Must-Try Pumpkin Recipes from Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving Cookbook

As the season of pumpkin spice swirls around us all, we wanted to share some of our favorite pumpkin recipes from the Junior League of Omaha’s A Century of Serving cookbook. These sweet treats are sure to make all of your pumpkin dreams come true! 

First up, Pumpkin Loaves with Caramel Glaze. Move over banana bread! Not only does this recipe have pumpkin and all of its spicy friends, we stepped it up a notch with a scrumptious Caramel Glaze. Both of these recipes can be found on page 184 in our Brunch & Breads section. This is the perfect way to start your day.

Next up, Pumpkin Butter Cake. Now you may have had St. Louis staple ooey gooey butter cake, but honestly once you add that pumpkin, spice and cream cheese swirl, you’ll never go back. This recipe can be found on page 196 in our Dessert section. 

And you can’t forget a traditional pumpkin pie recipe right? Well never fear, this isn’t your average pumpkin pie. Did someone say Caramel…Pecan….SAUCE? Yes, yes we did. The whipped cream is optional, but 10/10 would recommend. Find this decadent dessert on page 200

Finally, the moment you have been waiting for…the true star of the pumpkin show….

Our recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce! This is sure to wow your guests, family, or roommates this holiday season. And truly it couldn’t get simpler when it comes to the caramel sauce, as it is microwave friendly. Run, don’t walk to the grocery store to get these ingredients and give @jlomaha a tag when you make it. We can’t wait to share your photos. Happy baking and even happier holidays! 

Jillian Humphries

Cookbook Committee – Co-chair 

Junior League of Omaha – A Century of Serving 

Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

# Servings: 12 Category: Desserts

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gingersnap crumbles
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ⅔ cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 ⅔ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Caramel Sauce (below)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine gingersnaps and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the butter and stir until crumbs are moistened. Press over the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until set. Wrap the outside of the pan with two layers of aluminum foil and place in a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to reach 1 inch up the side of the springform pan. Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the flour, 1 ⅔ teaspoons cinnamon and ginger. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating constantly. Beat in the pumpkin, bourbon and vanilla extract. Spoon into the crust. Bake in the hot water bath for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until just set, adding additional water to the hot water bath if needed. Let stand to cool on wire rack. Remove the foil. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen. Chill, covered, for 8-12 hours. 

Remove the side of the springform pan. Place the cheesecake on a plate. Serve with the Caramel Sauce.

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • ⅛ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup (or more) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

Stir the sugar, corn syrup, water and lemon juice in a microwave safe 2-cup measure. Microwave for 4-8 minutes or until pale yellow. Let stand for 5 minutes or until rich amber, microwaving in 30-second intervals until the mixture is dark enough. Heat the cream in a bowl in the microwave just until hot. Add a few tablespoons at a time to the sugar mixture and stir until melted and blended, adding additional cream if too thick. Let stand to cool. Cover and chill. 

To learn more or purchase your own copy of the A Century of Serving cookbook click here.

Images by Joshua Foo 

TAGG, You’re It!

Together A Greater Good (TAGG) has generated over $400,000 for local schools, nonprofits, religious institutions, and youth sports teams, since being launched in 2015. As a female-founded, Nebraska tech company, TAGG allows you to support your favorite nonprofits like the Junior League of Omaha by snapping a picture of your receipt from participating businesses, who will donate 5% of the total. It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Click here to see the participating Omaha and Lincoln businesses.

TAGG makes giving back so easy that active member and Cookbook Committee co-chair, Katy Spratte Joyce, raised over $100 during the summer for the Junior League of Omaha. “Overall, since I began TAGGing in August of 2015, I’ve raised $1,735.88 for local causes. Recently, I’ve earmarked all my TAGG activity just for the Junior League of Omaha. In the past, I’ve also donated to the Red Cross, American Heart Association, Nebraska Children & Families Foundation, St. Margaret Mary Catholic School, and more.”

Katy’s a TAGG-ing pro and the former community relations manager at TAGG, where she worked for three years with the charities, schools, teams, etc. on the TAGG platform to help increase their fundraising efforts. When asked her favorite places to TAGG, Katy said, “Blue Sushi, Smoothie King, Kontempo, and The Bookworm.” She recommends making the commitment to go to TAGG businesses, when you’re just beginning to TAGG. “After a few TAGGs, it becomes second nature. And as you can see in my example below, if you are strategic about large purchases, like car maintenance and repairs, your amount raised goes up even faster. You can do everything from order coffee using a TAGG business to get a new roof using a TAGG business.”

