Omaha Shines Bright This Holiday Season

Annual Holiday Lights Festival Brings Season of Free and Festive Family-Friendly Fun

(OMAHA, Neb.) November 14, 2023 – Bring on the festive holiday cheer with the 24th annual Holiday Lights Festival! Produced by Mayor Jean Stothert and Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation, the Festival will illuminate the Old Market and North and South 24th Street from November 25th to January 1st. Several free family-friendly events will also take place as part of the Festival throughout the holiday season.

“The Holiday Lights Festival not only the beauty of our city but the generosity of our community,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “We are so fortunate to have incredible event partners and community members who work with us every year to make the Holiday Lights Festival a time of free and festive fun for everyone.”

Elements of this year’s Holiday Lights Festival include:

Lighting Ceremony (in partnership with The RiverFront): The annual Lighting Ceremony will take place on a brand new date this year – Saturday, November 25th. Produced in partnership with The RiverFront, this event serves as the official kick-off for the Holiday Lights Festival season. The Lighting Ceremony will be held in Gene Leahy Mall at the Performance Pavilion around 11th & Farnam – there will be special festive entertainment on the pavilion stage beginning around 5:30pm with the official ceremony starting at 6pm. Immediately following the Lighting Ceremony, the public is invited to explore the remainder of The RiverFront’s decorations before heading over to the Old Market to see lighting displays, produced by the Holiday Lights Festival, which will illuminate the area’s historic architecture. Then, help celebrate Small Business Saturday by visiting the local restaurants and shops located in downtown Omaha.

Lighting Displays: Following the Lighting Ceremony, festive holiday lights will illuminate downtown Omaha every evening from November 25th to January 1st. The Old Market Lighting Displays stretch from 10th to 13th Street and Farnam to Jackson Streets. The North Omaha Lighting Displays will light up the North 24th & Lake Street neighborhood, from Burdette to Ohio Street, while the South Omaha Lighting Displays will light up South 24th Street from L to Q Street. Both the Holiday Lights Festival Lighting Displays and The RiverFront’s Lighting Displays will run through January 1st, 2024.

KETV Family Festival: The KETV Family Festival will take place on Sunday, December 3rd from 11am to 4pm. Downtown Omaha’s favorite attractions will offer free admission as well as holiday activities and entertainment. There will also be a free trolley service transporting festivalgoers between venues!

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular: The annual fireworks show is the perfect way to bid farewell to 2023. Like the past few years, the show will take place by CHI Heath Center, near 10th and Cass Streets. CHI Health Center parking lots will be open so you can enjoy the fireworks show from the comfort of your own vehicle.

Shine the Light on Hunger Campaign: For the 17th year, the Shine the Light on Hunger campaign will take place in conjunction with the Holiday Lights Festival. This campaign, led by the Conagra Brands Foundation with all proceeds benefitting Food Bank for the Heartland, is a rallying call to the Omaha community to support essential front-line hunger relief efforts and provide meals for those in need. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at blue collection barrels located at all Omaha-area Baker’s Supermarkets and several local arts organizations from November 14th through December 31st, and monetary donations can be made online by visiting FoodBankHeartland.org.

“There is nothing better than seeing our city lit up with festive holiday cheer every year,” said Richard Callahan, Executive Director of Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation. “From starting the season with the Lighting Ceremony on Small Business Saturday to seeing fireworks dazzle the skyline on New Year’s Eve, there is no better way to celebrate the holidays in Omaha than the Holiday Lights Festival.”

For more information about the 24th annual Holiday Lights Festival and all its events, visit www.HolidayLightsFestival.org and follow the Festival on Facebook and Instagram. For more information about The RiverFront’s lighting displays, visit www.TheRiverFrontOmaha.org.  

The Holiday Lights Festival would not be possible without the generosity of various corporate, foundation, and individual sponsors:

Producing Sponsors are Mayor Jean Stothert and the Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation. Media Sponsors are KETV Channel 7 and STAR 104.5 The Christmas Station. Event Partners are Conagra Brands and The RiverFront.

Shining Sponsors include The Sherwood Foundation; Douglas County Board of Commissioners; Anonymous; Lozier Foundation; City of Omaha; North End Teleservices; Union Pacific; Woodmen Life; and Lamar Advertising.

Radiant Sponsors include Anonymous; Applied Underwriters, Inc.; Lincoln Financial Group; Mutual of Omaha; Noddle Companies; Park Omaha; and Valmont Industries, Inc.

Illuminate Sponsors include Baxter Auto Group; Broadmoor; Fiserv; Kiewit Companies Foundation; Mammel Family Foundation; Omaha Public Power District; Pinnacle Bank; and Tenaska.

Sparkle Sponsors include CHI Health; Omaha Downtown Improvement District; Five Points Bank; Gallup; Greater Omaha Chamber; Kutak Rock, LLP; Omaha Steaks; Annette and Paul Smith; and Wade Trim.