In the eyes of Laura Schwartz, nothing says Papillion Days like a parade.
The 72nd annual parade is just one of the many festivities Papillion will celebrate over a five-day span, beginning this evening.
“What is more Americana than a parade down your main street?” said Schwartz, the executive director of the Papillion Community Foundation. “Of all the things we do, the parade is what unites us. It brings out the spirit of the community and says to everyone this is my town.
“It shows that it’s important to us what happens in this town.”
The parade may be the centerpiece of Papillion’s annual celebration, but it is one of just numerous things that both residents and non-residents will have at their disposal.
The fun kicks off tonight, Wednesday, with a free concert at SumTur Amphitheater featuring ReCaptured: A Tribute to Journey at 7 p.m.
The first of four days of the carnival begins Thursday as well as four days of the Papillion Days Beer Fest, a beer garden that will feature live music each evening.
The first of three straight days of the Market in the Park goes from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday in City Park with the always popular Papillion Idol taking the stage from 6 to 8 p.m.
Friday’s evening highlights include the Breath of Life Car Show at Grace Baptist Church, 205 E. Halleck St. as well as a free ice cream social at First Street Plaza. The evening concludes with a fireworks show.
Saturday kicks off with the Kiddie Parade, beginning at Fire Station 3 at 146 Adams St. The annual Papillion Junior Woman’s Club duck paddle race begins at 10:45 a.m. and an American Red Cross blood drive will also take place throughout the day.
The parade gets under way at 2 p.m. down Washington Street with a theme of “Wagons to Wings.”
“It serves as a precursor to Papillion 150,” Schwartz said. “It can mean so many things to many different people. It can be about the pioneers and how we’ve flown into the future or the migration of the butterflies.”
Following the parade will be performances by both Papillion-La Vista and Papillion-La Vista South high school bands. The evening will feature a dance party from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Sunday opens with a pancake breakfast from Boy Scout Troop #463. The afternoon will feature local musicians from the Papillion House of Music and the evening wraps up with a free concert from the Papillion Area Concert Band at 7:30 p.m. at SumTur.