Tag Archives: fall

Foxes at Play

October 10, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Charlie Fox spent years on the road working for rock bands as a tour manager, front-of-house sound engineer, and production manager.

For much of his career, all that time away from home wasn’t a problem. He was single and could go wherever, whenever.

Fox was already used to changing his location.

“I was a military brat, so we moved around a bunch when I was a kid,” he says. His father, a native of O’Neill, Nebraska, was in the Air Force and had long worked toward getting back to his home state.

“When I was a junior in high school [in 2001], he got stationed at Offutt, ” Fox says.

Teenaged Charlie was a drummer in a couple of bands that played the Ranch Bowl and a Papillion venue called The Rock. “Nothing that ever really went anywhere outside of Omaha, or really even drew a whole lot of people to the Ranch Bowl,” he says.

Yet the experience helped spark his interest in recording and sound production.

After high school, he enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Omaha for a year before transferring to UNL.

Though neither school had a live sound program, his time in Lincoln proved beneficial. It was there that he began working at Midwest Sound & Lighting Inc., where a co-worker who owned the public-address system at Duffy’s Tavern gave him opportunities to run the sound board there.

“It was a great place to start really honing my skills,” Fox says. “That was my first live sound gig.”

The experience led him to a career working for rock bands including Cage the Elephant, Needtobreathe, Yellowcard, Mayday Parade, and The Used.

For more than a decade, from 2005-2017, he was on the road for six to nine months out of the year.

“Even though technically my residence was Omaha, I was rarely in town,” he says.

Time went on, and, on his 28th birthday (Aug. 11, 2013) he met Beth, now his wife of three years. Beth spent several weekends on the road with Fox.

“We had a rule that we didn’t go more than three weeks without seeing each other,” Fox says. “So either I would go home or she would fly out to see me.”

Bothersome though the distance may have been, Beth enjoyed the perks of being part of roadie’s life.

“She had only been in four or five states prior to meeting me,” Fox says. “She’s now doubled, or tripled, that.”

Fox also enjoyed the side benefits of being in rock ’n’ roll. The couple state one or their favorite experiences was spending a week at a resort in Hawaii, courtesy of singer/songwriter Mat Kearney, for whom Fox was then working.

“We still talk about that trip, how much fun and relaxation we had that week,” Fox says.

Another of Beth’s favorite trips was going to New York City when Fox was working for Yellowcard. She had never been to the Big Apple before, and Fox wiggled a day off into his schedule to take her sightseeing.

As time went on, being away for weeks at a time became increasingly bothersome, and by 2015, Fox knew the gig was about up.

“When I got married, we had already started talking about what was going to happen with our future,” he says. “Was I going to stay on the road? Would I eventually get off the road? Would we move out of Omaha? In the line of work that I was in with touring, I wasn’t sure that there was going to be a possibility of staying in the music industry and in Omaha.”

At the time, Fox didn’t see a lot of Omaha-area openings.

“I just kind of assumed I would have to move to Nashville, or L.A., or New York,” he says.

As it turned out, that wasn’t necessary.

In May 2017, opportunity knocked when Omaha Performing Arts had an opening for a booking manager.

“I had relationships with agents and promoters from all across the country from my touring days, but really hadn’t done a whole lot of booking,” he says.

Yet Fox wasn’t without booking experience. Earlier in his career, he had booked empty calendar spots at The Rock with local bands.

At Omaha Performing Arts, he is booking at a national level.

“I’m reaching out to agents for these national bands and trying to bring them in myself,” Fox says. “We do work with outside promoters as well on occasion, so I am still using those relationships with regional and national promoters to try and bring the highest quality of artists that we can into our venues.”

He says his focus has been to expand what Omaha Performing Arts offers.

“One of the first shows that I booked here when I came on was St. Vincent (Annie Clark), which I think probably shocked a lot of people when Annie was playing here as opposed to a traditional rock club. But that’s what the agent was looking for, and I think that as St. Vincent had grown, that was where her career was going to. She needed a larger venue.”

He says Omaha Performing Arts venues—the Holland Performing Arts Center and Orpheum Theater—occupy a particular market niche for a mid-level space. One of his goals is to maximize the use of Omaha Performing Arts venues by artists who might not otherwise play Omaha as their popularity increases.

“A lot of artists, they play the small clubs, and then they kind of disappear from Omaha for a few years for a lack of venue space,” he says. “Maybe they play in Kansas City or Des Moines or Chicago. My goal is to try and get those artists to keep coming here so people can see them and not have to wait until they’re big enough to be playing in the arenas.”

In addition to career satisfaction, Fox’s work gives him an opportunity to come home each night to his wife and Theodore, the couple’s nearly 2-year-old son. Beth, now a stay-at-home mom, is expecting the couple’s second child.

“Working with Omaha Performing Arts has been an amazing experience,” he says. “Being able to come home every day at the end of the day and see my family, to sleep in my own bed, to have dinner with my wife and son every night…that wasn’t possible in my old career.”

Visit omahaperformingarts.org for more information about Charlie and the artists he is booking for OPA.

This article was printed in the Fall 2018 edition of Family Guide.

Clockwise from top: Charlie, 
Beth, and Theodore Fox

A Seasonal Step Up

October 3, 2018 by
Photography by John Gawley

This fall, there will be plenty of time to cruise the streets and check out reddening leaves and autumnal lawn displays. But you might just want to stop, roll down your windows, and take a closer look when you head by Tim Dymek’s home in the Aksarben neighborhood. 

Last fall, pumpkins and decorative gourds covetously took up the front garden bed, decorating the side of Dymek’s front walk. Yellow, pink, and orange chrysanthemums expertly played along. A fall wreath with a pop of bright orange gourds tied his small front porch to the rest of the display. More miniature gourds sprawled up and down Dymek’s steps, and gorgeous asters and mums hung lazily from oversized black pots. For Dymek, the goal of his front lawn is to provide something good to gander at. 

“When I drive around and I see somebody that has a really nice house…I’m always attracted to that,” Dymek says. “Things look much more inviting when you walk up to a house and it looks nice from the outside.”

With a change in temperature comes a change of mood. Each season, for the last decade or so, he mounts a new display. In winter, there might be evergreen and birch branches bedecking the facade. As the warmth of spring settles in, the flowers warm up too. Impatiens, begonias, and other colorful flowers all rise to greet the heat beginning in early May. 

Stroll around the back of Dymek’s home and there are more of the same eye-catching arrangements transforming his back deck into an inviting oasis. 

Tucked quietly back from the street, his partially hidden porch allows him to lounge, keep an eye on his 1-year-old German shepherd, Olga, and enjoy a cool drink with friends. White cloth patio chairs with brightly colored striped pillows intermingle with potted clusters of petunias and marigolds, arranged just the way Dymek likes it. He selects colorful items, things that will pop against the dark slate gray siding of his house. 

“I just want things to be comfortable,” he says.  

 Dymek has been making changes to his neat, tidy, eclectic home since he first purchased it more than 25 years ago. Before buying, he visited the house a few times as a party guest. When the owner decided to sell the 1940s home, she called Dymek personally to offer it to him. He bought it that same night. 

“I never looked at another house,” he says. 

