North Platte and the surrounding communities host many annual events
Whether you enjoy good, old-fashioned western fun or a celebration of North Platte’s Railroad heritage, you’ll have a good time in Lincoln County. You can find a full listing of all of the upcoming fun in the local area by clicking on our community calendar. The events listed on this page are North Platte area’s signature annual events that you can count on for top-notch entertainment.
The fun starts with the New Year’s Eve Midnight Magic run and continues through the popular Jingle Bell Run in early December. The 2013 series included 21 races ranging from fun miles through 15K’s and Triathlons. No matter your fitness level, one of the races in the series will fit your needs, and it’s a great opportunity to get out into the beautiful countryside surrounding North Platte.
Annual Sandhill Crane Migration
Each year hundreds of thousands of Sandhill Cranes migrate through the area, stopping over for about six weeks on their way to their nesting grounds in the north. The migration begins in mid to late February and continues through early April. Sandhill Cranes can be seen (and heard!) in the cornfields between North Platte and Sutherland, from a viewing blind at the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park, from the Golden Spike Tower and on private land and Wildlife Management Areas along the North Platte River. Be sure to stop in at the North Platte Visitors Bureau for a driving map and viewing information.
Country Bluegrass Show
Scheduled for April 24 through 26, 2014, Nebraska’s finest Bluegrass festival is held at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds (5015 West Highway 30). For more information visit the Country Bluegrass Show website or contact Donna Mentzer at (308) 532-1465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honky Tonk BBQ Festival
The 2013 Festival maxed out with 40+ teams from across the Country. Organizers are actively preparing for the 9th annual festival in 2014 on May 2 and 3. FestivalEvents in addition to the BBQ competition include a “food for all”, Wild West Bacon Fest, beer garden, karaoke and live music. For more information visit their website at http://www.honkytonkbbq.com/.
On July 4th, 1882, the world’s greatest showman, Buffalo Bill Cody produced the “Old Glory Blowout” in North Platte. That show would eventually become Cody’s Wild West Show. 2014 will mark the 132nd anniversary of the first spectator rodeo. From Country and Rock Concerts to the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, Art competitions and everything in between, there is something for everyone at NEBRASKAland DAYS. NEBRASKAland DAYS 2014 is schedule for June 18-28, 2014, with many exciting changes in the works!
Buffalo Bill Rodeo June 18-21
US Cellular Summer Jam Concert Series June 27-28
The fun isn’t limited to North Platte! All of the communities of Lincoln County proudly present their own local celebrations. For the best fun hometown America has to offer, make plans to explore one of these small towns during their celebrations. The fun starts off July 3 and 4 with the Sutherland 4th of July celebration. Next in line is Brady Days, followed closely by the Maxwell Heritage Day. August closes out with the Hershey Fall Festival. September starts off with the Wellfleet Fall Festival and the celebration season wraps up with the Wallace Fall Festival in late September.
More than 300 cars fill the streets in downtown North Platte the first full weekend of September each year as North Platte’s local car club hosts the annual Show and Shine. The fun starts on September 6, 2013 at 6:30pm at the Holiday Inn Express for the welcoming banquet. Saturday September 7 is the all-day show in downtown North Platte. You won’t want to miss out on the annual drawing for the Mid Plains Community College restored car, held at 2pm on Saturday. A church service at the Holiday Inn Express on Sunday morning rounds out the weekend of activities.
Every September, the top 15 Nebraska Cowboys and Cowgirls in the standings of the Nebraska State Rodeo Association come to North Platte to compete in the finals. Held in the prestigious Wild West Arena, home of the annual Buffalo Bill PRCA Rodeo, in the town where modern spectator Rodeo was invented by Buffalo Bill in 1882, these top athletes put on quite a show.
This year “Arts in the Park” celebrates it’s 40th year!! One of Nebraska’s premiere craft shows, this year will be one to remember! Live music & lots of exciting things happening for the 40th Anniversary!
Held annually in September the first Sunday after Labor Day, the 2013 Arts in the Park will be held September 8, from 10am to 4pm in Cody Park.
Rail Fest is an annual celebration of North Platte’s spirit and origins – as railroad and western heritage come together for three fun-filled days of community events & entertainment. The celebration is held in North Platte’s Historic Original Town area in and around Cody Park at the junction of Highways 83 & 30. The highlight of the celebration are the bus tours through the enormous Bailey Yard.
Rail Fest 2013 has been scheduled for September 20-22. Make plans now to join us for an exciting weekend of events!
Thirteen college rodeo teams from the NIRA Great Plains Division, including Mid-Plains Community College, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Hastings College, Black Hills State University, Dickinson State University, Iowa Central Community College, Iowa State University, Mitchell Technical Institute, North Dakota State University, Northeast Iowa Community College, South Dakota State University, and the University of Wisconsin – River Falls plus numerous independent contestants will come to North Platte September 20 and 21 with performances at 7:00pm each night.
Each October, North Platte’s McKinley Education Center is the home of the Sheldon Museum of Art’s Sheldon Statewide Exhibit. The Sheldon Statewide program is a division of the Sheldon Museum of Art outreach program and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Its mission is to serve Nebraska communities throughout the state by sharing the museum’s outstanding collection of American art. Since its inception in 1987, the program has reached over 275,000 people in 24 Nebraska communities.
Santa’s Workshop has been a North Platte tradition for generations. Now in North Platte’s scenic Cody Park, numerous animated vignettes portray all aspects of the Christmas season, from busy elves toiling away in the workshop to joyous children on Christmas morning. The workshop opens December 1 and runs through December 31 each night at dusk. Frequent special events include Carousel rides and concessions, horse drawn rides, visits from Santa, caroling and foods of the season.
Buffalo Bill’s magnificent Victorian mansion is decorated for the holidays and open to the public the weekend before Christmas Eve each year. The 2013 dates are December 19 – 22, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. More than twenty trees decorated by the staff of the Buffalo Bill State Historic Park and area non-profit organizations fill every room and public space. In the barn, area 4th graders decorate each stall with Christmas cheer. Outdoors you can enjoy caroling, horse drawn rides, hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts. Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley are even on hand to wish you a Merry Christmas!