A single willow tree…
A single willow tree on the banks of Antelope Creek served as a landmark along the Gordon Trail for settlers, fur traders, and Native Americans.
In 1885, Reverend John Scamahorn and 104 settlers from Indiana set up camp at the Lone Willow. Later that year, the town moved a mile west to accommodate the railroad.
The tree continued to serve as a meeting place for cowboys and cattlemen during early cattle round-ups. Today, Gordon annually celebrates the Willow Tree Festival.
The Willow Tree Festival is nearing its 40th anniversary as a kaleidoscope of entertainment for the whole family with simultaneous performances on three stages. Art and Craft Vendors surround the grounds and “Food Row” offers divine taste treats. There are children’s activities to entertain the young at heart and two museums that are open for your enjoyment. The festival grounds encompass two city parks and the community building. Adjacent streets are blocked off to make the grounds a large, safe area for all day family fun.
Saturday: 10:00 – 5:00
Sunday: 10:00 – 4:00
One button will admit you to both days of festival activities.
Advance Purchase: Adults $10.00 Youth 5-18 $2.00
At the Gate: Adults $12.00 Youth 5-18 $3.00
Buttons may be purchased in advance at:
Gordon: First National Bank, Grocery Mart, Chamber of Commerce, Stockmen’s Drug, Gordon Memorial Hospital, Kut & Kurl, Gordon Vision Center
Other Sites: Security First Bank in Merriman, Rushville, Chadron, Martin, Cody, Hay Springs, and Crawford. Vision Center in Chadron. Chamber of Commerce in Alliance and Chadron. Sandhill Oil in Hyannis
The annual ecumenical church service will be held at the Gazebo stage beginning at 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
Support and Volunteers
The Willow Tree Festival is truly a community event made possible by many volunteers, donors and organizations. Without these people, who number more than 400, it would be impossible to experience the magic of the Willow Tree Festival.
To see the current list of Willow Tree Board Members click here.
The majority of funding comes from our area businesses and individuals whose continued support is unmeasurable.
The Nebraska Arts Council, a state agency, has supported this arts event through its matching grants program funded by the Nebraska Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Visit http://www.nebraskaartscouncil.org for information on how the Nebraska Arts Council can assist your organization.