A celebration of the LGBT communities throughout Nebraska, Heartland Pride takes place each year in the state's largest city, Omaha (pop. 420,000), which has a sizable gay and lesbian community that has continued to grow in visibility in recent years. The gathering also draws many members of the LGBT community in the nearby capital city of Nebraska, Lincoln (pop. 260,000), which has a quite vibrant arts and progressive scene, thanks to it being home of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln is just an hour's drive from Omaha. And the Heartland Parade portion of the weekend actually takes place just over the border from Omaha in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Heartland Pride, which includes a festival and parade, takes place in late June - the dates this year are June 26 through June 28, 2014.
The Heartland Pride celebration takes place over three days, beginning Thursday night, June 26, with the Harvey Milk Candlelight Vigil, held at 8, followed by a 9 pm viewing of the movie Milk at Hanafan Park, just over the border in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Then on Friday night, there's a Youth Pride Festival, again at Hanafan Park, from 6 pm on.
The big day of Heartland Pride is Saturday, June 28, with the Heartland Pride Parade stepping off in Council Bluffs, Iowa - just east of Omaha - at 10 am from 9th and Main, proceeding north on Main, curving up Pearl Street, looping around the fountain at West Broadway, and returning south back down Main and then 4th Street back to 9th Avenue - here's a map of the Heartland Pride Parade route. Then in Stinson Park in Omaha, the Pride Festival begins at 11 am and runs until 10 pm, and includes performances by Grammy winning legend Thelma Houston, as well as Eckophonic, Voodoo Method, and other artists.
Whilte you're in the area, good bets for gay nightlife in Omaha, by the way, are mostly in the historic and hip Old Market neighborhood and include The Max (1417 Jackson St., 402-346-4110) dance club, and the video and show bar Flixx Omaha (1015 S. 10th St., 402-408-1020). The women's bar Door 19 (1901 Leavenworth St., 402-452-0895) is a top spot with Omaha's lesbian community.
Local LGBT-friendly media worth taking a look at include the alternative arts and culture newsweekly The Reader is a sponsor of Heartland Pride and a very helpful resource for the gay community; also, Omaha Beat and Lincoln Beat are mainstream nightlife-dining-arts websites that do have some coverage of the LGBT community. It's also worth having a look at the Visit Omaha website, which has plenty of information on traveling to and spending time in the city. The Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau is also helpful, if you're spending time there.