 1 hit singles on the country music charts, including “Marry Me,” which peaked in March 2018. Young is known for his single “Mercy,” and Midland was nominated for two Grammy Awards for their song, “Drinkin’ Problem.” 402-904-4444.

Harvest Moon Fall Festival Oct. 13 in Hemingford. Contests for goat roping, punkin’ chunkin’, home-brewed beer, and homemade wine are a few of the events that can be found at this annual event, which celebrates all things fall.

Boo at the Zoo Oct. 26-30 at Lincoln Children’s Zoo, 1222 S. 27th St. Culminating over 40 trick-or-treat booths with a reputation of being Lincoln’s largest Halloween event, this family-friendly spook donates all of its proceeds to the benefit of the animals in the zoo. 402-475-6741.

Super Heroes Day Oct. 27 at Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, Ashland. Guests are encouraged to come in costume and trick-or-treat at various stations while learning about different modes of transportation. The event will include muscle cars, aircraft, and trains. 402-944-3100.


Walnut Antique Fall Festival Sept. 15-16 in downtown Walnut. Antique lovers and dealers from far and wide will converge in this Iowa town for one weekend. Special antiques to look out for include Red Wing Pottery. 641-862-3239.

World Food & Music Festival Sept. 15-17 in downtown Des Moines.  Entering its 14th year, this festival centers around showcasing international cuisine, craft beer, live music, and performances. 515-286-4950.

Something Rotten! Sept. 22 at Adler Theatre, Davenport. This obnoxiously hilarious Broadway musical set in 1595 tells the story of two struggling playwrights trying to make a name for themselves in an era dominated by William Shakespeare. 563-326-8500.

Coca-Cola Days Sept. 28-29 in Atlantic, Iowa. This convention is a celebration of all things Coca-Cola. View memorabilia and taste the real thing. 712-243-3017.

Oktoberfest Oct. 5-7 at the Amana Colonies, Amana. The celebration kicks off with an official keg-tapping ceremony that leads into live German folk music, brat-eating contests, rigorous rugby matches, and a parade encapsulating the entire celebration.  319-622-7622.

Pumpkinfest Oct. 6-7 on Main St., Anamosa. Celebrate the fall foliage in the pumpkin capital of Iowa, as Anamosa hosts its annual street festival full of games for all ages, food vendors, a parade, and the Ryan Norlin Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off. 319-462-4879.

Scenic Drive Festival Oct. 12-14 in towns in Van Buren County. This festival encompasses one of Iowa’s largest flea markets in a three-day event sprawling throughout rural towns of Southeastern Iowa. 319-293-7111.

Halloweenapalooza Oct. 12-13 at Hotel Ottumwa, Ottumwa. Centered around Ottumwa’s ancient, haunted hotel, this two-day festival showcases a wide collection of independent horror films, costume contests, and a zombie walk in a fun, communal environment. 641-799-9770

Madison County Covered Bridge Festival Oct. 13-14 in Winterset. This year’s festival celebrates scientist George Washington Carver, who lived in Winterset 150 years ago. Actor Paxton Williams will impersonate Carver throughout the weekend, and activities will focus on Carver and his works. The covered bridges, which were made famous in the book and movie titled Bridges of Madison County, will be open through the weekend. 515-462-1185.

The Capitol Steps Oct. 16 at Englert Theatre, Iowa City.  Combining satire and current events, come and brush up on your politics by watching Capitol Steps imitate Washington’s most popular political personalities. 319-688-2653.

Osborne Heritage Days Oct. 12-14 in Osborne’s Pioneer Village, near Elkader. Participate in a weekend full of historic fun such as cricket games, buffalo chip throws, a chili cook-off, and a pioneer church service. 563-245-1516.


Dancefestopia Sep. 6-9 at Emerald City, La Cygne. Mirroring the EDM, DJ frenzy of Chicago’s Spring Awakening festival, this four-day event secludes listeners out in the wilderness for a wild dance party of electronic acts like Adventure Club, Zed’s Dead, and Flux Pavilion.

Kansas State Fair Sept. 7-16 at Kansas State Fairgrounds, Hutchinson. This statewide celebration promotes and showcases Kansas culture with 10 days of events including live entertainment from acclaimed artists like Trace Adkins and revered bands like the Beach Boys. 620-669-3600.

