- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A nonprofit is planning an entertainment area for families during two national sporting events in Omaha this summer.

The Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/1MMV5bP ) reports that the small festival will be held during this summer’s NCAA men’s baseball College World Series and the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.

The Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority’s family area will include a 100-foot-tall Ferris wheel, balloon animals, face painting and food trucks.

“We’re not going to turn this into a carnival, but we want to have some excitement and something for families to do,” said Roger Dixon, president and CEO of the organization.

Last month, the authority’s board approved $450,000 for the temporary Ferris wheel and $65,000 for three rentable party bungalows. Rides on the Ferris wheel will cost about $5. A spokeswomen for the nonprofit, Kristi Andersen, said rental prices for the bungalows aren’t set.

Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority officials have been discussing the festival since last fall. They said the family activities area is designed to supplement, not compete with, other festivities during the sporting events.

“There’s a demand for more family-friendly activities,” said Andersen, a spokeswoman for the organization.

Officials said they debated installing a zip line as well, but the price was too steep. Dixon said the organization might revisit that option in later years if the family activities area prove to be popular.

The area will be free to enter and open for about 12 hours each day.

“The whole community is waiting for this festive atmosphere,” said Jay Noddle, an authority board member.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com


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