Taste of Omaha draws in massive crowd for the 3-day festival event


By Krystal Sidzyik, Senior Staff Writer


Omaha’s 15th annual Taste of Omaha proved to be a success as the Heartland of America Park and Lewis & Clark Landing was flooded with people all weekend long.

The event was held June 1 through 3, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The event featured amusement rides, live music, food and various vendors. Admission was free.

The food lovers of Omaha came out in full force on Saturday to get a taste from over 30 restaurants on the second day of the three-day festival extravaganza. Some of the more popular restaurants included Alexander’s BBQ, Katie’s Greek Restaurant, Espana and Jazz: A Louisiana Kitchen. The festival featured food from all over the world including Mexican, Italian, Greek, Oriental, Mediterranean, Polish, Continental and American cuisine.

Festival-goers were required to purchase tickets for admission to the amusement rides and to taste the food. Attendees could purchase 32 tickets for $20. Food booths required anywhere from two to 15 tickets for a meal or drink and the rides required the same.

As a food lover who had never tried southern food, I went with a dish called Chicken a la Mer from the restaurant Jazz: A Lousiana Kitchen for nine tickets. The dish contained chicken, shrimp, crabmeat and rice in a creamy Cajun alfredo sauce. To say the least, I wasn’t disappointed. Jazz is located at 1421 Farnam Street, where they serve Chicken a la Mer every day. I highly recommend visiting the southern restaurant for a taste of the delicious dish.

The festival also featured five different stages for live music throughout the festival. Saturday’s performers highlighted Omaha’s rich heritage with the sounds of Polka, Mexican and Irish musicians, along with Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, Acoustic and Folk performances.

I caught the Blues and Rhythm band ShurThing on the Heartland Harbor Stage at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. The band was a hit with the crowd as they danced to the buzzing horns and fun soulful singing. Other performers included Velvet Crush, Blue Oyster Colt and Omaha’s Tim Halperin. Halperin was one of the top 12 males of the 2010 American Idol competition.

The Taste of Omaha has been drawing massive crowds for 15 years, and as a fan of the festival for three of them, I’m already eager for next year.