A Thanksgiving tradition continues in Omaha, only it will be delayed.
Holiday Lights Festival, originally scheduled for this evening, has been postponed until Saturday evening. Thousands are expected to gather at the Gene Leahy Mall at 14th and Farnam Streets downtown for the official lighting ceremony.
Mayor Jean Stothert will throw the switch on hundreds of thousands of white lights at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Marc Nichols, Foundation Executive Director for Downtown Omaha Inc., says, “The first year of Holiday Lights was in 2000. For me, the payoff is to look out and see thousands and thousands of people, but more importantly you see multiple generations, parents, grandparents, kids, grandkids, everybody has a smile on their face. We have created an opportunity for people in the entire region to enjoy the holiday season.”
The Holiday Lights Festival also includes several concerts, a family fun festival, an ice skating rink and a big fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
Nichols says the theme once again will be a campaign to “Shine the Light on Hunger”. The community is encouraged to drop off non-perishable foods and household items at in collection barrels throughout the community. Last year more than 64,000 pounds of food was collected and over $515,000 was raised for the Food Bank for the Heartland. They help stock the shelves of food pantries throughout Nebraska and western Iowa.