Few people voyage to Hastings Nebraska expecting Las Vegas-style
entertainment. But most people are surprised by the incredible array of
artistic and cultural opportunities that do abound in our region.
Seeing a stellar art exhibit, hearing an amazing orchestra, discussing
the latest literature, celebrating summertime at fairs and
festivals all are part of the cultural fabric of our community.
Complementing these kinds of events are, of course, the everyday fun
offered at movie theaters, cool coffee shops, independent bookstores,
restaurants and other entertainment venues.
It's impossible for us to cover every activity and attraction that's
here to enlighten and amuse. So here's a short list of highlights with
links where you can learn more:
Hastings Symphony Orchestra Not only is this professional orchestra the only one in Greater
Nebraska but it also is one of the oldest continuous orchestral groups
in the country. Founded by a Hastings College teacher and musician in
1926, today's 80-member orchestra presents a variety of different music
from a variety of different composers every season. Their schedule
typically includes certain free concerts as a gift to the Hastings
Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History The Hastings Museum brings to life the natural and cultural history
of Hastings, Adams County and the Great Plains. It connects Nebraska to
the world and universe through educational programs, films and
exhibits. Exhibits include many species of animals set in their natural
habitats, such as the world's largest display of Whooping cranes; the
history of the early inhabitants of the Nebraska plains; and how Edwin
Perkins created the soft drink Kool-Aid. The museum also features the
J.M. McDonald Planetarium, the hands-on Groundwater Discovery
Adventure, and the Lied Super Screen Theatre with a movie screen five
Hastings Community Theatre This highly regarded community theater troupe regularly performs
pieces ranging from Broadway to Shakespeare that provide a night of
quality family entertainment. It is a member of the Nebraska
Association of Community Theatres, where several Hastings theater
members serve as volunteers.
The Listening Room With a mantra of "Bringing Live Acoustic Music to Central Nebraska,"
this downtown space provides a great venue to hear great live music
from several nationally-known musicians and other performance artists
who tour through Hastings each year.
Cottonwood Festival Every June, Hastings' beautiful Brickyard Park comes alive with a
three-day celebration of fine arts, crafts, music and more that draws
over 15,000 visitors. Exhibiting artists are eligible to win cash
prizes for 'best of show' awards. The park's amphitheater also hosts
several concerts throughout the summer, as well as,
The annual Kool-Aid Days festival, which celebrates the invention of
Kool-Aid, Nebraska's Official Soft Drink, in Hastings by Edwin
Perkins in 1927. Started in 1995 and held every August, the
lighthearted festival includes the World's Largest Kool-Aid Stand,
appearances by the famous pitcher-faced Kool-Aid Man, concerts, boat
races, a classic car show, and many more free, family-oriented
Adams County Fairfest Hastings is home to the annual Adams County fair, which provides the
best in traditional county fair fun. From the midway and carnival, to
the award-winning 4-H exhibits and animals, to the kickoff parade and
professional bull-riding events, there's something that can appeal to
every kid and adult alike.
Hastings College Art Gallery Located on the Hastings College campus, this art center features a
strong permanent collection and about eight new exhibitions per year by
students, by important regional artists and by nationally prominent
artists, free and open to the public. Several visiting artists and art
historians lecture, demonstrate, exhibit and collaborate with students
and faculty. Past visiting artists have included James McGarrell, Dale
Chihuly, Frank Gallo and Sheila Hicks.
Graham Gallery Located in downtown Hastings for over 10 years, the Graham Gallery gives
artists an attractive venue to display and sell their artwork and gives
the public a venue to view and purchase this artwork. The gallery
focuses on being an accessible, hometown, gallery with a progressive
attitude that benefits not only the gallery but the artists.
Hastings Public Library The library offers 170,000 items including books, magazines, audio
books, videos and music to residents of Adams County. Other services
include reference help, a bookmobile service, public Internet access,
interlibrary loan, story times for preschoolers and toddlers, a summer
reading program for ages preschool through adult, and a monthly adult
book discussion group.