The City of Council Bluffs and Iowa West Foundation announced the full lineup of events for the sixth annual Loessfest (pronounced luss-fest) today. Loessfest showcases Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, located at the foot of the Iowa side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, and was created to celebrate all that it has to offer. The festival has drawn more than 175,000 people to the riverfront in its first five years. Thank you to Loessfest’s many generous sponsors, including Loessfest presenting sponsors, the City of Council Bluffs and Iowa West Foundation, for graciously supporting the event for the last six years.
This year, all Loessfest events will be happening over Memorial Day weekend, starting with the grand opening of the water features at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park on Friday, May 25. These water features will be located near River’s Edge Pavilion, throughout the grove and next to the Plaza, which will include an interactive 10-foot tall water wall, a flooding wading basin, water bubblers, spray jets and an illuminated fog feature, the first of its kind in the metro area.
Loessfest will host FREE events every day May 25 through May 28. Events include:
Friday, May 25: Disney Night featuring Choo Choo Soul – Choo Choo Soul is a children's entertainment act seen on Disney Junior, featuring singer Genevieve Goings as a hip-hop train conductor and her partner, Constantine “DC” Abramson, a breakdancer and beatboxer, as her railroad engineer. Opening for Choo Choo Soul are Jeff and Paige. Jeff and Paige bring science and nature to life through original, kid-delighting songs and stories. Thank you to presenting sponsor Back to the River and supporting partners JEO Consulting Group, Inc., Compass Utility and J Development. The entertainment begins at 6 p.m.
Friday, May 25: Movie in the Park: The Incredibles – The celebration continues after the concert with a special screening of your favorite superhero family, The Incredibles, on the incredibly big screen. Thank you to presenting sponsor Broadmoor, supporting partners Snyder and Associates, and Sapp Brothers, and event supporter Judds Brothers. The movie begins at dusk, or around 9 p.m.
Saturday, May 26: Run Loess Half Marathon and 5K – The Run Loess Half Marathon and 5K, organized by the Council Bluffs YMCA, will begin at 8 a.m. The route starts and ends at the park, explores the trails and ends with a celebration at the park, complete with food and activities. Registration is required for the race – visit Loessfest.com to register – but there is no cost for spectators. Thank you to presenting sponsor Warren Distribution, and supporting partners Kiewit Building Group and Triple Crown Sports, and media partner Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil.
Saturday, May 26: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – Oh, what a night! The original Jersey Boy will grace the Loessfest stage on Saturday night for a free concert. With 71 chart hits, including “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Grease,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Sherry” and “Walk Like a Man,” there’s something about Frankie’s music that makes young people of every generation want to get up and dance. Thank you to our presenting sponsors City of Council Bluffs and Iowa West Foundation, supporting partners First National Bank and Hamilton Associates, and event supporters ABC Electric and Leach Campers. The park opens at 4 p.m. Concert festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on the stage at 9 p.m.
Sunday, May 27: Bike the Bluffs – Loessfest is hosting a 22-mile bicycle ride beginning at the river at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park. The ride starts at 11 a.m. and will venture through the trails and through downtown Council Bluffs and back. Thank you to our presenting sponsors Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau and Pottawattamie County Tourism, supporting partner Eriksen Construction and event supporter Hawkins Construction.
Sunday, May 27: Omaha Symphony Concert – Back for the sixth year by popular demand, the Omaha Symphony with Conductor Thomas Wilkins is bringing the power and beauty of live orchestral music to the riverfront with a concert to remember featuring popular favorites like Gershwin’s “Strike Up the Band,” Lowe’s “My Fair Lady,” Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” Williams’ “Marion’s Theme and Raider’s March” from Indiana Jones, Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” Thank you to presenting sponsors HGM Associates, Southwest Iowa Foundation and Noddle Companies, and supporting partner Heartland Properties. The concert starts at 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 27: Fireworks for Freedom – Following the Omaha Symphony concert, enjoy a night of spectacular sights on the riverfront. This Memorial Day celebration promises to be unforgettable with an awe-inspiring, choreographed firework display set to music produced by our event supporter J&M Displays. Thank you to our presenting sponsors HDR, Inc. and Cox Communications, and supporting partners Harrah’s and Mulhall's.
Monday, May 28: Movie in the Park: Rocky Horror Picture Show – This legendary 1975 cult classic is headed back to the riverfront with all the haunted mansions and secret labs, corsets and glitter you could dream of in a horror parody. Gather your friends and family for this spooky nighttime showing of the longest-running theatrical release in film history. Thank you to our presenting sponsor Heartland Chevy Dealers, and supporting partners Sherbondy’s, Emspace and Mid-America Center. The free movie begins at 9 p.m. on a giant screen. Participation, props and costumes are all encouraged!
All Weekend: Be the first to enjoy River’s Edge Park’s new water features. Thank you to our presenting sponsor Peter Kiewit Foundation, supporting partner Sasaki, and event supporters Chorma Design and Signworks.
All Weekend: Floodplain: A Clear View of Life in the Big Muddy – on exhibit in River’s Edge Pavilion. Conservation photographer Alex Wiles brings the many inhabitants of the Missouri River floodplain to Loessfest. Know your river by getting a close look at the diverse wildlife that resides in this ever-changing environment. *Note: The Pavilion will be closed on Saturday evening for a private event. Thank you to our presenting sponsor Back to the River, supporting partners Meco-Henne Contracting, Inc. and Alley Poyner Macchietto and event supporter Barbara and Greg Peterson.
Parking is available on both sides of the river for all Loessfest events, including the parking lot just north of Harrah’s Casino and in Harrah’s parking garage. Please note, due to construction, there will be limited parking on the east side of the levee in the old Playland Park area, just east of the Great Lawn. Parking, maps and directions to Loessfest are available on the website, Loessfest.com. To avoid traffic delays and to reserve your spot on the Great Lawn in the park, please consider carpooling and arriving early for Loessfest events.
For more information, please visit Loessfest.com.