9. Papillion, NE
More than 50,000 people visit Papillion, NE annually for Papillion Days, a five-day festival that includes the largest parade in the state, as well as events like a tractor-pull, BBQ competition, pancake breakfast, duathlon, carnival and concerts.
Much of the action occurs in the historic downtown area, which is lined with shops and restaurants, while the running and biking duathlon happens at Walnut Creek Lake and Recreation Area. More than 120 floats, bands and performers, representing dozens of organizations, parade through the city on Saturday. Several organizations, including the Papillion Area Historical Society, the local Boy Scouts, schools and the fire department sponsor events, and local musicians, bands, cheer squads and karate schools perform on festival stages.
"This gives a visitor a glimpse at all the wonderful organizations in our community," says Ann Ames, executive director of the Papillion Community Foundation, which sponsors the festival. "Also, because of the variety of types of events we have, you can see many different areas of our community. These homegrown events are what brings our community together and makes this event magical."
The Papillion Community Foundation hosts a beer garden with live entertainment and a dance just for adults, and The Mayor's Youth Council holds a free dance for students.
When: June, during Father's Day weekend
What: Parade, tractor pull, BBQ competition, dances, carnival, live music, vendors, duathlon, talent demonstrations, pancake breakfast, fireworks, pony rides
Cost: Admission to most performances and general areas is free. Purchased tickets and entry fees are required for some events.
Average Attendance: 50,000 to 60,000
See where Papillion ranked on our list of the Top 10 Small Towns, 2012.