Walnut Valley Festival Sept. 12-16 at Winfield Fairgrounds, Winfield. Evolving from a two-day event to a five-day event, this festival celebrates music with family-friendly entertainment on four main stages while showcasing a large arts-and-crafts fair. The big attraction, however, is the 30 musical acts, who can compete in eight different contests. 620-221-3250.

Ciderfest Sept. 29-30, and Oct. 6-7, at the Louisburg Cider Mill, Louisburg. This annual fall festival is celebrating its 40th year with a set of unique activities for the family—from cider and doughnut-making to pony riding to exploring a corn maze and pumpkin patch. 913-837-5202.


Irish Fest Aug. 31- Sept. 2 at Crown Center, Kansas City. Noted as one of the top Irish festivals in the nation, this Celtic celebration showcases over 40 traditional Irish bands on seven stages and over 20 Irish heritage workshops and exhibits.

SantaCaliGon Days Festival Sept. 1-3 on Independence Square, Independence. This annual Labor Day festival commemorates the origins of Santa Fe and California, and the pioneers who ventured west on the Oregon Trail with a downtown mirroring the 19th century Great Plains, along with live entertainment, numerous vendors, and an authentic blacksmith. 816-974-7333.

Harry Potter In Concert Sept. 5-7, 9 at the Kauffman Center, Kansas City. Transport to the wizarding world of Harry Potter to relive J.K. Rowling’s epic tale in cinematic form (with a live symphony performing John Williams’ score). 816-471-0400.

Taylor Swift Sept. 8 at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City. Hot off her polarizing, unconventional album, Reputation, Swift is touring throughout North America building a new reputation, one that distances from a past full of catchy love songs. 816-920-4849.

Midwest Tea Festival Sept. 8-9 at Ararat Shrine Temple, Kansas City. Come for an entire day dedicated to tea. From a multitude of tastings and vendors, to culture and history, to preparation—this festival will teach participants everything they want to know about tea. 816-923-1995.

Harvest Hootenanny Sept. 21-22 at Mark Twain Cave Complex, Hannibal. This festival celebrates the town’s unique scenery and rich history with a family-friendly, two-day event that includes a petting zoo, a scenic 1K kids dash through the campground, wine from the local Cave Hollow West Winery, and numerous craft beer vendors.

With a strong sense of community pride, this festival features an acclaimed farmers’ market, downtown parade, an arts-and-crafts show, and three stages of live entertainment. 913-344-8656.

Death Cab for Cutie Oct. 2 at Arvest Bank Theater at The Midland, Kansas City. With a new album in the works, this 2000s indie gem is best known for their emotive songwriting and cross-genre discography. 816-283-9900.

Greater Kansas City Japan Festival Oct. 6 at Johnson County Community College, Overland Park. This 21st annual festival brings multiple ethnic groups together to learn all about Japanese culture with social, cultural, and educational exchanges.

Weston Applefest Oct. 6-7, various locations downtown, Weston. Celebrating its 30-year reputation as one of Missouri’s best fall festivals, this weekend in Weston is home to a downtown parade, over 80 arts-and-crafts booths, apple-butter churning demonstrations, and lots of apple-based pastries. 816-640-2909.

Foo Fighters Oct. 12 at the Sprint Center, Kansas City. Lead singer Dave Grohl and company pack a thunderous, face-melting punch as the rock group returns to North America from their European tour. 816-949-7100.

Kamasi Washington Oct. 29 at The Truman, Kansas City. Best known for his tenor sax playing, this rising jazz master composes an ensemble of progressive and spontaneous music in a multitude of songs (including work on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly). 816-205-8560.

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

This calendar was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

July/August 2018 Explore!

June 20, 2018 by and


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Event times and details may change. 

Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

Seeking Counsel of the Wilderness in Summer

May 20, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Spencer Hawkins has encountered bears 24 times in his life.

One encounter happened when he woke up early to fish. Pausing to change his lure, he says, “something felt wrong. I turned over my shoulder, and from where I had just walked, a grizzly bear was walking into the water right at me.” With nowhere to go in deepening river, Hawkins called out for fellow camper Ben Bissell, who immediately came to the rescue, bedecked in nothing but boots, boxer shorts, and a shotgun. Then, the bear picked up a dead salmon from the riverbank and simply walked away.

