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Omaha Holidays Overview
Omaha is the largest city in the State of Nebraska, which is in the Midwestern US along the Missouri River. It has roughly 440,000 inhabitants. Between 800,000 and 1 million people inhabit the greater metropolitan area. The city’s name is taken from an aboriginal tribe. It means “those who live on the bluff” or “those going against the wind.” Since at least the 1600s, several aboriginal peoples lived in this area.
This population centre was founded in 1854 by settlers from nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa. They came from the opposite shore of the Missouri River and referred to this location as the "Gateway to the West". Several fur trading posts and forts had been established here in the first quarter of the 19th Century. Prior to becoming a state in 1867, the Nebraska capital had been placed here. A number of historic church buildings and synagogues from the pioneer days are still standing in this city.
Early in the 20th Century, this city was the site of deep labor and ethnic conflict. The two were intertwined by meatpacking owners using blacks to break the early strikes. In the early 21stCentury, the small city skyline has grown. It was pushed up in part by the insurance companies that have been based here since the 1970s. Insurance and livestock continue as key parts of the economy. The riverfront area is currently undergoing development.
Since the founding of the city, ethnic clusters of neighborhoods have developed. More than 70% of this city's population is of Anglo descent. Many of these are the offspring of immigrant families that had settled here. By 1900, there were already 9 major ethnic enclaves of inhabitants. Less than 2% of today’s population is of aboriginal descent. Around 12% is African American and 11% of the population is Latino. The remainder are other races or of mixed descent.
Storms are frequent and occasionally tornados develop here. The average low temperature in the winter is -12 degrees Celsius and the average high -1 degrees. The summer is hot although the evenings cool down. There are a number of cultural centres, including the nation’s largest community theatre. College sports have a long history in this city. History is preserved in a number of landmarks, including a section of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail. Nearly 130 km of walking trails can be explored within Omaha. The largest number of golf courses in any US city are found here.
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holidays - Top Events
Since 1982, the River City Round Up is held in conjunction with Douglas County Fair. The event begins with a parade and is followed by a cooking tournament, a chess tournaments and a full blown rodeo competition. There is also a livestock exposition and auction. This downtown event occurs for 4 days and is at the Qwest Center. (http://www.rivercityroundup.org/)
Since it began in 1974, the Omaha Summer Arts Festival has become one of the largest events in this city each year. It is held for 3 days in June. Two stages feature live performances during the event while cafes and art exhibits fill the streets. More than 100 artists from around the US participate. (http://www.summerarts.org/2010prefestival/)
The Cathedral Flower Festival, in late January, announces the arrival of Omaha’s spring season. Designer flowers, artwork, music and lectures fill the St. Cecilia’s Cathedral at this time each year for 2 days. This annual event is one of many that are held in the cathedral. (http://www.cathedralartsproject.org/Events.asp)
For over a quarter of a century, mid-May has meant the celebration of the Annual Renaissance Fair of the Midlands. It is held for two 3-day weekends. Jousting and medieval displays are performed. There are also rides, games and of course food and drink. (http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/444456/)
The Omaha Film Festival is an event of 1 week in duration. It began in 2005. It is held annually in the spring. The festival promotes the growth of film education and filmmaking in the state of Nebraska. (http://www.omahafilmfestival.org/)
holidays - How to Get There
US Airways and United estimate one flight as 20 hours and 29 minutes from Sydney (SYD) to Omaha (OMA). Most of their flights however range from 23 to just under 25 hours. 20 hours and 57 minutes is the shortest estimated time from North West Airlines and Delta. Most of their flights are upwards of 25 hours. American’s shortest flights are 22 hours in duration from Sydney to this destination.
Consular services for Australians visiting here may be obtained from the Consulate-General located in Chicago, Illinois. (http://www.usa.embassy.gov.au/whwh/ChicagoCG.html)