2021 Autumn Festival


Jared Sindt

The Autumn Festival returned in full swing to Ralston Arena this year. Photo courtesy of Jared Sindt/The Gateway.

After being canceled last year due to COVID-19, the Autumn Art Festival returned from Nov. 4-7. Event Manager Jennifer Foland is excited the event has had so much success despite COVID.

“We usually draw around 20,000 people,” Foland said. “Now of course with the pandemic happening and just coming out of COVID, we’re not really sure what to expect this year, but we’ve had a great turnout so far Thursday and Friday.”

Foland says the festival has over 300 booths that rake in thousands of customers. The festival hasn’t taken place since November 2019, as the arena tends to be packed with people. Foland believes there’s something for everyone at the festival.

“We always say that there’s something here for everyone,” Foland said. “There’s something in all different kinds of price points and you can find something for yourself, or give it as a gift, or Christmas items, something to decorate your home, clothing, there’s really something for everyone.”

Peggy Abey runs a stand at the festival with her husband Robert. She and her husband have been running their stand for 50 years. Her and her husband get their passion from Jesus. Abey thanks God for her and her husband’s work.

Abey Runs her art stand with husband Robert. Photo courtesy of Jared Sindt/The Gateway.

“God is the center of our life, that is our success,” Abey said. “We have been in Russia and in Africa and in South America seven times to help the people there and to teach about Jesus.”

Abey and her husband attend many art events year-round. For them and many others at the festival, it’s a full-time job.

“This is our living, has been for 50 years,” Abey said. “This is the way we’ve made our living. We were always getting fired from jobs and we had to do something.”

Abey and her husband will be attending the art festival in Papillion in the following weeks in hopes to sell more of their art. She said they had already made $1,550 at the time of the interview and it’s been one of their more profitable nights.

The festival has concluded, but promises to return next year. Foland says she hopes even more will continue to come out as COVID rates draw lower.