When Dymek began work on the home, it was kind of a clean slate. He livened it up, giving it a cottage-like feel with cobblestone pathways and, of course, his signature lawn displays.

Dymek’s house serves as an outlet for his creativity. His background is in commercial art; it’s what he studied in college. His paintings cover the walls of his home. But within his creative lawn displays, there is also an air of fastidiousness. Colors coordinate, edges align, and everything always seems to be in just the right place. The playful but meticulous nature of his outdoor arrangements reflect the aesthetic of the rest of the home. 

“I like things to be tidy,” he says. “I guess I run kind of a tight ship.”

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


September 16, 2018 by and
Photography by Bill Sitzmann and contributed

The origins of the first homecoming celebration are unclear. Baylor University, Southwestern University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Missouri have all made claims, dating back to around 1910, that they originated the concept. 

Regardless of when and where it started at the college level, within a few decades high schools across the country were hosting fall celebrations tied to a football game and dance that welcomed graduates back to visit their alma maters.

Although certain traditional elements like the election of royalty and a pre-game pep rally can be found at nearly all homecomings, among local schools, there’s no one right way to celebrate this event. 

“We do quite a few different things; we’ve made homecoming more into a weeklong celebration rather than a Friday night celebration at a football game,” says Ralston High School Spirit Squads Sponsor Jordan Engel. 

Volleyball and softball games are incorporated, a “Mr. RHS” pageant for male students is a popular tradition, “spirit week” activities, and a pep rally are part of the fun, Engel explains. The middle school hosts its own spirit week concurrently, and in past years the school has organized activities for the residents of Ralston from a recreational fun run to a bonfire with s’mores. “We try to change it up each year for families of the students and the community,” she says. 

Jeremy Maskel, Ralston School District’s director of external relations and engagement, says the community involvement is especially important for the small, close-knit city. 

“I’m not native to the area but when I joined the district it really struck me—the amount of alumni who continue to live in district and send their own children to Ralston [High School],” he says. “That intergenerational pride is something I haven’t seen in any other school community I’ve been connected to. Last year we did our first alumni and family tailgate before the homecoming [football] game and we’re looking for ways we can continue to bring alumni in the community back to really celebrate the district and the high school during that week.”

Westside High School has made its homecoming week a districtwide event, says Meagan Van Gelder, a member of the board of education and immediate past-president of Westside Alumni Association. She was also the 1987 Westside homecoming queen.

“Part of our goal is to keep the connection alive for our graduations, so we have tried to create a pathway for alumni to return home, and one way we do that is [with] a homecoming tailgate the Friday before the football game. In the past we had it in the circular area of the parking lot. Recently we have moved it to the grassy area on the alumni house with a nice buffet dinner. There is a parade in the neighborhood around the high school. There is a pep rally that follows the parade, and [that] is when they announce the homecoming court. There are fireworks after the game.”

Millard School District has three high schools, and each organizes its own homecoming activities. Millard West Principal Greg Tiemann says, “We’ve kept the week relatively the same since the building opened in 1995.” In conjunction with the designated football game, the Millard West Student Council coordinates themed dress-up days, a pep rally, and the elections for junior and senior homecoming royalty. The activities are mainly for the students.

Millard North’s student council also coordinates a homecoming week featuring themed attire days, a dance the week of the football game, and other schoolwide events. This high school, however, has abandoned the practice of electing a homecoming court. 

“As a ‘No Place for Hate’ school, and out of concern for protecting students from being bullied or excluded, Millard North has not recognized royalty since 2010,” says principal Brian Begley. “Instead, they make a concerted effort to engage and involve all students in homecoming activities, including those with special needs.”

Bellevue Public Schools’ two high schools coordinate some activities but most of the festivities are school-specific. Amanda Oliver, the district’s director of communications, says parent and student groups are involved in planning.

“Bellevue East has brought back an old tradition, a homecoming parade, the last two years,” she says. “We’ve seen a lot of alumni and former staff, long-time community members.”

Bellevue West now hosts a Unity Rally at the beginning of the school year. Although not technically a homecoming event, “It allows us to feature and highlight all our schools and all our kids, and we’ve seen the community piece behind that,” Oliver says.

Elkhorn also has two high schools that plan homecoming activities independently.

 “We have spirit days, a trivia competition about the school, a powder puff game and pep rally that introduces the homecoming court, the cheerleaders and dance team do a special dance and cheer at halftime together, Pinnacle Bank has a pep rally with hotdogs before the game, and the dance is Saturday night,” says Brooke Blythe, Elkhorn South’s cheer coordinator. She adds. “The middle schoolers always have their own section in the stands at the football game.”

According to Omaha Public Schools Marketing Director Monique Farmer, students at each of the district’s seven high schools organize their own homecoming events—and alumni are invited to them at many schools—and create unique traditions. Benson holds a classroom door decorating contest, Bryan has a pep rally at the stadium, Burke concentrates on targeted inclusion for special education students, and North and Northwest host parades. Last year, J.P. Lord School, an all-ages school for students with a variety of complex needs, hosted what Farmer believes to be its first homecoming dance. Parents were welcome and the evening’s culmination was the coronation of a king and queen. 

“That was pretty neat to see,” Farmer says.

Westside alumni association Immediate Past-president & 1987 Westside homecoming queen


Written By Daisy Hutzell-Rodman

Photos contributed by Glenwood Opinion-Tribune

Homecoming is a huge celebration for this town of 5,300, which more than doubles in size for one fall weekend each year.

“I’ve been in other school districts, and it’s frequently a presentation of the king and queen at the football game and a dance afterwards. This town, this week, is amazing,” says Glenwood Schools Superintendent Devin Embray.

Beyond the coronation of a king and queen, Glenwood recognizes its 25-year reunion class as the “honor class.” Most of the class members return for this weekend in which they are honored at the pep rally and circle the town square twice during the parade. They are also a part of the Saturday-night coronation ceremony, as the past student body president gives a speech to the senior class that is similar to a graduation speech.

While many homecoming parades feature the high school classes, clubs, and athletics along with a few politicians, Glenwood’s parade includes at least 180 entries, with class floats from kindergarten through seniors; class reunion floats from five-year through 50-year and higher, entries from homeschoolers and special interest groups such as tractor clubs, and more. 

Coronation is open to the public and includes the presentation of pages, scribes, and gift bearers along with the king and queen. The prior year’s king and queen come back and sit in their thrones before turning them over to the newly-crowned monarchs.

“I can’t even explain the coronation—you have to see it to believe it,” says high school principal Richard Hutchinson.

Glenwood’s homecoming also includes the Outcasts, which was started by a group of non-native residents who felt like outsiders. This group now crowns their own king and queen each year, has a float and royalty car in the parade, and holds a separate dinner and dance.

“There’s so many people within the town that play a big part in this,” says Hutchinson. “The band parents have been the ones that oversee the king and queen nominations. There are parents in charge of the coronation. We have [community members] that oversee the parade…It is a community event.”

This article was printed in the Fall 2018 edition of Family Guide.

