Aug 20, 2018 11:45AM
By Doug Meigs
Here at Omaha Magazine, we don’t coast so hard that we will announce the 2019 winners of the city’s definitive “Best Of” contest in November 2018.
Although subscribers will receive the complete Best of Omaha book by January—with nearly 350 categories—you can catch a sneak peek of the winners list at the Best of Omaha Soirée on Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Omaha Design Center.
It is going to be a fancy evening of celebrating the Best of Omaha. The dress code is business-chic. But everyone age 21 and older is invited to join the party. Purchase tickets at localstubs.com.
From 7-10 p.m., folks can enjoy food from Best of Omaha winners, entertainment from a DJ and circus performances, and two drink tokens free with event admission; there will also be a cash bar. The evening will kick off at 6 p.m. with a special VIP networking hour with free-flowing liquor, wine, and beer.
The Best of Omaha Soirée will take the place of the Best of Omaha Festival that we hosted for four years (2014-2017). We might bring the festival back again in later years. For now, however, we wanted to try a fresh approach to celebrating the Best of Omaha for 2019. After all, these businesses don’t coast. And neither do we.
“We Don’t Coast” is not a rip on less landlocked locales, according to the brand explanation from the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce (the impetus for the brand). We don’t begrudge those wayward Omahans who have found success away from Home-aha.
Look no further than Adam Devine and Sarah Rose Summers. These superstars from Omaha have achieved international celebrity status. Devine is a big-shot comedian and actor returning to his hometown for a Netflix comedy special (to be filmed at the Orpheum this fall). Summers, aka Miss Nebraska, was crowned Miss USA in May. (She will be vying for the Miss Universe title in December.)
Their stories—and much more—are featured in the full city edition of Omaha Magazine sold at local bookstores and mailed to subscribers.
This September/October issue, in fact, is full of stories about Omahans with coastal tendencies. Look no further than the Arts + Culture section; we profile Q. Smith (a North High School grad making waves on Broadway) and Omaha-based artist Stephen Cornelius Roberts (who has exhibited work on both coasts).
All of these Omahans have made their city proud, and they don't coast when it comes to resting on their laurels.
The “We Don’t Coast” slogan is wonderful for social media hashtags emphasizing what Omahans do great: #WeDontCoast #WeCreateOpportunitiesWhereverWeGo.
To see how the slogan works so well, consider #WeDontCoast #WeImpact. The hashtag campaign was associated with the Omaha Chamber’s #24HoursOfImpact campaign on July 27, which Omaha Magazine staff joined. We bought school supplies and donated cash to the nonprofit Completely KIDS.
This hashtag formula makes a great shareable gimmick for any campaign, i.e., #WeDontCoast #WeInsertVerbHere.
But sometimes, I’ll admit, I do wish Omaha would lift its foot off the gas pedal and coast for a bit. Especially when it comes to our notorious “talent” in dealing with historic properties. City and civic leaders have a rich history of tearing down historic buildings: #WeDontCoast #WeBulldoze?
Just consider the history of Jobber’s Canyon (the nation’s largest National Register of Historic Places district sacrificed to ConAgra), the Clarinda-Page Apartments (which remains an empty lot near Midtown Crossing), and more recent proposals from Douglas County to demolish a historic brick structure for a juvenile detention center, or the city’s plot to flatten the iconic Gene Leahy Mall and dump a philanthropy-backed fortune into a sprawling riverfront region that lacks fundamental infrastructure/road access.
There is not a category in the Best of Omaha contest for “Best Historic Demolition,” but—this being Omaha—maybe we should consider adding it for the 2020 contest.
Note: The online version of this editor's letter has been modified to reflect updated schedule and features at the Best of Omaha Soirée.