Here’s how Katy raised over $100:

June 25: Smoothie King, $0.37 

June 30: The Bookworm $6.30 

July 31: Whisk+Measure, $0.95

August 1: The Bookworm $5.95

August 4: Reve Salon & Spa, $3.25

August 15: Smoothie King, $0.34

August 15: Spirit World, $1.10

August 25: Blue Sushi Sake Grill, $0.90

August 31:  Kontempo, $15.00

August 31: Smoothie King, $0.37

September 1: Smoothie King, $0.34

September 9: Omaha Car Care, $61.13

September 24: Omaha Car Care, $67.03 

Total Raised: $163.03

“I like that I can shop intentionally at places that care enough to give back to their community,” said Katy when asked what she enjoys most about TAGG. “Nothing shows your values like where you spend your money. TAGG makes it so easy to give back while just doing your normal expenditures like picking up takeout or supporting your favorite local shop.”

Amazon Smile: You shop. Amazon Gives to The Junior League of Omaha!

Did you know that you can set up your Amazon account to automatically donate to The League in under 5 minutes? Most Amazon purchases are eligible for AmazonSmile and help you pay it forward in our Omaha community. AmazonSmile donates 0.5% donation of all eligible purchases to your chosen organization. From the ease of your phone or computer, you can make a difference in our Omaha community by giving back while you shop for everyday products to the unique Amazon finds!

How does the Junior League of Omaha use donations in our Omaha community?

With over 100 years of meeting volunteer service and experience, the Junior League of Omaha is turning that experience and enthusiasm to address one of Omaha’s most critical and unmet needs – hunger and access to healthy food. According to the Food Research and Action Center, Nebraska is 7th in the nation for food insecurity, and 1 in 6 Nebraska children struggle with hunger (Map the Meal Gap). Fortunately, Omaha has many organizations doing outstanding work to alleviate hunger and provide access to healthy foods. We’re putting our volunteer power behind these community organizations to help grow, harvest and distribute healthy food, and most importantly, provide critical education about nutrition and cooking to the most at-risk populations. In partnership with these organizations, the League is able to amplify their impact, while building out new support and education programs that we are uniquely qualified to tackle.

Our community partners include:

– The Heart Ministry Center

– The Abundance Garden at the Union for Contemporary Art

– The Big Garden

– No More Empty Pots

– Together Omaha

– The Intercultural Senior Center

In addition to working with our community partners to address food insecurity in our Omaha community, the Junior League of Omaha issues local community assistance grants annually. Over the course of the 2019-2020 League year, we were able to issue $5,250 in grants to local programs or projects that support and pertain to the needs, benefits, enrichment and enlightenment of women and/or children.

Since 1992, each May, the League also has the pleasure to award three $2,000 scholarships to female high school seniors who demonstrate outstanding volunteer performance in the community. 

How do you set up AmazonSmile? 

From the Amazon App:

  1. Open your Amazon App. 
  2. Open the Main Menu (three horizontal lines at the top left).
  3. Scroll down and select “Settings”
  4. Select “AmazonSmile”.
  5. Change Charity to “Junior League of Omaha Inc”, if you have not already added AmazonSmile to your account via your browser.
  6. Turn your phone settings from “OFF” to “ON”.
  7. Congratulations! You did it! Start donating while you shop right away! Now you’re all set to donate while you shop from Amazon on-the-go!

From your Browser:

  1. Sign in to smile.amazon.com on your desktop or mobile phone browser.
  2. From your desktop, go to Your Account from the navigation at the top of any page, and then select the option to Change your Charity. Or, from your mobile browser, select Change your Charity from the options at the bottom of the page.
  3. Select a new charitable organization to support.
  4. Scroll Down to the “Other Programs” Section. Click Change your Amazon Smile Charity.
  5. Search for “Junior League of Omaha Inc”.
  6. Select “Junior League of Omaha Inc” as your charity.
  7. You did it, again! Make sure you never miss an opportunity to donate while you shop & add AmazonSmile to your bookmarks! Click the star where the URL is and that will allow you to add a bookmark from most web browsers!

Third Annual Bargain Bash

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The Junior League of Omaha (JLO) hosted its third annual Bargain Bash at the Ralston Arena on Saturday, August 10, 2019 and Sunday, August 11, 2019. The event raised funds which help JLO to support community programming throughout the year.

The rummage sale featured designer and name-brand clothing, shoes and jewelry for men, women and children as well as baby supplies, toys, kitchenware, home decor and furniture. One of the standout items for sale this year was a 10 piece, hand-painted bedroom set.

For a $20 donation, early bird shoppers could shop 90 minutes before the official opening to get their first pick of the items for sale and enjoy coffee with donuts.

