There’s a chill in the air, the leaves are changing and pumpkin spice lattes are once again all the rage—it must be fall! Over the next few months, Omaha will host a festive lineup of events to celebrate the season, from craft fairs to 5k races, and everything in between.
To help you get started on building your seasonal itinerary, we rounded up some of our most anticipated events this fall! Read on for some must-attend autumn celebrations, spooky Halloween spectaculars and art festivals.
September | October | November
Where: Nebraska City – Various Locations
When: September 20-22 | Click here for the full schedule
Photo courtesy of Tammy Partsch via the AppleJack Festival
As one of the top 10 fall harvest festivals in America (as voted by USA Today), this isn’t a festival you want to miss! It draws between 60,000-80,000 people to Nebraska City annually—all eager for fresh apple pie, apple cider, apple cider donuts, caramel apples, apple fritters and more! Not only will you get your apple fix, but you’ll also be able to enjoy live music, craft fairs, a carnival, a parade and even a car show.
Where: Stinson Park, Arksarben
When: September 26-27 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Street performers, national artists, live music—ARTsarben has it all! A celebration of the community, this culture festival brings thousands of people to the area each year to shop, browse and create. It has events and attractions for both adults and kids, so bring everyone along!
Where: The Crescent Moon and Huber-Haus, Omaha
When: September 27-28 | Fri. 4 p.m.-2 a.m. & Sat. 12 p.m.-2 a.m.
Don your lederhosen and your most festive German hat because Oktoberfest is back! Come down to The Crescent Moon and Huber-Haus to indulge in a wide variety of German beer and food (brats, schnitzel, pretzels, oh my!). There will also be live music provided by The Barry Boyce Band and the Polka Police.
Where: Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
When: September 27-29, October 3-6, 17-20, 24-27 | Times Vary
Several nights throughout October, the Henry Doorly Zoo celebrates Halloween after hours. Buy tickets in advance for a chance to see the free-flying bats in Lied Jungle and the Kingdoms of the Night nocturnal animals while enjoying many other Halloween and kid-friendly events. You can even meet with and learn about various zoo animals, and take home a balloon replica from one of the Omaha balloon artists that will be in attendance. Make sure everyone brings their own bag to collect candy throughout the zoo!
Where: Alpacas of the Heartland, Fort Calhoun
When: September 28-29 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Alpacas of the Heartland participates in National Alpaca Farm Weekend every year—and for fans of the lovable creatures, it’s an event to look forward to! Come by on September 28 and 29 to watch 35 alpacas roam the pastures, feed them, see the babies, and shop a huge variety of alpaca-wool items for sale, including yarn, rugs, socks, gloves, scarves, stuffed animals, blankets and more.
Where: The Nebraska Humane Society, Omaha
When: September 29 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
If you’re an animal lover, you won’t want to miss this annual event. This race is the largest annual fundraiser for the Nebraska Humane Society and benefits pets in need of a good home. Plus, you can bring your pup to run or walk alongside you on the 5K route! Check this page for updates and registration details.
Where: Sycamore Farms, Omaha
When: October 4-6, Fri. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. & Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Junkstock
Imagine more than 200 vintage, antique and junk vendors selling their unique wares and furnishings alongside makers, food trucks and live bands—welcome to Junkstock! Located at a century-old horse farm in Waterloo, Nebraska, the festival will feature shopping, live music, delicious food, kid-friendly activities and more. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, it’s definitely a can’t-miss event.
Where: Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha
When: October 5-6 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Lauritzen Gardens will come alive with Japanese culture for this annual festival. Come celebrate early autumn in the gardens and enjoy a variety of activities including calligraphy, origami, traditional games, food tastings and more. There will also be plenty of live music and performances throughout the weekend—visit their website to see the full lineup of events.
Where: Mangelsen’s, Omaha
Where: October 12 | 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
As the longest-running annual Halloween event in Omaha, the Witches’ Tea at Mangelsen’s is fun for the whole family. And the best part? The event is completely free! Look forward to Halloween-themed crafts and games, food and beverages, an all-ages costume contest and more surprise events.
Where: Ditmars Orchard & Vinyard, Council Bluffs
When: October 12-13 | 12-4 p.m.
Come celebrate all things pumpkin at this family-friendly festival! There will be face painters, a balloon artist, pumpkin painting, pumpkin-inspired treats, a corn maze, tractor-pulled rides, live music and more—all of the ingredients needed for a perfect fall fest.
Where: The Capitol District, Omaha
When: October 19 | 1-6 p.m.
The Omaha Beer and Bacon Festival brings together two elements that work together extremely well—beer and bacon. Mingle with dozens of microbreweries serving up over 60 craft beer samples, and nibble on bacon-centric dishes from local chefs—all while enjoying live musical performances! And the best part? This festival raises money for their charity partner, the Buford Foundation and the Omaha Jaycees.
Where: Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, Ashland
When: October 26 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Learn about your favorite modes of transportation (and get some early trick-or-treating done) at this family-friendly event! The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum will display various automobiles for your enjoyment, and kiddos are welcome to come in their Halloween costumes to trick-or-treat with their families.
Where: Village Pointe Shopping Center, Omaha
When: October 26 | 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
In partnership with Susan G. Komen, Omaha’s Great Pumpkin Festival at Village Pointe will include pumpkin carving, Halloween Fun Day with trick-or-treating, characters and games, a live concert and the great pumpkin tree lighting ceremony.
Where: Zorinsky Lake Boat Ramp, Omaha
When: October 27 | 8:15 a.m.
Sweet victory awaits you at the end of this 5K race in the form of a hot, steaming cup of apple cider! The race celebrates fall in Omaha and will take runners past gorgeous Nebraskan terrain. Choose to compete in either the 5K race or the half marathon and be sure to bring your friends and family to race alongside you.
Where: Omaha’s Old Market
When: October 27 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dress in costume for this family-friendly event in Omaha’s Old Market where your whole family can enjoy trick-or-treating, interactive displays from the Omaha Police Department, the Omaha Fire Department and Metro Transit Omaha, face painting, horse carriage rides, a pet costume contest and more!
Where: The Ralston Arena
When: November 7-10 | Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. & Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Hundreds of our nation’s finest artists and makers will gather to display their best handcrafted works at this annual festival. Expect live entertainment, prizes, plenty of food and drink, family-friendly activities and more alongside the craft booths.
Where: Lewis & Clark Landing, Omaha
When: November 28 | 8:45 a.m.
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Before you dig into your Thanksgiving feast, consider starting your holiday off with a festive 5K! The Omaha Turkey Trot begins at Lewis & Clark Landing and winds through picturesque terrain. Participants will be rewarded with warm, sweet and gooey cinnamon rolls after the finish line, and brownie points will be awarded if you show up in a turkey costume!
Where: Lake Cunningham, Omaha
When: November 28, 8 a.m.
Bring your little turkey along to participate in this Thanksgiving Day race! Kids will love to participate in the Lil’ Gobbler Trot (a TK), or if they’re older, they can join the adults in the 5K, 10K or half marathon! All proceeds will benefit the Food Bank for the Heartland. Since the race’s inception in 2012, Feast and Feathers has donated more than 11,000 pounds of food to people in need. Register here to be part of it.
Have a great season!
What are you planning to do this fall? Tell us in the comments below!