Street Festival Showdown


By Joe Shearer, Photo Editor

Summer is coming to an end, as signaled by the legions of twenty-somethings and younger sporting bags and satchels and hurrying across the metro area’s campuses. Summer’s finale is also celebrated by two major Midtown neighborhood street festivals: Farnam Festival and Dundee Day.

Farnam Festival 2.0 will be the second effort of the annual street gathering, and Dundee Day, which has been going for who knows how long, will be in its usual spot in the heart of Dundee. Both events are scheduled for this Saturday, Aug. 27, but those worried about conflicting schedules need not fret. While both celebrations have the same set up and purpose, the two will be operating at different times and cater to different audiences.

Farnam Fest organizer Brad Iwen explained that there were no problems or conflicts when scheduling the event this year.

“We’ve been working on this since April, and Aug. 27 just seemed like the best bet,” Iwen explained. “We heavily researched what was going on around the same time, and we just went for it.”

The first Farnam Fest, which is held at the 40th and Farnam streets area, was on Aug. 7 last year.  Iwen said the heat was absolutely awful, and kept many people from showing up until long after sunset.

Iwen and the small committee that oversees festival operations decided it would be optimal to push the dates back a few weeks, but also have them before Labor Day. Iwen said that the festival is meant to be an end of summer affair.

Farnam Fest is an evening event, while Dundee Day is an all-day blowout, so anyone who wants to can make it to both parties.

“We’re not competing by any stretch of the imagination,” Iwen assured. “Both neighborhoods have strong support for each other, so we’re expecting crossover for each event.”

Starting at 5 p.m., Farnam Festival 2.0 will host a solid cast of local bands. Kyle Harvey, new band Blue Bird and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns will kick off the evening, with near-veteran rockers Little Brazil and the on-the-rise So-So Sailors headlining. At just $5, admission is ridiculously low for the high-quality talent slated to perform.

Farnam Fest is also offering a craft beer garden sponsored by local brewers Lucky Bucket and Kansas-based Tallgrass Brewery. Area businesses will have booths, including a photo booth offered by Iwen Exposures and a tattoo booth hosted by Black Squirrel Tattoo. Local food vendors will also be serving up various edibles throughout the night. Many local Midtown and other area businesses contributed gift certificates and more for a raffle, including a package from Lucky Bucket called the “Tailgate Special,” which consists of gallons of their various premium brews, buckets of miscellaneous swag and a vinyl banner which the winner can have customized.

Considering the research, choice entertainment and predicted nice weather, Iwen and other event organizers are expecting a solid second year.

The long-running Midtown tradition, Dundee Day, will commence at 7 a.m. on Saturday and will offer more family oriented activities than Farnam Fest.

Held between 50th and 51st streets on Underwood Avenue, Dundee Day always kicks off with a pancake feed. This year, Cris Cakes will be flipping flapjacks in the Agave parking lot, formerly occupied by the restaurants Trovato’s and 1020.

At 10:30 a.m., the “Famous Dundee Parade” will make the trek up Underwood Ave., starting at Memorial Park and finishing up inside the depths of the festival. Prior festival attendance has proved that this parade is a fantastic opportunity for the area children to have their chance in the spotlight before the adults take over at night. The parade symbolizes the sense of community in the quiet but vibrant neighborhood.

Throughout the morning and afternoon, a plethora of rides and attractions will be available for visiting youngsters. Local food and gift vendors will be on site and beer gardens sponsored by a number of the Dundee bars and restaurants will be trickled across the event grounds.

The music starts at noon, and will be kicked off by the Okie Dokie Brothers. When the family action ceases at 6 p.m., a nice selection of local rock and rap will be on display. Digital Leather, Conchance, Gus and Call and The Show is the Rainbow will play into the night as then beer soaked denizens of Omaha get down.

The Show is the Rainbow is an interesting selection for the headlining spot, to say the least. A project of Darren Keen, TSITR is an electronic, freak-out show that is known to involve a burly, shirtless Keen chaotically jerking his way around the crowd while spitting out quirky and absurd lyrics. It should be quite the show!

The fliers circulating online don’t mention a cover charge, but past shows have always included a $5 or so cover when the evening’s musical entertainment begins.

With both festivals operating at different times and within such proximity, there’s no reason anyone can’t make it to both if they’re that interested. Both neighborhood gatherings have plenty to offer and also showcase the number of local businesses that help solidify their respective neighborhood’s reputation.

For more information, visit or “Like” Farnam Festival on Facebook. Dundee Day info can be attained on Facebook as well under Dundee Day 2011, or at

With the first week of classes at an end, these two festivals are sure to provide plenty of outdoor entertainment and social experiences for the students of UNO and more.