NEBRASKAland DAYS in Lincoln and North Platte

June brings with it the annual NEBRASKAland DAYS festival in North Platte. These days, the events span ten days, including a parade, musical performances, meals, and the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. In addition to looking towards this year’s festivities, here is a look back at the NEBRASKAland DAYS of the past.

History Nebraska’s NEBRASKAland DAYS collection contains recordings from the first festival in 1965 to 1987. The festival initially occurred in Lincoln and moved to North Platte in 1968. Much of the footage is of the parades, which include floats promoting Nebraska cities and towns, bands, pageant winners, cultural groups, and more. There are also many floats focusing on the history of Nebraska, such as the Oregon Trail and homesteading, some of which depict Native Americans in insensitive ways.

In the broadcast from the 1966 parade, a car with actor Charlton Heston stops in front of a stage positioned along the route. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson steps up to the microphone onstage. She gives a short speech about her enjoyment of the parade before introducing Heston. He then accepts the 1966 Buffalo Bill Award, given to a film or television star who created important Western media. Take a look at the clip from this broadcast below.

Another important part of the festivities is the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. Though the rodeo was not initially connected with NEBRASKAland DAYS, the two events merged after the festival moved to North Platte. One of the films in this collection shows the Buffalo Bill Rodeo in 1959 before the first NEBRASKAland DAYS took place. Take a look at some rodeo footage from 1959 below.

Explore the NEBRASKAland DAYS collection here to see even more footage from NEBRASKAland DAYS and the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. Beyond the parade and rodeo, other events recorded include the Miss NEBRASKAland DAYS pageant, dances, performances, picnics, and church services.

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History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
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