The vast expanse of nature can be intimidating for some, but for Hawkins, it is his summer home. In the remaining nine months of the year, Hawkins is a counselor at Andersen Middle School. He enjoys telling his students about his travels, enriching their lives with his stories while imbuing them with a respect for nature and its beasts. 

Hawkins’ thirst for adventure started in college, when he and three friends began traveling to national parks in Utah and Montana to rock climb. One friend wanted to fish in the location of the film, A River Runs Through It, which gave birth to their new pastime. This gave way to a rock climbing trip to Devil’s Tower in northeast Wyoming.

The friends’ first big trip to Alaska was prompted by a friend about to enter medical school. They spent 35 days in the wilderness, relying on nothing but each other and their intuition for survival. Hawkins says, “We were really remote, so we had no help. You couldn’t call on your cellphone, we didn’t have anything that worked, so we just relied on each other, caught and ate a lot of fish, moved camp, got rained on, made a fire, and [moved to a] new camp.” Floating down the river for three weeks, the explorers ate only the plants available and fish they caught, which lead to noticeable weight loss.

Fishing has probably made them more attractive to bears. Once, while Hawkins and his travel companions were sleeping, they heard a rustling outside of their tent, and the sound of something rummaging around the surrounding brush. Hawkins, springing from his tent suddenly, saw a 500-pound black bear that had been rifling through the camper’s equipment take off through the forest, snapping trees in half like they were twigs. Luckily, Hawkins recalls, the bear hadn’t found their inflatable raft full of supplies down at the riverbank, which could have easily been destroyed by the massive beast, stranding them in the Alaskan wilderness with no way to call for help. 

Bears aren’t the only animal Hawkins has seen. While cooking freshly caught fish in the dark one night, Hawkins heard noise coming from the other side of the campsite. He shone a flashlight into the woods, where about 10 pairs of glowing eyes stared back at him from behind the foliage. A pack of wolves had come to investigate the culinary aroma. Following a one-minute stare-down that seemed like ten minutes, the winner of the fish supper was the humans.

Hawkins’ days of asking friends to run after a bear in their underwear may be behind him. These days, his trips tend to be more family-friendly, although he continues to frequent national parks.

“When you are rock climbing you have to focus only on what you are doing and the rocks and trees around you. The worries of the world, your everyday life, you don’t have time to worry about.”

This article was originally printed in the Spring/Summer 2018 edition of Family Guide.

2018 May/June Explore!

May 2, 2018 by


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

2018 March/April Explore!


Marvelous Maples Through March 10 at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, 611 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City. Guests will learn how maple syrup is made and be able to sample sap straight from the tree as well as other popular syrups. The event will end with a campfire and fun tree crafts. Reservations should be made on the website prior to the event. 402-873-8717.

Wings Over the Platte Through April 8 at Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, 3133 W. Hwy 34, Grand Island. Tour the only art exhibit dedicated to life on the prairie. The exhibit will feature artwork from Sally Jurgensmier. 308-385-5316.

Rodeo Grand Island March 1-3 at Fonner Park, 700 E. Stolley Park Road, Grand Island. This Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association event features team roping, barrel racing, and Xtreme Bull Riding (Saturday). 308-382-4515.

Gene Coon: From Beatrice, Nebraska, to Star Trek and Beyond March 2-3 at Gage County Museum, 101 N. Second St., Beatrice. Honor the career and life of TV writer and Nebraska native Gene Coon (with featured speaker, author David Gerrold). 402-228-1679.

P!nk March 6 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Fans can hear P!nk perform songs from her new album, Beautiful Trauma. 402-904-4444.

Kinky Boots March 9-11 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. This musical features songs from award-winning artist Cyndi Lauper. The production celebrates the joys of friendship and the power of perspective. 402-472-4747.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. March 14-17 in downtown O’Neill. Celebrate “The World’s Largest Shamrock” with 7,000 friends in O’Neill. Festivities begin Wednesday with the Irish Walk of Fame and the painting of the town’s beloved shamrock. Other activities include “Getting the Horse Green,” a free concert, music in pubs, Irish dancers, and a Saturday parade. 402-336-2355.

The Irish Tenors March 16 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. This trio has played at Carnegie and Radio City Music halls, and now they are coming to the Lied Center. The Irish Tenors will perform classic Irish tunes with a live orchestra. 402-472-4747.