September/October 2018 Calendar of Events

Art & Museum Exhibits
Stage Performances
Family & More

Art & Museum Exhibits

Jevon Woods
Through Sept. 7 at Love’s Jazz & Arts Center 2510 N. 24th St. Woods’ work captures the essence of social and historical figures and explores the intricacies of Afrocentric everyday life. Admission: $10 adults, $7 students and seniors (ages 55+), $5 children ages 6-12, free for children age 5 and under. 402-502-5291.

Treasures of British Art 1400-2000: The Berger Collection
Through Sept. 9 at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. Take a look at 50 masterworks from one of the most private collections of British painting in the U.S. Tickets: $10 general public ($5 4-8 p.m. Thursdays), $5 college students, free for Joslyn members and ages 17 and younger. 402-342-3300.

Sheila Pepe: Hot Mess Formalism
Through Sept. 15 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S. 12th St. This exhibit examines how Pepe often plays with feminist and craft traditions to counter patriarchal notions of art. Admission: free. 402-341-7130.

Kristine Allphin: Taking Root
Through Sept. 16 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. This exhibit celebrates batik, an ancient decorative art used to embellish textiles, and the various forms of beauty found in the natural world. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children ages 6-12, free for children under 6 and members. 402-346-4002.

Betni Kalk
Through Sept. 21 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St. View the works of Kalk, a Creighton University design instructor inspired by the natural world. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.

Through Sept. 26 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. This exhibit investigates art, science, and technology that creates, alters, and reflects upon the sense of what’s real. Admission: free. 402-341-3800.

Museum of Nebraska Art Traveling Exhibition
Sept. 7-Oct. 28 at Gallery 1516, 1516 Leavenworth St. Come see the works of artists from across the state at MONA’s traveling exhibition. MONA was developed in 1976 to create an art collective that celebrates Nebraska’s unique artistic heritage. Admission: free. 402-305-1510.

Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life in the Wild
Sept. 1 through Jan. 6, 2019 at Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. The Durham Museum hosts the world premiere of 40 of this acclaimed nature photographer’s works. Admission: $11 adults, $8 seniors (62+), $7 children (3-12), free for children under 2 and members. 402-444-5071.

Dottie Seymour, Virginia Ocken, Glenda Musilek, and Judy Greff
Sept. 7-30 at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Discover the paintings by these featured artists, which range from watercolor to acrylic, with subjects from horses to abstract images. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.

Watie White and Brent Houzenga
Sept. 7-Oct. 26 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St. Take part in the notable printmaking and portraiture of White and Houzenga at the gallery in Benson’s Petshop. Admission: free. 402-203-5488.

James Bockelman
Sept. 14-Oct. 5 at Project Project, 1818 Vinton St. This exhibit showcases James Bockelman’s modern works. Bockelman is an art professor at Concordia University. Admission: free. 402-680-6737.

John Thein
Sept. 14-Oct. 12 at Lied Art Gallery, 2500 California Plaza. Take in new oil paint and watercolor pieces by Creighton professor Thein. Admission: free. 402-280-2509.

Todd McCollister and Katie Temple
Starting Sept. 28-Nov. 23 at Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam St. View McCollister’s long-grain furniture and woodwork and Temple’s architecture-inspired art. Admission: free. 402-595-2122.

Kay Chapman: Wearable Art
Oct. 2-4 at Anderson O’Brien Art, 1108 Jackson St. Chapman uses natural fibers such as silk, cotton, linen, and wool to create clothing that is subtle and bold. See her work and understand the inspirations behind her designs. Admission: free. 402-884-0911.

Cindy Mathiason, Elisa Benn, and Courtney Christiansen
Oct. 5 at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th St. Enjoy artwork by three featured artists during the month of October, with pieces ranging from oil and charcoal portraits to nature photography. Admission: free. 402-342-9617.

Northwest Missouri State Faculty Invitational
Oct. 5-Nov. 9 at Osborne Family Gallery in Criss Library, 6401 University Dr. N. Take in the works of a shared art community from Northwest Missouri State University. Admission: free. 402-554-2796.

Joe Pankowski
Oct. 5-Nov. 30 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N. 62nd St. This University of Nebraska-Omaha alum brings his sketches—turned paintings, films, gadgets, and more—to the local gallery. Admission: free. 402-203-5488.

Fall Chrysanthemum Show
Oct. 6-Nov. 16 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Discover a fascinating fabrication of flowers. Bold mums combine with vibrant and diverse colors, textures, and fabrics representative of Japanese culture. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for children under 6 and members. 402-346-4002. 

Japanese Ambience Festival
Oct. 6-7 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Participate in cultural events and celebrate Omaha’s special relationship with Japan. Hosted by the Omaha Sister Cities Association, the event will include a wide range of activities like Japanese calligraphy, origami, food tastings, martial arts demonstrations, and more. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Most activities included with regular admission, $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for children under 6 and members. 402-346-4002.

Pattern and Purpose: American Quilts from the Shelburne Museum
Oct. 6 through Jan. 6, 2019, at Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge St. View 35 quilt designs by traditional and contemporary makers inspired by everything from nature to geometric patterns. Tickets: $10 general public, $5 college students, free for Joslyn members and ages 17 and younger. 402-342-3300.

Sarah Hummel Jones
Starting Oct. 12 at Project Project, 1818 Vinton St. Sarah Hummel Jones is an interdisciplinary artist who works with a variety of materials and teaches students across the nation. Admission: free. 402-680-6737.

Dia De Los Muertos
Starting Oct. 13 at El Museo Latino, 4701 S. 25th St. Celebrate the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead by viewing an exhibit and memorial ofrenda. Admission: $5 general admission, $4 college students with ID, $3.50 students K-12 and senior citizens (55+), free for members, active military with ID, and children under 5. 402-731-1137.

Benefit Art Auction Exhibition
Oct. 13-26 at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 724 S. 12th St. This annual exhibition will feature more than 300 works from local, regional, and national artists. All proceeds will benefit artists and raise funds for Bemis Center programs. 402-341-7130.

Super Sports: Building Strength, Sportsmanship, and Smarts
Starting Oct. 13 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. This special exhibit is a hands-on exploration of sports, with skill-building experiences through play. Admission: $13 children and adults, $12 seniors (age 60+), free for children 2 and younger and members. 402-342-6164.

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Stage Performances

Bagels & Sometimes Bach
Sundays starting Sept. 2, at Gallery 1516, 1516 Leavenworth St. Partake in a community breakfast with entertainment from musicians around Omaha, including the University of Nebraska-Omaha Music Department, Opera Omaha, Omaha Chamber Music Society, and more. Doors open 11 a.m. Admission: free. 402-305-1510.

Maria Bamford
Sept. 2 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This Comedy Central-hailing comedian brings her realistic and revelatory stand-up to the Omaha stage. Bamford is best known for her semi-autobiographical Netflix series Lady Dynamite. 8 p.m. Tickets: $25 advance, $30 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Fun Home
Through Sept. 16 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. When Alison’s father dies unexpectedly, she explores her past to tell the story of their tumultuous relationship. Based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel. Times vary. Tickets: $42 and up. 402-553-0800.

Fortune Feimster 
Sept. 7-8 at Funny Bone, 17305 Davenport St., No. 201. Known for her roles in Office Christmas Party and The Mindy Project, witness the comedic skill of Fortune Feimster. 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $25. Ages 21 and up. 402-493-8036.

Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt
Sept. 7-23 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Bring the family to see this book-based production about two adventurous siblings with an appetite for the pirate’s life. 7 p.m. Fridays; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: free for members, $20 for nonmembers. 402-345-4849.

TJ Miller
Sept. 13-15 at Funny Bone, 17305 Davenport St., No. 201. This improvisation and stand-up pro was featured in comedic superhero blockbuster Deadpool. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $30. Ages 21 and up. 402-493-8036.

Shrek the Musical
Sept. 14-Oct. 14 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Based on the 2001 DreamWorks Animation film, this musical tells the family-favorite story of classic fairy-tale characters—and an unapologetic green ogre. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $20 and up. 402-553-0800.

Rodney Carrington
Sept. 20 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Carrington is best known for his ABC comedy, Rodney, and has released eight comedy albums. 8 p.m. Tickets: $30-$50. 402-934-9966. 

Gatsby on 16th Street
Sept. 22 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Attend a throwback to the 1920s with an evening of glitz and glamour, including refreshments and hors d’oeuvres, as well as performances by the Hot Tail Honeys, Doom Lagoon, and The Good Gurls. This event is for ages 21 and up. Cocktail hour at 6 p.m., main event at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35 general, $140 VIP. 402-345-0606.

The Clearing
Sept. 26-29, Oct. 3-6 at UNO Theatre, Weber Fine Arts Building, 6001 Dodge St. Learn the story of a community caught in the crossfire of Oliver Cromwell’s Irish genocide in the 17th century. All shows at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $16 general admission, free for students who present MavCard. 402-554-7529.

Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends: New Worlds
Sept. 30 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Master comedian and cellist have joined forces to develop a fascinating one-of-a-kind show celebrating their shared love of music and literature. 7 p.m. Tickets: $49-$250. 402-345-0606.

Goosebumps: The Musical—The Phantom of the Auditorium
Oct. 26- Nov. 11 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. This musical will leave audience members feeling silly—and perhaps with their hair on end. 7 p.m. Fridays; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $20 for nonmembers, free for members. 402-345-4849.

Black Violin’s “Classical Boom Tour”

Oct. 4 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Spend the evening listening to the stylings of Kev Marcus on violin and Wil B on viola, performing their signature blend of popular and classical music. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$55. 402-345-0606.

Eric Schwartz
Oct. 4 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This comedian will perform a show that highlights his talents as an actor, musician, voiceover artist and content creator. 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance, $18 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Oct. 6 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This techno-dance group from America’s Got Talent is known for their electrified glow-in-the-dark suits that light up the stage with illusions and imagination. See them with the whole family. 7 p.m. Tickets: $22-$38. 402-345-0606.

She Kills Monsters
Oct. 12-Nov. 4 at Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Agnes Evans stumbles upon the Dungeons & Dragons notebook of her late sister and finds herself on a comedic, fantastical adventure. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $18+. 402-553-0800.

The Little Engine That Could
Oct. 12-Nov. 4 at The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Climb aboard for this classic production and learn the life lesson of persistence told by a group of talented actors. 7 p.m. Fridays; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $12 nonmembers; $10 members.

Bert ‘The Machine’ Kreischer
Oct. 18-20 at Funny Bone, 17305 Davenport St. No. 201. A self-proclaimed “perpetual man-child,” Kreischer’s stand-up is sure to be full of laughs, college party stories, and many shirtless moments. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $40-50. Ages 21 and up. 402-493-8036.

Bill Engvall
Oct. 19 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. Known for his leading role in The Bill Engvall Show, Engvall will show audiences a night of knee-slapping comedy with a Southern twang. 7 p.m. Tickets: $35-$60. 402-934-6291.

Dorrance Dance
Oct. 24 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This NYC-based troupe is known for their electronic tap dancing, which aims to honor the history of dance while also incorporating a modern context. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20+. 402-345-0606.

LIVE @ The Backline
Oct. 27 at The Backline Comedy Theatre, 1618 Harney St. In the spirit of Saturday Night Live, this show is back with a guest host and musical performance, as well as new sketches written by Omaha’s best comedians. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $12. 402-720-7670.

The Play That Goes Wrong
Oct. 30-Nov. 4 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. This London-born play embraces comedic storytelling that is part Monty Python and part Sherlock Holmes. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $87 and up. 402-345-0606.

Oct. 31-Nov. 4 at Creighton Lied Education Center for the Arts, 2500 California Plaza. This play by Chicago playwright Shayne Kennedy explores the concepts of mental illness, the stigma that surrounds anxiety and depression, and the burden of presenting the “perfect self” on social media. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $5 students, $15 seniors, $18 adults. 402-280-1448.

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Shakey Graves
Sept. 1 at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St. This Austin native crosses blues, folk, and rock ’n’ roll, and has been shaking up the music scene since 2007. 8 p.m. Tickets: $27 advance, $30 day of show. 402-346-9802.

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Sept. 2 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. These two musicians will swap songs and tell stories in conjunction with rhythm and blues. 5 p.m. Tickets: $20 advance, $25 day of show. 402-884-5353. 

Lake Street Dive
Sept. 4 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This group mixes classic pop and swing-era jazz to promote self-empowerment with a dazzling performance. 8 p.m. Tickets: $29 advance, $32 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Sept. 6 at The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Their unique rock ’n’ roll sound that may include an ABBA cover. Adelitas Way, Stone Broken and The Stir will also perform. 7 p.m. Tickets: $18 advance, $20 day of show. 402-884-5353.

The Temptations And The Four Tops
Sept. 6 at Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16th St. Sit and sway to two legendary Motown groups as they sing hits like “My Girl” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” that will put a happy-go-lucky rhythm in the auditorium. 7:30 p.m. $49.50-$89.50. 402-345-0606.

Sept. 7 at Lookout Lounge, 320 S. 72nd St. Fronted and founded by Colorado native David Eugene Edwards, Wovenhand jumps between folk and gospel music, calling themselves alt-country.8 p.m. Tickets: $10 advance. 402-391-2554.

Sept. 11 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd., Council Bluffs. This a cappella group originated on YouTube, and often perform covers of popular songs as well as their own original tunes. 8 p.m. Tickets: $71-$153. 712-329-6000.

Sept. 12 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. This Chicago-hailing jazz-rock band will grace Omaha with its progressive sound, playing from six studio albums. 8 p.m. Tickets: $12 advance, $15 day of show. 402-884-5707.

Nahko & Medicine For The People
Sept. 12 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This Native American group will present their latest work, which is inspired by faith, nature, and activism. Xiuhtezcatl will open the show. 9 p.m. Tickets: $23 advance, $25 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Counting Crows
Sept. 13 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd., Council Bluffs. This California-based rock band has been on the front of the scene since 1991, performing hits such as “Mr. Jones and Me” and “Omaha.” 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $66-$153. 712-329-6000.

Here Come The Mummies
Sept. 13 at Slowdown, 728 N. 14th St. This eight-piece Nashville funk-rock band is known for keeping their identities “under wraps” in their live performances dressed as mummies. 8 p.m. Tickets: $22 advance, $25 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Colt Ford
Sept. 14 at Bourbon Saloon, 311 S. 15th St. Once a pro-golfer, this musician combines country and EDM, as he aims to cultivate a universal musical message for listeners everywhere. 7 p.m. Tickets: $25. Ages 18 and up. 402-884-2259.

