The 22nd Native Omaha Days Festival will be the biggest yet, organizers announced Monday.
North Omaha’s biennial homecoming celebration will feature more than 30 events July 29 through Aug. 5, including trolley tours, golf outings, a comedy jam, jazz and gospel music and child-friendly activities.
Vicki Quaites-Ferris, event planning facilitator, said the economic impact of Native Omaha Days is significant to north Omaha businesses.
“When you add it all up, these businesses rely on these kinds of events,” Quaites-Ferris said. “We want it to be something that is ongoing.”
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Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray pointed out the recent development along the North 24th Street corridor.
“The only way that I think we’re going to continue to develop north Omaha is if we have our businesses and others in the community helping us to tell the great story that you have seen in the newspaper about 24th Street and the glory that has been a part of this community from the beginning,” Gray said.
Bettie McDonald witnessed that beginning.
The 91-year-old sat on a bench and smiled as Quaites-Ferris and other organizers announced the new Native Omaha Festival events.
McDonald co-founded the festival in 1976 as a homecoming and a time for the community to come together in celebration of the North 24th Street culture.
“It’s changing beautifully,” McDonald said of the festival. “Seeing these young folks come out with their community is beautiful.”
Major events include:
Native Omaha Days Gospel Fest
Featuring performances by Millicent Crawford, Dani Crawford, Chad Stoner, Eric and Doriette Jordan, The Arvies, J. Crum LeWade Milliner and Jarron Taylor.
Wednesday, July 31, 7 p.m.
Morning Star Baptist Church, 2019 Burdette St.
Stroll Down Memory Lane
Friday, Aug. 2, 4 to 8 p.m.
24th and Lake Streets
Native Omaha Days Parade
Saturday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. to noon
30th Street from Lake Street to Sprague Street
Native Homecoming Days Ball featuring Mario Corbino
Saturday, Aug. 3, doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.
Hilton Omaha, 1001 Cass St.
A full list of Native Omaha Days events can be found at nativeomahadays.org.