Omaha Parades

Drums are going, horns are honking. Must mean it's nap time.
Drums are going, horns are honking. Must mean it’s nap time.

Omaha loves a parade. Once or twice a year, I drag my family to one only to realize I don’t really like it (I’m talking about the parade, not my family). I have parade-induced amnesia.

But for most normal folk, parades are fun, and you can enjoy one almost every season in Omaha. Maybe when my kids are a little older, I’ll remember the joy in watching their excitement. At 3 and 1½, they’re still overwhelmed by the whole experience. But I will forget this and take them to the next one that comes along.

You can't tell by the picture, but Farley was a walking billboard for politicians at the Benson Parade in 2012. Lots of stickers. Lots of stickers...
You can’t tell by the picture, but Farley was a walking billboard for politicians at the Benson Parade in 2012.
Seriously, how many stickers are you gonna give the kid?

Here’s a rundown of some Omaha parade options:

  • Septemberfest – Falling on Labor Day weekend, this one has the benefit of having somewhat enjoyable weather. Who knows with Omaha You know, on second thought, maybe donuts from Petit’s is a bad idea during a parade.

    weather, though, right? It’s the longest parade (or just feels like it) in Omaha, with the most inflatable characters. Tons of community organizations participate in it and most throw candy, so if you’re OK with Halloween-levels of sugar entering your home, be sure your kids bring a bag for their haul. The big draw for Farley were the fire engines and other service vehicles. Arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the parade to find a good spot, preferably one that isn’t by stop lights; I learned from experience that the cool factor of large inflatables is negated when they have to be brought down to ground level to go under stop lights. We staked out a spot by Petit’s Pastry, 502 N. 16th St., so I could get us donuts. There will be a line at Petit’s, but it’s worth it.

  • St. Patrick’s Day – Here’s one I revisit every few years thinking “This year, it’s going to be fun!” It’s held on the coldest day of the year – maybe that’s just how I remember it since it’s in March. We went this year with the kids and left early because I lost feeling in my fingers and Mooch was approaching meltdown level. This one does get bonus points for having the most entertaining people watching, though. And I’m talking about the spectators. Crazy Irish.
  • Neighborhood and Smaller Parades –
    Benson Parade
    Benson Parade

    We’ve checked out Benson’s annual parade (held during Benson Days in July), it’s shorter than the two biggies above, but there’s enough candy thrown to satisfy a third-grade classroom. It’s also crazy loud, but maybe that was just me since Mooch decided that a parade made for perfect napping conditions. Other parades around Omaha include Cinco de Mayo (in May, duh), Florence Days (May), Native Omaha Days (bi-annual event held at the end of July) and Millard Days (August). Some smaller neighborhoods have parades, like Dundee, and Omaha Children’s Museum has one to kick off summer each year at the end of May.

What else am I missing? Do you have a favorite that you can endorse, because I’m doing a terrible job!

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