As you start filling your summer up with events save a spot for a stop in Kearney. Whether you come from hundreds of miles away or are looking for fun close to home, set your sites (and your GPS) on Kearney this summer.
Kearney delivers a variety of experiences, from outdoor recreation and sporting events to concerts and outdoor markets. With all those options decisions can be difficult, so we compiled a list of the 7 must-do events to add to your summer ‘Bucket List’.
- Buffalo County Fair – When you say summer, one of the first things that pops into my head is walking down the midway to get my ‘fair food’ fix. There is way more to the Buffalo County Fair than funnel cakes! But that is a personal highlight. Also topping that list, concerts are a big draw during fair time. This year you can take your pick from artists, Rodney Carrington, Rodney Atkins with Locash or the Midwestern rock band, Red Wanting Blue. Lastly, what fair is complete without a ride on the Ferris Wheel?! The carnival is open for six days for you and your kiddos to enjoy.
- Kearney Water Trail – One of the first of its kind in Nebraska, the Kearney Water Trail is 2.3 miles of easy and enjoyable float through town, with public access points at the northeast corner of Yanney Park off 11th Street and along Central Avenue behind Midway Auto. Bring your own kayak or rent one at from Kearney Paddle Sports. Just call ahead to make your reservation.
UPDATE July 2019 – Due to recent flood the water trail is closed until further notice.
- An Outdoor Performance – I love it when the arts and outdoors come together! Bring a lawn chair and enjoy one of the many free concerts/performances we have this summer. The Rockin’ the Bricks concert series in Downtown Kearney brings great music, food and drinks, and lots of shopping and activities for the whole family. Or hit up the Concerts in the Park series, a summer tradition 40 years in the making, Sunday evenings at Harmon Park.
Lastly, your ‘bucket-list’ will not be complete without taking in the outdoor performances by the Crane River Theater Company. This year they will be performing ‘You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown’ at Yanney Park Amphitheater. It is sure to be fun for the whole family!
- Splash Pads – Hot days and splash pads, what a perfect combination! There are multiple locations around town to splash around! Cool off this summer at Yanney Heritage Park, Nina Hammer Park, East Brooke Park or Dryden Park.
- Cunningham’s on the Lake – Summer nights sitting on a patio with a cold beverage, looking out on the water…does it get any better than that?! If that sounds like your kind of fun, we have just the place. Cunningham’s Journal on the Lake opened last summer and has instantly became a local favorite. Kick back, relax and choose from over 45 different local and regional brews or craft cocktails. With great food and unique atmosphere, you definitely don’t want to miss this one!
UPDATE July 2019 – Due to recent flood Cunningham’s on the Lake is closed until further notice. In the meantime, visit their downtown location for great food, outdoor garden and other events.
- Nebraska Firefighters Museum and Education Center – You can’t leave town without taking in some local history, and the Firefighters Museum is just the place. Their mission is to safeguard and preserve Nebraska’s proud firefighting heritage. Experience antique fire trucks and equipment, and enjoy hands-on with their fire prevention exhibits and activities.
This summer the Firefighters Museum will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary! (also Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday) Join the celebration, August 17th! There will be a Fire Truck Show & Shine, BBQ competition, kids games, entertainment, demonstrations and more.
- Kearney Night Market – Gather downtown “on the bricks” Thursday nights this summer for the Kearney Night Market. Celebrate local entrepreneurship while enjoying Kearney’s historic downtown. At the Night Market, you’ll find everything from a Beer Garden, fresh food, craft vendors, coffee, Sno Cones, BBQ, and much more!