Day one of Sue Barry's camp included rappelling down a rock wall.
In the middle of Farnam Street.
Barry watched from behind a line of orange cones as her 11-year-old nephew Nathan Gibbs scaled the wall.
He made it halfway up, lost his grip and was slowly lowered back down to the ground by a harness.
“Hey, good job,” said Nathan's 7-year-old brother Jacob, clapping.
Barry, of Omaha, snapped a photo on her iPhone.
“Every year, my nephews spend a weekend with me,” she said. “They're from a family of nine siblings, so this gives mom and dad a break. Camp Sue Barry has been running for 20 years.”
The main activity this weekend: Play Streets.
Eight blocks of Farnam Street were shut down for six hours Saturday for a variety of family activities.
Children blew bubbles and scribbled stick figures in chalk in the middle of usually busy intersections.
More than 50 sponsors brought tents with activities that included skateboarding, basketball, miniature golf, gardening and yoga. Workers in a converted trailer provided wellness checks.
The aim was to promote wellness and healthy habits in the community. Play Streets closes streets in parts of the city where there isn't a lot of open space for kids to play and be active.
“It's like our kids took over downtown,” said Craig Howell of Omaha. “There are kids from all over the city and all different socioeconomic classes here. It's truly amazing.”
Howell watched as his wife had her posture analyzed at a booth.
“The health stuff is great,” he said. “But my favorite thing is seeing the urban farming. That's a sign we are a major city. It shows Omaha is growing up.”
A few blocks down the street, Emma Cecil-Starlin, 9, and her sister Ella, 6, both of Omaha, painted a sign for their front yard.
With the help of their mom, A.J., they drilled and sanded the sign for their cat, a big orange Maine coon cat named Butterscotch.
“I wanted to make it say, 'Beware of Dog,' but our dog isn't mean,” Ella said. “So Emma said we should make one that says, 'Cat Crossing.' ”
The girls waited for the front of the sign to dry. Each letter was painted in a different color, complete with a striped stick base to pound into the ground. Then they signed their names, Ella with blue paint and Emma with light purple.
“Our cat is just going to love this sign,” Emma said.
Shannon Goeden of Tabor, S.D., and his wife, Sarah, were checking out a booth giving out free food samples. His niece, Tarynn Torsney, 6, picked up a slice of cucumber. And then promptly spit it out.
“This does not taste very good,” she said.
Goeden ruffled her hair. “She's not into trying new things, and she's definitely not afraid to say her mind,” he said.
Otherwise, “she's been loving everything out here today. We all have.”