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Old Settlers returning with music, festivities in North Bend

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Old Settlers Days carnival night shot

The 2021 Old Settlers Days celebration is set for June 25-27 in North Bend. The popular festival did not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Old Settlers is set to return to North Bend in 2021 with family festivities, music and other events this weekend.

This year’s festival will start Friday and end on Sunday. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s Old Settlers moved to a single-day event in August.

“No carnival, that sort of thing, but we had some outdoor events,” said Nathan Arneal, president of the Old Settlers Planning Committee. “So we were able to get a little bit of Old Settlers, but we’re excited to be back to the full-fledged, full-schedule, full-go this year.”

A full schedule of events can be found at northbendne.com/old-settlers. This year’s festival will see the return of the beer garden and the D.C. Lynch Carnival, which starts at 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“We’ve got some thrill rides there, and also some rides for younger kids,” he said. “It always lights up the night sky with all the colorful lights, and that’s always the highlight of Old Settlers.”

The festival will begin Friday with the Hanes Mobile Military Museum at the VFW Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a Welcome Home Barbeque at the city park tennis courts from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Friday’s music acts include Angie Kriz and the Polkatoons at 4:30 p.m. and Mojo Filter at 6:30 p.m. in the beer garden. A “Taste of Old Settlers” wine- and beer-tasting will also take place 6-9 p.m.

From 9-10:30 p.m., a benefit titled “Light the Way to Pave the Way” will take place to raise funds for the paving of the trail around North Bend Central High School.

“They’re going to light the trails up with tiki torches, and it’ll be kind of cool to walk around there in the twilight while they bring awareness to their fundraiser to finish paving those trails,” Arneal said.

Saturday’s events include a 5k run and 1-mile run, breakfast cocktail hour, craft fair and kickball tournament. A car show will take place downtown from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Children’s events will also take place Saturday, including a kiddie tractor pull at 2 p.m., kids’ games at 3 p.m. and a kiddie parade at 4 p.m.

Additionally, a screening of “Rising Above: The North Bend Flood,” a performance by the Nebraska All-Around Polka Band and a fireworks display are scheduled for Saturday evening.

On Sunday, the Old Settlers Parade will take place at 2 p.m., and at 3:30 p.m., a fire department water fight will be held on Locust Street, with participants attempting to push a barrel toward the opponents’ side.

“I remember Old Settlers having those when I was a kid, and they haven’t had those for maybe several decades,” Arneal said. “So those are going to be back, and several area fire departments are participating in that.”

At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Omaha Pipes and Drums will perform on the tennis court stage on the north end of the park.

“We’ve had a lot of groups coming in to perform in the past, and this one kind of harkens back to North Bend’s origins as a Scottish-Irish settlement,” Arneal said. “We’re getting back to our roots a little bit there, so that should be entertaining.”

Arneal said around the same time as Old Settlers, many class reunions are also occur in the community.

“We might have twice as many class reunions in town as normal because we’ll have this year for reunions, plus some from last year that postponed or canceled,” he said.

With Old Settlers back in the community, Arneal said he’s excited for children, adults and everyone in between to have a good time.

“There’s a lot of fun to be had, and you can wear yourself out or you can pick and choose what you want to be part of,” he said. “And we hope it’s another great weekend for people in North Bend to just get out and have some fun.”

All around New Orleans, thousands of houses are being decorated as floats because the coronavirus outbreak canceled the elaborate parades mobbed by crowds during the Carnival season leading to Fat Tuesday.

Though some donned gas masks and disinfectant equipment. Veuer’s Tony Spitz has the details.

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