Farm Festival: A celebration of Blackstone District and its revival

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Mina Davis
CONTRIBUTOR

With the Farnam Festival back for its second continuous year celebrating the Blackstone neighborhood, participants were able to experience the area on an intimate level. The festival itself had previously been on hiatus for a few years before making its return in 2015.

The Blackstone district in Omaha is a rejuvenated district with a very rich history that stretches from 36th to 42nd streets along Farnam Street.

In the early 20th century, the area was vibrant with a variety of businesses. The neighborhood was also a major stop along a streetcar line that connected downtown to Dundee. Since then, more development has gone back into the area, encouraging more businesses and tenants to move in and help grow the area.

Farnam Festival celebrates the area’s unique heritage with a line-up of bands from varying genres, food, vendors and very, very good beer.

The event began at 3:30 p.m. Oct 8 and ended at 12 a.m. People were free to wander in and out of the festival and into the main Blackstone District area.

Upon entrance to the event, for those who rode a bike, there was a bike valet who was readily offering services of parking bikes at their designated tent area.

Otherwise, there was plenty of street parking in nearby areas that allowed for many to walk to the main area with ease.

Before entering the main stage area, celebrants were able to participate and visit local vendor booths with people offering their wares. Some booths offered a brief introduction to the organizations that were also doing community work in the Blackstone district.

Admission to the event was free. For $5 however, one could purchase a drink ticket or could choose to spend cash to enter a raffle to help support the local business association for the Blackstone neighborhood.

Dereck Higgins, a local artist in the community, was the emcee for the night. In between announcing raffle winners and introducing musical acts, he encouraged festival goers to get up, shake it and have a good time.

Six musical acts were slated to perform throughout the night. Some of the acts were local, coming from nearby Lincoln and others as far away as Chicago and Iowa City.

Festivalgoers had a very casual environment with tables where groups could sit and casually chat or standing tables placed farther back from the stage.

The environment was very laid-back with lots of people wandering back and forth from the various areas of the festival. No pressure was to be had if one only wanted to enjoy music for maybe an hour and leave. This allowed for the necessary amount of time to be had to revel in all the progress that has been made in the area and to also enjoy the vibe of the festival.

Farnam Festival is a definite must-attend, especially for those who are curious about the area but want to explore in small doses along with having a weekend destination. Undoubtedly, by next year the Blackstone District will be offering more shops to browse with another round of raucous celebrations in honor of the renewed energy in the district.

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