the 11

Events You Shouldn’t Miss If You Live in Omaha

How do you activate a public space? Host an event no one wants to miss. This list was compiled by Omaha by Design’s Place Game facilitators. The Place Game, a free service of Omaha by Design, is an organized way of brainstorming potential improvements to public spaces by listening to the people who use them. It was developed by the Project for Public Spaces, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. All events on the list are free, open to the public and held in a public space.

The 11:

Holiday Lighting Ceremony

Gene Leahy Mall
Nov. 25, 2010
This annual celebration flips the switch on the spectacular lighting display in and around Gene Leahy Mall. Following the ceremony, attendees can enjoy extended hours of Old Market shopping and dining or a free holiday concert at the Holland Performing Arts Center.
(Photo courtesy of Vic Gutman & Associates)

Cinco de Mayo

South Omaha
May 6-8, 2011
The South Omaha Latino community has been hosting Cinco de Mayo events in Omaha since 1985. Annual festivities include a grand parade, food, music and boundless community spirit.
(Photo courtesy of Cinco de Mayo Omaha)

Village Pointe Farmers Market and Summer Concert Series

Village Pointe
Farmers Market
Saturdays starting April 30 through Oct. 1, 2011
8:00am to 1:00pm

Summer Concert Series
Saturday nights starting May 28 through Aug. 7, 2011
6:30 to 8:30pm
The annual farmers market, billed as “real food, real farmers,” also features community activities and cooking demonstrations. The Vibes at Village Pointe series brings a variety of musical entertainment to its spacious amphitheatre each season.
(Photo by Ken Mayer)

Omaha Farmers Market

Old Market
May 7 through Oct. 15, 2011
8:00am to 12:30pm
Thousands of shoppers visit the market each week for an array of truly local treats, including vegetables, meats, fruits, herbs, bedding plants, cut flowers, baked goods, jams and jellies, coffees, honey, cheeses, organic foods, ethnic foods, dog biscuits and more.
(Photo courtesy of Vic Gutman & Associates)

Omaha Summer Arts Festival

Downtown Omaha
June 10-12, 2011
The festival, which celebrates its 37th year in 2011, features some of the nation’s finest visual artists, a wide variety of food vendors, stages with continuous musical performances and a hands-on children’s fair.
(Photo courtesy of Vic Gutman & Associates)


Countryside Village Art Fair

Countryside Village grounds
June 4-5, 2011
This event is billed as the “oldest and finest” outdoor art show in Nebraska. The show is dedicated to fine art, and participation is limited to 140 artists.
(Photo by Ken Mayer)


North Omaha
June 10-18, 2011
Juneteenth commemorates the day when slaves from the last geographic area in America where slavery existed learned of their freedom. The weeklong Omaha celebration will begin with a flag-raising ceremony at the Charles B. Washington Branch of the Omaha Public Library and end with a “Lunch on the Lawn” family event after the parade.

Shakespeare on the Green

Elmwood Park
June 23 to July 10, 2011
(Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays)
The 2011 season will mark the 25th anniversary of “free Shakespeare for all” in Omaha.
(Photo by Tim Fitzgerald)

Jazz on the Green

Turner Park
July 7 to Aug. 11, 2011
In Omaha, relaxing to the music of Jazz on the Green Thursday evenings has become a summer tradition. In 2010, the event moved from the Joslyn Art Museum to Turner Park, the centerpiece of Midtown Crossing at 31st and Dodge.
(Photo courtesy of Danny Vasquez Photography)

Bank of the West Celebrates America Concert

Memorial Park
July 1, 2011
This free, family-friendly summertime tradition kicks off the area’s Independence Day festivities. The 2011 event will mark the concert’s 21st anniversary.
(Photo courtesy of Bank of the West)


River City Rodeo Heritage Parade

Downtown Omaha
Sept. 24, 2011
Huge balloons, marching bands, horses and cowboys mix with downtown skyscrapers and streets as thousands celebrate this annual event.
(Photo courtesy of Knights of Aksarben)


Is your neighborhood a great place? Help improve the public spaces in your corner of the city by hosting a Place Game workshop. Omaha by Design offers Place Game workshops free of charge for neighborhood and civic groups from March through October. For more information, call 402.934.7055 or email