Red Fang
Sept. 14 at the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. This Portland-based stoner metal band is ready to head-bang all night. Big Business and Dead Now will open the show. 9 p.m. Tickets: $20 advance, $22 day of show. 402-884-5353.

Amernet String Quartet
Sept. 16 at Vesper Concerts, 1517 S. 114th St. This string quartet will make an onstage appearance to perform their classical works. 3 p.m. Admission: free. 402-333-7466.

Hed PE
Sept. 17 at Lookout Lounge, 320 S. 72nd St. Hed PE is a nu-metal band that has fused together punk-rock heritage with modern hip-hop beats. They will be joined by Murderhouse, Before I Burn, and Jonasty. 7 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance, $20 day of show. 402-391-2554.

Alan Jackson’s “The Honky Tonk Highway Tour”
Sept. 21 at CHI Health Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. This award-winning country star will perform a show that will draw in longtime and new fans. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $39.99-$129.99. 402-341-1500.

Deep Purple and Judas Priest
Sept. 21 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd., Council Bluffs. These hard-rock veterans are teaming up. Deep Purple recently released their 20th studio album, while Judas Priest is on No. 18. 7 p.m. Ages 21 and up. Tickets: $68-$202. 712-329-6000.

Midwest Masquerade 2018
Sept. 22 at Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. This annual event aims to combine the elegant feel of a traditional masquerade ball with the upbeat and electric environment of a music festival. 8 p.m. Tickets: $12-$30. 402-884-6291.

Bad Bunny
Sept. 27 at Ralston Arena, 7300 Q St. This 24-year-old Puerto Rican pop star sings a combination of Latin trap and reggaeton tunes. 8 p.m. Tickets: $49-$149. 402-934-9966.

Gary Numan
Sept. 27 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This British new wave pioneer of synth-pop has produced 22 studio albums. 8 p.m. Tickets: $25 advance, $28 day of show. 402-345-7569.

The Buttertones
Oct. 1 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Formed in 2012, this alternative rock group draws from multitudes of rock genres like surf, garage, and post-punk. 8 p.m. Tickets: $12 advance, $14 day of show. 402-345-7569.

The Decemberists
Oct. 1 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. This five-member indie-rock group just released their newest album, I’ll Be Your Girl. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $40-$199. 402-345-0606.

the Julian Lage Trio
Oct. 2 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Known for his killer guitar work, Julian Lage’s music has been described as a mix of jazz, folk, classical, and country. 8 p.m. Tickets: $17 advance, $20 day of show. 402-884-5707.

Bob Moses
Oct. 2 at Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. Bob Moses is a Vancouver-bred duo consisting of Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance. Their electronic beats mesh with classic songwriting and lyricism to dominate the stage. Mansionair will also perform. 8 p.m. Tickets: $25. 402-884-5353.

Ryley Walker
Oct. 2 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This folk artist is changing his sound to have a little more looseness and imagination than previous works. 8 p.m. Tickets: $12 advance, $15 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Jeremy Zucker
Oct. 3 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This moody songwriter is known for biting lyrics and emotional singles. Carlie Hanson will open the show. 8 p.m. Tickets: $12 advance, $15 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Lord Huron
Oct. 3 at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St. This band, created by Ben Schneider, has played at well-established music festivals, such as the Capitol Hill Block Party and the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Expect to hear fan favorites like “The Night We Met,” as well as recent releases from their album Vide Noir. 8 p.m. Tickets: $29. 402-346-9802.

Spag Heddy
Oct. 4 at Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. This group will bring their dubstep and electronic jams for a night of dance and upbeat performance. 9 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance, $18 day of show. 402-884-5353.

Meg Myers
Oct. 7 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This singer-songwriter’s tunes will sweep the audience with emotion and empathy as she tells the details of her interesting backstory. 7 p.m. Tickets: $17 advance, $20 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Neck Deep
Oct. 7 at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St. Spend your evening with fellow pop-punk fans. Stand Atlantic, WSTR, and Gardenside will open the show. 7 p.m. Tickets: $22 advance, $25 day of show, $82 VIP. 402-346-9802.

The Essex Green
Oct. 8 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. This three-piece indie-rock band just released their newest album Hardly Electronic. 8 p.m. Tickets: $10. 402-884-5707.

The Wombats
Oct. 9 at the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. This rock band will play sing-along classics like “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” and “Tokyo,” as well as new, more mature pieces like “Lemon to a Knife Fight.” 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-884-5353.

Oct. 13 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This cosmic rock trio will take the stage to play their sophomore album Phenomena. Weathers and Rad Horror will open the show. 9 p.m. Tickets: $12 advance, $15 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Lauv Fall 2018 Tour
Oct. 16 at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St. This 23-year-old sensation plays modern pop hits like “I Like Me Better” and “Chasing Fire.” Charlotte Lawrence will open the show. 8 p.m. Tickets: $22 advance, $25 day of show. 402-346-9802.

OK Go’s “The Live Video Tour”
Oct. 19 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. This rock band will perform live and in sync with 20 of their fan-favorite videos, as well as host question and answer sessions with the audience. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35-$50. 402-345-0606.

Gladys Knight
Oct. 20 at Holland Performing Arts Center, 1200 Douglas St. Relish in the live performance of the soulful and iconic R&B tunes of seven-time Grammy-winner Gladys Knight. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35-$119. 402-345-0606.

Darwin Deez
Oct. 22 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This indie band will play songs from their new album, 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart.7 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance, $18 day of show. 402-345-7569.

Colony House
Oct. 27 at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This American indie-rock quartet is a self-described cross between the Beach Boys and Vampire Weekend. 9 p.m. Tickets: $16 advance, $18 day of show. 402-345-7569.

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Family & More

La Festa Italiana
Through Sept. 2 at American Italian Heritage Society, 5110 N. 132nd St. This 34th annual festival features authentic Italian food, wine, beer, fireworks, games, dancing, and more. 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-11 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $5.50 in advance, $7 at the door, free for children under 12 with an adult. 402-493-8888.

Through Sept. 3 at CHI Health Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Omaha’s annual salute to labor includes live music, a carnival, arts and crafts, food, and more. In addition, the festival ends with Omaha’s largest parade on Labor Day. 5 p.m.-midnight Friday; noon to midnight Saturday-Monday; 10 a.m. Labor Day parade. Admission: $7 per person ages 6 and up, per day, free for children under 5. 

Midwest Paranormal History/Ghost Tours
Through Oct. 19 at various locations. Explore the sinister past of Omaha and learn about the spooky legends and lore. Hear the stories and reports of paranormal activity and go on a ghost hunt. Various types of tours are available. Time is based on sunset. Admission: $10-$20 per person, reserve by phone. 402-953-9670.

Centered: Let Us Face the Reality of Our Time Without Panic
Sept. 1 at KANEKO, 1111 Jones St. Participate in learning about the healing arts through meditation, artistic practices, laughter, humor, and more. Find guidance from professionals in the field and leave refreshed and calm. 6-8 p.m. Tickets: $24. 402-341-3800.