Roy and Rosemary March 16 at Merryman Performing Arts Center, 225 W. 22nd St., Kearney. Roy and Rosemary have traveled the world playing the violin and piano, respectively. 308-627-2717.

Shamrock Shuffle 5k Walk/Run/Crawl March 17 at Chuckles Bar, 513 4th St., Fairbury. Come dressed up in leprechaun gear and sip on green adult beverages during the race. Stay for the post-race celebration and enjoy live music, giveaways, and food. 402-729-3000.

Let it Be March 20 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. Relive some of the Beatles most iconic moments in this international Broadway production. 402-472-4747.

Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival March 22-25. Multiple locations, Kearney. Join the festivities as thousands of Sandhill cranes migrate through Nebraska. Speakers include Richard Beilfuss, president and CEO of the International Crane Foundation. 308-468-5282.

The Grand Comic Con March 23-24 at The Grand Theatre, 316 W. Third St., Grand Island. The opening ceremony for this event will be held at the historic Grand Theatre, with the majority of activities occurring at the Liederkranz Ballroom, located at 401 W. First St. in downtown Grand Island. 308-381-2667.

Lorde March 24 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Guests will hear Lorde perform songs from her new album, Melodrama. 402-904-4444.

Foreigner March 31 at Heartland Events Center, 700 E. Stolley Park Road, Grand Island. Catch the ’80s band known for their timeless anthems and sing-along shows. 308-382-4515.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago April 3 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performances are infused with unparalleled creativity and innovation. The performance will feature dance inspired by jazz, modern, ballet, and theatrical styles. 402-472-4747.

She Kills Monsters April 5-8 and 12-15 at Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Miller Theater, 2710 N. 48th St., Lincoln. After the death of her sister, Agnes must learn how to embrace her inner geek and warrior as she seeks refuge in Dungeons and Dragons. 402-465-2384.

Easter Weekend March 26-27 at Arbor Day Farm, 2611 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City. Arbor Day Farm offers an Easter getaway that is sure to become a tradition for many families. The Easter Family Fun Package includes a stay at the Lied Lodge, a trip up the 50-foot tall tree house, and an Easter egg hunt. 402-873-8717.

Monster Jam Triple Threat Series April 13-14 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Enjoy the thrill of watching monster truck drivers run over the dirt track at the arena and compete to win first prize. Meet the drivers and see the trucks up close on Saturday at the Pit Party. The Pit Party and main event require separate admission. 402-904-4444.

Adams & Cooley Rat Pack Jazz April 15 at Wood River High School Theater 13800 W. Wood River Road, Wood River. Adams and Cooley will serenade audience members with classic jazz standards from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and more. 308-583-2606.

The Illusionists April 20-21 at Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., Lincoln. Coming from Broadway, five of the world’s leading illusionists perform together in this exciting and suspenseful production. 402-472-4747.

Motorcycle Show & Swap Meet April 21-22 at AG Park, 822 15th St., Columbus. Ride for a good cause. The Star City Bikers Against Child Abuse will be on hand collecting donations. 605-545-3602.

Brad Paisley April 26 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Enjoy Brad Paisley perform his new album as a part of his “Weekend Warrior Tour.” The concert will feature country music guests Dustin Lynch, Chase Bryant, and Lindsay Ell. 402-904-4444.

Arbor Day Celebration April 27-29 at Arbor Day Farm, 2611 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City. Celebrate this holiday where it all began at Arbor Day Farm. All across this 260-acre campus, opportunities abound to play, learn, taste, and shop, all in celebration of trees. 402-873-8717.


Gridiron Glory: Pro Football Hall Of Fame Exhibit Through June at Putnam Museum, 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport. The largest traveling exhibition in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s history, the 6,000-square-foot exhibit features hundreds of artifacts—many exhibited for the first time—from the Hall of Fame’s collection, including a 500-square-foot area dedicated to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. 563-324-1933.

Iowa Deer Classic March 2-4 at Iowa Events Center, 703 Third St., Des Moines. Hunters from far and wide are welcome to join the Iowa Deer Classic. This event features hunting seminars, exhibitors, archery tips, and much more. 319-232-0218.

Momix’s Opus Cactus March 3 at Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines. Guests will see iconic landscapes associated with the American Southwest reimagined by illusionistic style dance. 515-246-2300.

