Fans of the Bank of the West Celebrates America concert and fireworks show began selecting their spots for the annual free festivities 13 hours in advance. At 5 a.m., Omaha police allowed rockers young and old into the popular midtown park along the north side of Dodge Street to stake out and then leave behind certain belongings that unofficially mark their prime locations as reserved.
Below are photos of the prospective concertgoers, taken by World-Herald staff members this morning, afternoon and evening.
Alyssa Mount of Omaha is among the early risers claiming prime spots with the annual laying of the blankets for tonight's concert and fireworks show at Memorial Park. (Photo by James R. Burnett / The World-Herald)
Sarah Horan, left, and Kristy Stokes, both of Omaha, claim their spot at Memorial Park. (James R. Burnett)
Joseph Gregg, 1, of Omaha has his space claimed! (James R. Burnett)
Isabella Wenzl, 11, throws a football to her sister, Haylee Wenzl, 9. The girls' dad, Tom Wenzl, and his girlfriend, Alison Nguyen, slathered Isabella and Haylee in sunscreen and dressed them in swimsuits to stay cool. The group arrived around 1:30 p.m. and plan to camp out until the show starts later tonight. (Photo by Lizzie Johnson / The World-Herald)
Emily Riley, Michelle Steinbach and Melissa Faila start their second Yahtzee game of the day at Memorial Park. The three have attended the free concert for more than 10 years. (Lizzie Johnson)
Ava Infante, 9, catches some shade under a makeshift umbrella with her mom, Jodi Infante, and dad, Anthony Infante. In the haste of getting to the park at 5 am, the umbrellas were forgotten in the Infante's garage. "I mean, this is how they do it in the desert," Jodi said. "We figured we would give it a go." (Lizzie Johnson)
Volunteer Anthony Macbriee mans an empty merchandise station before the concert. (Lizzie Johnson)
Becca Rushing, 11, and Chloe Aschenbrener, 10, suck up cups of frozen lemonade in a patch of shade. "We got up and set our blanket down at 5 a.m.," Chloe said. "Then we went back home and went to sleep. We came back later when I was actually awake." (Lizzie Johnson)
As the afternoon wore on, more and more people filled the park. Many flew balloons or flags so that friends and family members could find their sites. (Lizzie Johnson)