38th Annual Zoo Run
Sept. 2 at Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium 3701 S. 10th St. Lace up your shoes or sharpen your claws to participate in this annual fun run. All participants will receive medals, bagels, bananas, and free zoo admission on the day of the five-mile run and two-mile run/walk. 6-9 a.m. Registration cost: $30 for members, $40 for nonmembers. Advanced registration available online. 402-738-2038.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Sept. 6 at Joslyn Art Museum Witherspoon Concert Hall, 2200 Dodge St. Attend a viewing of the 1975 British classic. A cash bar will also compliment the feature film. 5 p.m. cash bar, 6:30 p.m. movie. Admission: $5 Joslyn members, $10 general public. 402-661-3862.

Gerda’s Oktoberfest
Sept. 7-8 at Gerda’s Restaurant and Bakery, 5180 Leavenworth St. Attend this annual Oktoberfest, which will consist of plenty of food, beer, and bands. 5 p.m. Admission: free. 402-553-6774. 

Jamborama: Omaha Swing Dance Festival
Sept. 7-9 at Eagles Ballroom, 201 S. 24th St. Take part in the 16th year of swing dance workshops, contests, and live music. 6 p.m. Registration: $15 Saturday late night pass-$200 full weekend pass. 402-208-3006. 

47th Annual Art Fair
Sept. 8-9 at Rockbrook Village, 108th and Center Streets. More than 150 national, regional, and local artists will display and sell their one-of-a-kind works of art. Spend the day browsing quality art and meeting talented creators. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission: free. 402-390-0890.

All-European Show and Shine
Sept. 9 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Spend your afternoon strolling through the gardens, marveling at European cars and motorcycles on display. Models will include Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, and more. A narrated tram tour will also be available. Noon-3 p.m. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for children under 6 and members; $3 tram rides. Includes entrance to the gardens. 402-346-4002.

Oktoberfest Celebration
Sept. 14-15 at 3717 S. 120th St. Take part in the classic Oktoberfest event with traditional German food and entertainment. 5 p.m.-midnight Friday; noon-midnight Saturday. Admission: $5 adults, free for children under 12 and active military members. 402-333-6615.

Third Annual Omaha Food Truck Rodeo
Sept. 14 outside Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Taste a variety of dishes from 15 food trucks, listen to a DJ, visit beer gardens and outdoor bars; seating throughout Benson. 4-11 p.m. Admission: free. 402-884-5707.

27th Annual Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow
Sept. 15 at Metropolitan Community College’s Fort Omaha Campus, 5300 N. 30th St. This celebration of Native American culture honors the traditional dance, music, artistry, oral history, and foods of various tribes across Nebraska and the surrounding region. 1-7:30 p.m. Admission: free. 531-622-2253.

Fall Festival on the Farm
Sept. 15-16 at Gifford Farm Education Center, 700 Camp Gifford Road, Bellevue. Take part in animal visits, educational sessions, raffles, scavenger hunts, concessions, pony rides, and more at this fun seasonal event. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: $5 for ages 2 and older, $2.50 for military personnel with ID. Pony rides are $5 extra. 402-332-5771.

Omaha Marathon & Half Marathon
Sept. 16 starting at TD Ameritrade Park, 1200 Mike Fahey St. Register to run either 13.1 or 26.2 miles and attempt to beat your personal best. 7 a.m.-2 p.m. $15-95. 402-341-1500.

Lauritzen Gardens Antiques Show
Sept. 20-23 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Attend one of the community’s most beloved traditions. Listen to lectures, attend luncheons, and walk through design and antique exhibits throughout the garden. Times vary. Tickets: $10-$150. 402-346-4002.

Huber Haus Oktoberfest
Sept. 21-22 at Huber Haus, 3578 Farnam St. Take part in the 17th annual Oktoberfest celebration, which includes live polka music, German food,and lots of beer. 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday; noon-2 a.m. Saturday. Admission: $5 ages 21 and up. 402-345-1708.

Who are you? An Identity Workshop
Sept. 22 at Omaha Public Library, Florence Branch, 2920 Bondesson St. Omaha Little Girls Rock offers this free Saturday session for girls age 4-9. Little rockers will explore themes of identity through music-based programming. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (ages 4-6), 1:30-3:30 p.m. (ages 7-9). Admission: free. 402-321-2252.

Open NOH8 Photo Shoot
Sept. 22 at Metropolitan Community Church, 819 S. 22nd St. Become a part of the NOH8 (No Hate) Campaign, a photography project dedicated to promoting human rights. Come in NOH8’s signature look—a clean white T-shirt—and be prepared to have a temporary tattoo applied to your skin. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Prices: $40 single photos; $25 per person in group or couples photos. 402-345-2563.

Junkstock: Harvest Edition
Sept. 28-30 at Sycamore Farms, 1150 River Road Drive, Waterloo. Savor the festive fall adventure that is Junkstock, a seasonal event that brings antique and craft vendors, food, live music, and plenty of photo opportunities. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $10+. 402-765-8651.

Omaha’s River City Rodeo
Sept. 28-29 at CHI Health Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. After a two-year hiatus, the rodeo is back with seven events, including steer wrestling, team roping, and bull riding. World-champion cattle handlers will compete for entry into the National Finals Rodeo. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $17-$42. 402-341-1500.

Turner Park Night Market
Sept. 28 at Turner Park in Midtown Crossing, 3110 Farnam St. Omaha Farmer’s Market teams up with Turner Park to feature local artisans, vendors, activities, food, and more. Local nonprofits will also engage in the festivities to showcase their service opportunities. 6-10 p.m. Admission: free. 402-557-6006. 

Nebraska Reptile Breeders Expo
Sept. 30 at Scott Conference Center, 6450 Pine St. Explore the scaly and slimy by visiting 55 tables of vendors, all showcasing thousands of snakes, lizards, turtles, and amphibians. Purchase supplies or books, learn about conservation efforts, or even go home with a new pet. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: $5 adults, $3 children ages 6-12, free for children under 6. 402-778-6313.

Omaha Baby Fair
Sept. 30 at Baxter Arena, 2425 S. 67th St. All parents, whether expecting or already on the job, are encouraged to take part in this event. The event includes over 50 vendors, free safety classes and activities, maternity photos, swag bags, and more.10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tickets: $8 advance, $12 at the door, free for children 12 and under. 402-320-2879.

Marvel vs. DC Night
Oct. 5 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. Enjoy a superhero theme for the Children’s Museum’s First Friday Family Date Night. This month’s theme is epic, where attendees can meet characters, try themed activities and enjoy a late night of play at the museum. 5-8 p.m. Admission: $13 children and adults, $12 seniors, free for children 2 and younger and members. 402-342-6164.

Market to Market Relay
Oct. 6 beginning in Aksarben Village, 2285 S. 67th St. Participate in Nebraska’s Market to Market Relay, the largest day-long relay in the nation. With 19 exchange points spanning over 76 miles from Omaha to Lincoln, participants follow trails, paved streets, and gravel roads through a scenic slice of Nebraska. Limited to 600 teams. 3 a.m.-noon. Registration: $550-$1040 per team. Advanced registration available online. 402-937-8518.