Riverdance March 4 at Orpheum Theatre, 528 S. Pierce St., Sioux City. Enjoy an evening of Irish dance and music in this high-energy performance. This event welcomes all age groups. 712-244-5000.

Chicago March 9-11 at Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines. See the award-winning musical Chicago brought to life. Guests will see this musical performed with everyone’s favorite songs and dance routines. 515-246-2300.

Miranda Lambert March 15 at Wells Fargo Arena, 233 Center St., Des Moines. See Miranda Lambert perform songs from her new album, The Weight Of These Wings, as a part of her “Livin’ Like Hippies Tour.” 515-564-8000.

Little Big Town March 24 at Tyson Events Center, 401 Gordon Drive, Sioux City. Guests will get to experience Little Big Town perform live as a part of their “The Breakers Tour.” 800-593-2228.

ChildServe’s Bubble Ball April 7 at Iowa Events Center 703 Third St., Des Moines. See models walk the runway in Bubble Wrap fashion created by designers, artists, and creative professionals. Guests are welcome to enjoy a meal, music, and other surprises. 515-564-8000.

Freestyle Wrestling World Cup April 7-8 at Carver Hawkeye Arena, 1 Elliott Drive, Iowa City. Cheer on the best wrestling talent in the world as the top eight qualifying international dual teams step foot into Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Team USA will take on Georgia, Azerbaijan, Japan, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Iran. 319-335-9431.

Les Miserables April 17-22 at Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines. Guests will see the classic story of Les Miserables performed with the musical’s most popular songs. The production will feature a new set inspired by Victor Hugo’s paintings. 515-246-2300.

Take a Bite April 20-22 at the Amana Colonies, I-80 Exit 225, Amana. This three-day food fest includes cooking education, hands-on instruction, samplings, and special menu items and dinners at Amana Colonies food businesses. 319-622-7622.

Festival of Cheese April 21 at Living History Farms, 11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale. A festival of all things cheese. Sign up for a 30-minute class exploring fondue or cheese boards. Advance ticket purchase suggested. 515-278-5286.

West Side Story April 21-22 at Orpheum Theatre, 528 S. Pierce St., Sioux City. The Sioux City Symphony Orchestra will perform music from West Side Story. The performance will feature choreography with a digitally designed set. 712-244-5000.


Arlo Guthrie, featuring Abe and Sarah Lee Guthrie. March 10 at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park. Folk legend Arlo Guthrie is coming to Kansas with his children to present the “Re: Generations” tour. 913-469-4445.

2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, First and Second Rounds March 15 and 17 at Intrust Bank Arena, 500 E. Waterman St, Wichita. Host Wichita State University welcomes teams competing in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. 855-755-7328.

Kegs ’n’ Eggs April 7 at Kansas City Renaissance Festival, 633 N. 130th St. Bonner Springs. While sipping on craft beers at this adult-only event, guests can hunt for eggs and win prizes at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival grounds. 913-721-2110.


Rigoletto March 3, 7, 9, and 11 at Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. Be prepared to shed a tear at Verdi’s masterpiece tale. Sung in Italian with English subtitles. 816-994-7222.

National Geographic Live—Christina Mittermeier: Standing at the Water’s Edge. March 6 at Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. Christina Mittermeier, National Geographic photographer, will show photos illustrating the connection between bodies of water and indigenous people groups. 816-994-7222.

Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament March 7-10 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. March Madness comes to the Midwest. Watch the best of the Big 12 face off as the race to the Final Four begins. 816-949-7100.

Lady Be Good—Celebrating Women in Jazz March 9 at Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. The program will highlight great female practitioners of jazz, with special guests. 816-994-7222.

The Eagles March 19 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Spend An Evening With the Eagles with this classic rock group on their latest tour. 816-949-7100.

2018 NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional March 23 and 25 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Cheer on your preferred team during March Madness. The winner of this tournament will advance to the Final Four. 816-949-7100.

Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream March 28-April 1 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Celebrate what’s possible as the adventures of five daring Disney heroines spark the courage inside everyone. Moana, Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Belle, and Cinderella make their wishes come true, with some help from their friends. 816-949-7100.

Screenland at the Symphony: Back to the Future April 20 and 21 at Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. See this ’80s classic film projected on a large screen and the score performed with a live symphony. 816-994-7222.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.