Kick off the Holiday Lights Festival on Small Business Saturday at The RiverFront

Annual Lighting Ceremony Scheduled for Saturday, November 25th in Gene Leahy Mall at The RiverFront

(OMAHA, Nebr.) — A favorite tradition returns this year, heralding the start to the holiday season on a brand-new date. In partnership with The RiverFront, the Holiday Lights Festival Lighting Ceremony will take place the evening of Saturday, November 25th in Gene Leahy Mall at The RiverFront.

“This lighting ceremony is the perfect way to begin our city’s holiday celebrations,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “And with the event moving to Small Business Saturday, it’s a wonderful opportunity to support all the local businesses and restaurants in and around the Old Market as well.”

The Lighting Ceremony serves as the official kick-off to the Holiday Lights Festival season. Festive tree lights will illuminate the Old Market, and North and South Omaha along 24th Street from Sunday, November 26th until early January. Additionally, the Holiday Lights Festival has other free and family-friendly events scheduled throughout the holiday season. The annual KETV Family Festival, where attendees can visit some of Omaha’s finest arts and cultural institutions for free, will be Sunday, December 3rd. Rounding out the Holiday Lights Festival season is the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular taking place on Sunday, December 31st. Conagra Brands Foundation’s annual Shine the Light on Hunger campaign benefitting the Food Bank for the Heartland will take place throughout the holiday season as well.

The RiverFront will decorate each of its three parks with traditional white tree lights and other festive decorations. To kick off the Lighting Ceremony, a seasonal multimedia show will once again light up Gene Leahy Mall in celebration of all wintertime holidays. Video projection onto the Performance Pavilion and Burlington Building will be synchronized with sound and music that may be heard throughout the park, with multiple showings through the end of the year.

“The RiverFront has become a favorite destination for our community,” said Roger Dixon, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA), which oversees park operations. “Which is why we are honored to again host the annual Lighting Ceremony at Gene Leahy Mall in conjunction with our downtown Omaha partners.”

The Holiday Lights Festival is presented by Mayor Jean Stothert and the Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation, with special event partners The RiverFront and the Conagra Brands Foundation. For more information on the Holiday Lights Festival, visit and follow the Festival on Facebook and Instagram. For more information about The RiverFront and all of the programming being facilitated by their team, visit their online calendar at

About Holiday Lights Festival

Since 1999, the Holiday Lights Festival has been an annual celebration of Omaha’s holiday spirit, complete with free, family-friendly events scheduled throughout the entire holiday season. In 2007, the Holiday Lights Festival added the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign, sponsored by Conagra Brands Foundation and in partnership with Food Bank for the Heartland. For more information on the 2023 Holiday Lights Festival, visit and follow the Festival on both Facebook and Instagram.

About The RiverFront

The RiverFront is a transformation of 72-acres in downtown Omaha, renovating and interconnecting three previously existing city parks: Gene Leahy Mall, Heartland of America Park and Lewis & Clark Landing. The project spans from the Missouri River westward into the city’s urban core, extending to 13th Street. The Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA) is managing park construction, activation and maintenance. The RiverFront, which is a highly programmed green space, rich with native plantings and permanent amenities, is reopening in phases, which began with Gene Leahy Mall on July 1, 2022, after about three years of construction. Lewis & Clark Landing and Heartland of America Park will be completed on August 18, 2023.


Holiday Lights Festival Contact:
Maggie Winton, VGA

The RiverFront Contact:
Kristyna Engdahl, MECA