Sports Card Show
Oct. 7 at Hilton Garden Inn Omaha East, 2702 Mid America Dr., Council Bluffs. A hit for sports lovers and collectors from the Midwest, the Card Shop will host this show to allow fans to pick up some cards for their collections and mingle with other fans. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission: free. 402-807-5220.

Monster Jam
Oct. 12-14 at Mid America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs. The ultimate monster trucks will compete against each other in this fan-favorite showcase of mechanical beasts. 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15-$45. 712-323-0536.

Bubble Run
Oct. 13 at Werner Park, 12356 Ballpark Way, Papillion. Take part in a 5K run where participants get to run through foam and bubbles at each kilometer. Colorful foams, DJ jams, and free swag will be included in registration. 8 a.m.-noon. Registration: $50-65; children 4 and under run for free with paid adult registration. Advanced registration available online. 402-738-5100.

41st Annual Witches Tea
Oct. 13 at Mangelsen’s, 3457 S. 84th St. With Halloween crafts and games, bounce houses, treats, prizes, and a costume contest, attendees will be full of festive spirit at one of Omaha’s longest-running Halloween events. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: free. 402-391-6225.

Holiday Meats Cooking Class
Oct. 18 at Fireplace Stone & Patio of Omaha, 13709 Industrial Road. Learn how to prepare meals for the upcoming holiday season. Participants will sample food and understand the cooking process or turkey, beef tenderloin, and prime rib. Refreshments and goodie bags will be provided. 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Admission: $60-$75. 402-807-2684.

So You Wanna Use Your Voice? A Change-Making Workshop
Oct. 20 at Omaha Public Library South Branch, 2808 Q St. This Omaha Little Girls Rock Saturday session will use music to empower Omaha’s smallest superstars to speak up for what they believe. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (ages 4-6), 1 p.m-3 p.m. (ages 7-9). Admission: free 402-321-2252.

Monster’s Ball
Oct. 20 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. Dance the monster mash at this family-friendly ball. Meet characters, dance, and eat spooky, festive food. 6-9 p.m. Tickets: $10 per person for members, $25 per person for nonmembers. 402-342-6164.

Second Annual Midwest Coffee and Tea Festival
Oct. 21 at Mid America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs. Taste and buy samples of coffee and tea from local vendors, plus attend seminars. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets: $5 adults, free for children 12 and under. 402-302-1752.

Healthy Trick-or-Treat Nights
Oct. 23 and 30 at Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. Dress up in a Halloween costume and get ready to trick-or-treat indoors at the museum. Trick-or-treaters will get healthy treats and the chance to play in the museum. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Admission: $13 children and adults, $12 seniors, free for children under 2 and members. 402-342-6164.

Ghoulish Garden Adventure
Oct. 28 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. Dress up in costume for this special event. Explore the visitor and education centers, visit the gardens, and trick-or-treat at different activity stations. Noon-4 p.m. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for children under 6 and members. Includes regular garden admission. 402-346-4002.

Haunted Houses

Omaha’s haunted houses deliver an array of thrills from the maze-like Mystery Manor, to the Haunted Hollow Theme Park, which is located on a seven-acre farm. Camp Fear is one of the most immersive and horrifying attractions in Nebraska, where organizers encourage only the bravest souls to camp overnight. Enter if you dare…

 Camp Fear (Riverwest Park, 23301 West Maple Road, Elkhorn) Opens Sept. 14: Fridays and Saturdays; October, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Camp check-in begins at 4 p.m. and all attractions begin at dark.

 Carnival of Terror (1209 Jackson St.) Opens Sept. 28: Dusk-10 p.m. weekdays, dusk-midnight weekends.
—”Carnival of Terror” on Facebook

 Haunted Hollow Theme Park (12501 Giles Road) Opens Sept. 28. 7-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 

 Mystery Manor (716 N. 18th St.) Opens Sept. 14. September times vary; October, dusk-10 p.m. weekdays, and dusk-midnight weekends. 

 Ranch of Terror (11001 S. 48th St.) Opens Sept. 28. 7:30-11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7:30-10 p.m. Sundays.

 Scary Acres (17272 Giles Road) Opens Sept. 14: 7 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Sundays in September; 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays in October.

Pumpkin Patches and More

Fall isn’t complete without a visit to at least one of the area’s many pumpkin patches. Most locations offer attractions from hayrack rides and corn mazes to bonfires, spooky trails, delicious seasonal treats, and more. 

 Bellevue Berry and Pumpkin Ranch (11001 S. 48th St.) Opens Sept. 21. 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 

Harvest Moon Farm (1410 US-77, Oakland, Neb.) Opens Sept. 17. Noon-6 p.m. Fridays; Noon-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Skinny Bones Pumpkin Patch (3935 NE-133, Blair) Opens Sept. 9. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.

 Wenninghoff’s Farm Pumpkin Patch (6707 Wenninghoff Road) Opens Oct. 1. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

 Vala’s Pumpkin Patch (12102 S. 180th St.) Opens Sept. 14. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

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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.

60Plus Opener

August 21, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Temperatures are comfortable, and everything looks dazzling with the brilliant foliage of jewel-like green, yellow, orange, red, amber, and gold.

It’s a great time for guests to visit Nebraska.

This fall is also special for the Lemke family. My oldest grandson, William Lemke, and his fiancée, Susannah Kosty, are getting married. The wedding will be at the beautiful St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church in downtown Omaha (with a reception at The Durham Museum) on Sept. 29.

I’m looking forward to the event, celebrating with family and friends, and welcoming Susannah into our family.

From the Omaha Magazine family to yours, we hope you enjoy the season.

This letter was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of  60Plus in Omaha. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

OmahaHome Entryway

August 20, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

For me, fall is the embodiment of comfort. I love the warm and cozy feeling of autumn snuggled in between the harsh Midwestern summer and winter. 

The first sign of dropping temperature starts to turn my mood. But—like all lifelong Midwesterners—I know how fleeting fall can be. Some years you blink and it’s gone, almost like we skipped the season altogether.

How lucky are we in Omaha to have the astonishing beauty of the leaves changing in every color under the sun, not to mention the football, tailgating, bonfires, and—of course—food!

Fall also brings its own unique home-decorating opportunities. For an example, take a peek at Tim Dymek’s cozy home in this issue. His quaint and perfectly manicured residence captures the pure essence of this season. Seeing photos of his patio just makes me want to grab a fuzzy throw and a good book, and make myself at home.

Whether you have a historical mansion, a downtown apartment, or a custom-glass house (we cover them in this issue, too), the beauty of fall has something for everyone—just like every issue of OmahaHome. So, grab a cozy throw and cuddle up by your fire pit and enjoy.

And, as always, thank you for reading! If you have any comments or story ideas, please contact me at sandy@omahapublications.com.

P.S. On a personal note, Sept. 6 is my father’s 80th birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad! Growing up on a farm in Iowa was a gift that taught me to be humble, hard-working, and resourceful. Thank you! 

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

From the Editor

July 24, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Fall, for me, is full of guilty pleasures. Back-to-school time means purchasing new pencils, pens, and notebooks. Cooler weather means cooking homemade soup and gingerbread. Halloween means gothic novels to read, gothic-inspired movies to watch, and candy to eat.

