Sheryl Crow, family-friendly fun bring thousands to Memorial Park concert | Local News

Lisa R. Parker

The muggy weather didn’t deter thousands of people from having some fun in Memorial Park on Friday night during the annual City of Omaha Celebrates America concert and fireworks show.

The free concert featured nine-time Grammy award winner Sheryl Crow as the night’s headliner, with opening performances by rock artist Dave Mason and local opener Da Crabby Blues Band. Fireworks were set to cap off the night around 10 p.m.

The summer concert, a longtime Omaha tradition, returned in 2021 after it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s performers were Wyclef Jean and Elvis Costello.

As Da Crabby Blues Band took the stage around 6 p.m., many attendees made their way to their blankets and chairs. A few attendees said they’d gotten there as early as 5 a.m. to stake out a prime spot near the stage.

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While they waited for the main performances, some people tossed footballs or Frisbees and others set up picnics and chatted with family and friends.

Vendors at the event offered barbecue, cold treats and drinks.

Many attendees said they appreciated having a fun and free event on a summer evening, even if that meant braving the heat. Temperatures remained in the 90s for most of the evening, with the heat index making it feel even hotter. According to the National Weather Service, observations at Eppley Airfield pegged the heat index in triple digits for much of the afternoon and into the evening.

Many said they appreciated the event’s family-friendly atmosphere.

Diana and Kenny Wright of Lincoln said they’ve been coming to the concert for several years. Kenny said he was especially excited to see Dave Mason, as he used to watch him perform as part of ‘60 rock band Traffic.

Both said the heat was bearable, especially with the breeze blowing through.

“It’s not going to keep me away,” Diana said.

Steve and Lorna Brennan said they’re Sheryl Crow fans and were enjoying the night as they waited to see her perform.

“Even though it’s hot out, it’s a nice thing to do,” Steve said.

Clarice Golden said she’s been attending the concert for about 10 years. While she doesn’t always recognize the bands performing, she said she was excited to see this year’s headliner. Golden also said she felt optimistic about the night’s weather.

“I’ve got shade and it’s getting cooler all the time,” she said.

While some were most excited about the live music, others were looking forward to the night’s fireworks show.

Sharon Rodriguez of Omaha and her family set up in a shady spot every year, she said. They’ve been coming since her children were little, she said, and it’s become a family tradition.

“I like the fireworks and getting to be with family,” she said.

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