Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce Executive Director Tim Pendrell projects that the annual AppleJam Carnival will be the biggest carnival to date during this year’s 47th Annual AppleJack Festival.

Pendrell said Aug. 26, Thomas D. Thomas Shows is planning on bringing a “record-number” of rides to town for this year’s carnival.

“It will be the biggest AppleJack Carnival we’ve ever had because we’ve added more space,” he said. “I think the (numbers for the carnival) will be up because it’s going to be a little bit bigger. The more rides you have, the more people you have just because it makes it worth it to go spend a day at the carnival.”

NCTC community development manager and bookkeeper Amy Allgood said some of the food vendors have been moved down by the Fox Center, a few blocks east of where the carnival will be located. The AppleJam Carnival will be located in the parking lot across the street from Johnny’s Corner Cafe on 6th Street, and will spill out onto Central Avenue.

“We’ve moved the food court around a little bit to put some of the food vendors over by the Fox Center so that we can hopefully have more space for rides,” Allgood said.

The AppleJam Carnival will run Sept. 18 from 5 p.m. to midnight, Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to midnight and Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Back by popular demand, Thomas D. Thomas Shows brought the carnival back to Nebraska City during the Fourth of July festivities. Pendrell and Allgood didn’t know what kind of rides are going to be at the carnival, but they said Thomas D. Thomas is bringing more than before, including some of its favorites.

“In our very tentative visit … we envisioned more rides for the bigger kids and making a more secluded area for the (younger) kids instead of in the past the kids have kind of been in the street in the middle of the teens,” Allgood said. “So they wanted to put more teen rides (on Central Avenue) and kids rides in the lot. So we’ll see how that works. That’s the plan right now.”

Pendrell said the 2014 AppleJack Festival was the “biggest” of all time with more than 100,000 visitors.

“We think overall in three days that we had well-over 100,000,” Pendrell said.

Trying to reach that amount of visitors again for this year’s festival will be challenging. Pendrell expects to see the normal range of visitors enjoying AppleJack this year. He said normally between 60,000 to 80,000 people come to Nebraska City to celebrate AppleJack.

“What’s different is we’re expecting more people the following weekends,” he said. “We’re expecting a bigger post-AppleJack weekend (for the first-ever AppleJack Extreme Bullriding Tour), and then we’re expecting another one even the weekend after that with the Nebraska State Cornhusking Championship. So we think overall, there will be more people here the following weekends.”

Pendrell suggested that visitors traveling from Iowa or along Highway 2 avoid using the east entrance on 4th Corso to get around town during the festivities. On June 27, Nebraska City commissioners closed down the 4th Corso viaduct bridge and detoured traffic to go across the railroad tracks at 1st Street. Central Avenue will be barricaded from 3rd Street to 6th Street for the carnival and Outdoor Flea Market, which could make that entrance into town congested.

Pendrell said AppleJack Festival-goers took advantage of the free bus rides during the 2014 celebration, which are again operating this year. He said if visitors parked at the VF Factory Outlet Stores of America, located at the south intersection at highways 2 and 75, they would be able to catch one of two buses that will take them to all of the festivities in town.

Pendrell said the buses will be stopping at the VF Outlet every 20 to 30 minutes.

“So if you just missed the bus then you’re going to have a little bit of a wait,” he said.
While waiting for a bus people can check out the AppleJack Craft Show going on at the VF Outlet. Signs will be erected to show people where the bus stop will be located at the VF.

Pendrell said the bus stops are at the VF Outlet, the carnival, Three Hills Event Center, Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard and Arbor Day Farm. The buses will be running Sept. 19 and 20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

“Use the south entrance into town if you’re coming from Iowa and take advantage of the buses because we have great buses running through town, free all weekend Saturday and Sunday,” Pendrell said.