Going to Celebrate Kearney? Here are some helpful tips

KEARNEY – Friday’s Celebrate Kearney event will treat area residents and visitors to the sights, sounds, tastes and aromas of the “Love Local” experience – along with opportunities to experience, hands-on, Kearney’s businesses and innovative spirit.

The free community event from 4 to 10 p.m. is a partnership between the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce and University of Nebraska at Kearney. The Party at the Village will be at the University Village development on the west edge of the UNK campus along U.S. Highway 30.

A family fun zone, food trucks, live concert with The Innocence, chamber business main street and beer garden featuring Nebraska brews highlight the event, which includes tethered hot-air balloon rides and a fireworks show to end the evening.

The event caps the chamber’s Kearney Love Local Week activities and marks the end of dead week at UNK, which ends its spring semester the following week.

Here are some tips for those attending:

Parking: On-site parking on the field west of Village Flats. Enter from Highway 30 toward the west edge of University Village.

Traffic: At the event’s conclusion, traffic exiting the site will be directed to turn east only. Pedestrians or guests who park on the UNK campus are advised to cross the highway carefully, and motorists are asked to be cautious in this vicinity during the event.

What to bring: Lawn chairs or blankets for watching fireworks, enjoying dinner and the music. Bring your ID, along with cash or plastic for brews and food trucks. UNK students are having a free meal at the marked barbecue picnic tent, with their student ID.

What not to bring: Coolers, pets, weapons, fireworks and other items prohibited on campus.

Weather: The forecast is favorable but watch for updates at celebratekearney.com. In the event of bad weather, the event will be rescheduled. The hot air balloons and fireworks are also weather-permitting.

Balloon rides: Two hot-air balloons are contracted through High Plains Hot Air Balloon Co., and if the evening wind is calm, 10-minute tethered rides are offered to event sponsors and the public through a drawing. To register for the drawing, go to celebratekearney.com. Winners of the rides will receive a text-message on Thursday. Additional drawings for rides will be conducted at the balloon site at the event on Friday. No sales of rides are occurring at this event.

Restrooms: Portable toilets are on site. There is no public access to Village Flats housing.

Costs: All items are free except food truck meals/treats and beverages at the beer garden.


  • 4 p.m. – Event site opens
  • 6 to 9:30 p.m. – Live music with “The Innocence”
  • 6 to 8 p.m. – Hot air balloon rides followed by “glow” at 8:30 p.m.
  • 9:40 p.m. – Fireworks by J&M Displays
  • 10 p.m. – Event closes