Nebraska’s unique history brings an assortment of memorable family-friendly festivals and events all summer long. From celebrating chickens to fruity drinks, there’s something for the entire family.
Midlands Pirate Festival
Ahoy! The Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch in Papillion hosts the annual Midlands Pirate Festival every May. It’s set appropriately with a huge beached pirate ship, a daily treasure hunt and a re-creation of the Caribbean’s Port Royale. Don’t be surprised to see island men, women and pirates carousing through the festival and putting on shows.
Location: 11001 S. 48th St., Papillion, NE 68133
Rates: $10/adults, $6/kids, ages two and under/free. A two-day adult pass is $15.
Every year during the third week in September Nebraskans gather to celebrate the apple harvest at the AppleJack Festival. Look forward to music, face painting, Fun Run and Walk, Go Kart Street Race, quilt show, craft show, classic car show and a parade complete with 30-plus marching bands. The AppleJam Carnival features inflatable games and mechanical rides and the Arbor Lodge, Arbor Day Farm and the Orchards invite guests to pick their own apples and buy farm-made apple goodies.
Location: 1021 Central Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410
If there’s one thing Nebraskans are proud of it’s their heritage, and that’s why NEBRASKAland DAYS in western Nebraska is a cherished annual event featuring Nebraska’s culture through art shows, rodeos, parades, concerts and, of course, fun food events such as Sandhills Chili Cook Off, Microbrewery Beer Festival and Lunch with the Wild Bunch and All Male Cake Auction.
Location: North Platte, Nebraska
Rates: Free and up – depending upon events attended
Wayne Chicken Show
As an award-winning festival, the Wayne Chicken Show held every July is not to be missed. Not only does this event host the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, there’s also a Rooster Crowing Contest, a Hard-Boiled Egg Eating Contest and a National Cluck-Off which means contestants must act and sound like a chicken for at least 15 seconds. Other events include kite flying, children’s games, live entertainment, fireworks, a quilt show, a 1M Walk/5K Run, an omelet feed and a parade down Main Street.
Location: Wayne, Nebraska
More than 80 years ago Nebraska’s Official Soft Drink was created by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. Today the brand is celebrated at Kool-Aid Days with 30 family-friendly events. Attendees enjoy watching a parade, games, contests, entertainment and the world’s largest Kool-Aid stand which serves 14 flavors of Kool-Aid.
Location: Downtown and Brickyard Park, Hastings, Nebraska