For the first time since 2018, the Holiday Lights Festival has returned to Gene Leahy Mall at the RiverFront.
The lights came back on at the mall, which has been under construction since 2019, on Thanksgiving night during the annual lighting ceremony. The lights, which will be on display until Jan. 2, attract visitors from all over.
The Holiday Lights Festival, now in its 23rd year, culminates with the New Year’s Eve fireworks to cap the holiday season. For many, making the trip to downtown Omaha to take in the lit up spectacle is a must-see part of the holiday season.
“Holiday lights in Gene Leahy Mall are a beloved tradition in downtown Omaha,” said Kristyna Engdahl, a spokesperson for MECA (Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority). “And since it’s The RiverFront’s mission to serve our community, bringing back the white, twinkling lights was an important part of organizing holiday celebrations in the park – along with some exciting new decorations and surprises.”
Today’s light are much more energy-efficient than lighting displays of old. The lights at the park are all LED and most run on timers to maximize efficiency, Engdahl said.
Here are some other fun facts about the lights at the mall:
You can enjoy more festive lights beyond the mall. Lights illuminate the Old Market from 10th to 13th streets and from Jackson to Farnam streets. There are about 250,000 lights in the Old Market, and they are all LED.
And parts of north and south Omaha are lit up, as well, by the same organization, Vic Gutman & Associates (VGA), that manages the Holiday Lights Festival.
Thanks to the Sherwood Foundation and the Lozier Foundation, more lights are on display along North 24th Street from Burdette to Ohio streets, and along South 24th Street from L to Q streets, said Maggie Winton, Event Marketing Coordinator for VGA.
VGA estimates all the “Holiday Lights Festival events attract a combined total of 100,000 people over a six week period.”
“Omaha is truly lucky to have three incredibly vibrant community hubs all near each other and the Holiday Lights Festival’s lighting displays are a way to tie these hubs together,” Winton said. “Being able to tie these hubs together through holiday lighting displays year after year is a collective effort and it just reinforces how dedicated our community is to joining together for the betterment of the city.”
Subscribe and receive updates on the latest news and postings!