Fall also means high school football, and homecoming celebrations, for many people in the Midwest. Anthony Flott reports on several schools that have switched from traditional football helmets to Ridell Speedflex helmets, which include tracking capabilities so that coaches and trainers can detect concussions faster.

Kara Schweiss reports on homecoming celebrations around the metro, from schools where the event is mostly for the kids, to those where the event includes activities for alumni and community members. As a student at a high school in southeastern Iowa, I never thought about the term “homecoming” until my freshman year of college. My school just crowned a queen at the game and hosted a dance.

I now understand the meaning of the term “homecoming,” because I live in Glenwood, Iowa, which boasts one of the largest homecoming celebrations in America. 

A sidebar on this is included in Kara’s article, but from my standpoint, homecoming is a sight to behold.

Parade entries assemble outside my house. Parking comes at a premium—the three available spots in my driveway are reserved by Wednesday of homecoming week, and filled by 11 a.m. Friday in anticipation of the 1 p.m. parade. Dining out is a moot point, even ordering a pizza to carry out takes two hours.

Still, homecoming provides memories for many, myself included. I hope this fall edition of Family Guide conjures good memories for you.

This letter was printed in the Fall 2018 edition of Family Guide.

Daisy Hutzell-Rodman is the managing editor of Family Guide, a publication of Omaha Magazine LTD. She can be reached at daisy@omahamagazine.com.

Hunting Fall Oyster Mushrooms

October 7, 2016 by
Photography by Doug Meigs

Fall is the season when local woodland wanderers stock cellars with oyster mushrooms. These fungi are no secret to Nebraska mushroom hunters. The white-to-tan fan-shaped, or oyster-shell shaped, mushrooms sprout from the sides of trees and logs. Given the right conditions, they will even pop through snowmelt. A single find is often bountiful; a good haul of oyster mushrooms can exceed 20 pounds. They can be dried, pickled, or canned. They pair well with nearly every dish. Oyster mushrooms make an extra-special stuffing for your Thanksgiving guests.

Chris Wright is a mycologist with special interest in oyster mushrooms. Wright has a Ph.D. in plant, soil, and microbial sciences and is the executive director of Midwest American Mycological Information. He researches how oyster mushrooms break down biopollutants.

Patrick McGee approaches a tree laden with oyster mushrooms.

Patrick McGee approaches a tree laden with oyster mushrooms.

Wright also regularly finds and eats wild oyster mushrooms. He points out three species of these mushrooms in the Midwest region: Pleurotus ostreatus (the predominant species), Pleurotus populinus (characterized by a white to pink fan), and Pleurotus pulmonarius (the so-called lung-shaped oyster). They are not difficult to identify. Wright says decurrent gills (those running down the stalk) are a distinguishing characteristic of oyster mushrooms. The fungi also have a white to lilac spore print on paper. Wright says it is difficult to mistake something poisonous for oyster mushrooms; however, there is one poisonous look-alike that mushroom hunters should be aware of—Pleurocyubella porrigens.

When asked where to find oyster mushrooms, Wright says, “Look in the woods or on your supermarket shelf.” He also says oyster mushrooms are saprotrophic—they recycle nutrients locked up in woody matter, i.e., “They are a wood rot fungus.”

Oyster mushrooms can be found on ash, aspen, cottonwood, and poplar trees. They will push through the bark of trees after a cold rain. They can sometimes be found in public parks and in neighborhoods, especially on freshly cut trees. Sustainable harvesting requires removal of only the fruiting body and allowing some mushrooms to remain for reproduction.

Wild or domestic, they’ve become a popular commodity. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, from 2015 to 2016, the nation’s oyster mushroom production measured roughly 3,749 tons. In 2016, the total value of oyster mushroom sales surpassed $36 million. Whether you buy them or find them, Wright says they all smell “mushroomy.”

“It is a mild smell. Not a strong odor,” he says. “They will pick up the flavor of what’s cooking—garlic, etc.”

He says they have a relatively soft texture and are a nice complement to stir fry or steak. Wright thinks that wild oyster mushrooms differ from commercial mushrooms.

Wild oyster mushrooms grow in a great variety of hues, like a fall bouquet. They smell like rainfall—a trait that cannot be substituted. They are biochemically unique and may play a role in cleaning our planet. Native to the Great Plains, they are delicious and easy to find during this time of year.

Visit midwestmycology.org/Mushrooms/Species%20listed/Pleurotus%20species.html for more information. 

Disclaimer: Some varieties of wild mushrooms are poisonous, even deadly. If you choose to harvest or eat wild mushrooms, do so at your own risk.



Come On In

November 19, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Pumpkinpalooza in May?

June 11, 2014 by

Time to start planning for Halloween. No, really. I mean it.

Pumpkin seeds in these climes should be in the ground by late May, which means that it is now decision time on the subject of “to pumpkin” or “not to pumpkin.”

My wife, Julie, and I had never planted pumpkins until just last year. The idea was that our preschool grandsons, Easton and Barrett, would help with the planting and nurturing of their favorite orbs. It would all culminate in a pumpkin decorating party of epic proportions. But I was more than a little reluctant. My hesitation was related to the fact that pumpkins are, as you know, a vining plant.

The widest bed in our back yard is only about eight feet across. That’s not a lot of breathing room. Taking the pumpkin plunge, I knew right from the start, had the potential to get a little hairy.

I had no idea.

Long before harvest time our backyard already looked like a scene from The Day of the Triffids, the classic British sci-fi flick where post-apocalyptic, man-eating vegetable matter threatened to devour the planet. Mowing became almost impossible because octopus-like tendrils reached into every nook and cranny of the yard. Vine vagabonds even went calling on the neighbors when they found their way through knotholes and other imperfections in our fence.

But that wasn’t the least of my worries.

Almost overnight our precious—if not precocious—crop became covered in a white fungus that I soon came to know as something called powdery mildew. The interwebs told me that the only solution was to amputate with gusto. Any and all hint of the offending disease had to be removed. Rapunzel’s tresses needed a serious trim.

A post-op appraisal of my surgical handiwork revealed that only two softball-sized pumpkins remained, and now it was our duty to baby those things along so that each grandson would have their own personal share of the bounty.

The grandkids have a season pass to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and go totally gaga exploring every square inch of that sprawling wonderland. It’s not like they are in danger of suffering from any kind of pumpkin deficit disorder. The problems of two little pumpkins don’t amount to a hill of beans in Easton and Barrett’s gourd-crazed world, so why couldn’t that powdery mildew have gone two vines more and just put me out of my misery?

It was then that Julie reminded me of The Plan. The plantings were nothing but a vehicle to set up a pumpkin decorating party. None of those store-bought pretenders in our home. It was to be the most Rockwellian of scenes—the four of us laboring to schlep gargantuan, potentially record-breaking behemoths into the house as an array of googly-eyed craft supplies stood at the ready. We were to create the most breathtaking…

Check that. Instead, we ended up with a pair of rather anemic, lopsided nuggets no larger than an average cantaloupe.

But Julie was right. Our little pumpkin-decorating party was a blast and the results were perfect, in a Charlie Brown Christmas tree kind of way. The simple had triumphed over the sophisticated.
And that is why, despite all reason, we are dedicated once again to executing The Plan. Pumpkinpalooza awaits.