Bargain Bash co-chairs said the committee sold 50 presale tickets and they were elated to see a line of customers waiting Saturday morning when the event officially opened to the public. In total, shoppers purchased $14,000 in merchandise throughout the weekend.

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Also of note, nothing went to waste. JLO donated unsold inventory to Heartland Hope Mission, where items will be donated directly to flood victims who lost their homes and personal belongings.

Still not sold on shopping secondhand? Here’s a little more motivation to thrift:

  • Find unique pieces and valuable items at great prices
  • Reduce waste through reusing gently loved goods
  • Think of thrifting as a treasure hunt – you never know what you might find
  • One-of-a-kind goods that tell a story

Are you feeling motivated to shop secondhand?

Comment with some of your favorite thrifted purchases below!

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Tip the Fundraising Scale with TAGG by Guest Blogger Katy Spratte

The Junior League of Omaha supports this vibrant community through countless volunteer hours, amazing fundraisers, and women and child-focused projects and scholarships. As a first year active in the League, I am thrilled to be able to present a great new fundraising option for our membership. That opportunity is through a local start up, called Together A Greater Good (TAGG). TAGG is an app that empowers users to support local nonprofits just by visiting participating businesses. That’s right, visit a participating business, TAGG a purchase, and the business will donate 5 percent of your purchase to the cause of your choice.

During the first month of being live on TAGG, the Junior League of Omaha has already raised $16.79. Six active league members have TAGGed so far, and I’m really excited to see what our whole group can accomplish. Those who have TAGGed have done so at Blue Sushi, Plank Seafood & Provisions, Beansmith Coffee Roasters, Railcar Modern American Kitchen, Bliss Boutique, Newman’s Pasta Cafe, Everbloom Floral & Gift, and Smoothie King. There are about 130 local businesses that are participating partners in TAGG, and will donate to causes of your choice. Additionally, the first $1,000 raised each month through the app is automatically matched by the 88 Restaurant Group, so that 5 percent donation is actually 10 percent at the beginning go the month.

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 It’s easy to see how simply frequenting TAGG businesses, that many of us already visit, can really add up to major funds for a worthwhile organization. Please consider downloading “Together A Greater Good” app today, and choosing to support the Junior League of Omaha without spending an extra dime. TAGGing a purchase takes about 30 seconds, watch this video tutorial. Start TAGGing today!
–Katy Spratte

Ladies Who bRUNch

The Junior League of Omaha is hosting a new fundraiser this year and planning committee members are passionate. This April, the League will host a 5K fun run that combines two events that League members just love: running and brunching. The concept is pretty simple, really: run 3.1 miles, eat brunch, support the League’s child-minded community projects. And everyone’s invited. We asked the committee members what keeps them running.

brunch_5k

Lisa Tronchetti will tell you she is an indoor runner. She remembers doing a 5K before, but lately she hasn’t made it past the one mile mark. Even though her distance has shortened, she keeps plugging away, because she has motivation. “I run to stay healthy and prevent Type II Diabetes,” she says. “Type II Diabetes is common for women in my family as they grow older and my hope is that by living a healthy lifestyle NOW with a healthy diet and a regular exercise schedule that includes a little running, I will greatly delay or prevent any onset of Type II Diabetes in my own health,” Lisa says. When the Junior League of Omaha announced a 5K run this spring, Lisa saw an opportunity to volunteer and get back on a training regimen. “I’m in my favorite Athleta pants and listening to the second season of Serial while I train,” she says. 

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It took Stacey Sellers a little time to warm up to the idea of loving a run. “I started running in middle school when I started cheer and dance, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I actually started to enjoy it,” she says. “Living in Charleston, SC at the time, the scenery and weather were perfect; and running outside was a must!” Stacey runs for enjoyment, opting out of a music playlist, no formal training program and no set distances. There is one thing she does commit to, a lacrosse ball she uses to massage her muscles after good run. 

Colby Jensen prefers to run with a crew. “When I run with friends, we talk about our days, what’s new in our lives, etc. so no music is needed,” she says. Her friends and the training program she found with a quick Google search keep her focused when training for half marathons. “I train with friends to hold myself accountable and make the longer runs seem easier,” she says. But when no one is around, she’ll crank up a good Pandora station Jock Jams, Pop & Hip Hop Power Workout, 2000s Hip Hop – to name a few. Her Nike+ training app keeps her motivated when she runs on her own.

Running Selfie
Pictured League Members: Lauren Hellman, bRUNch 5k committee, Allie Bruening, and Colby Jensen, bRUNch 5k committee.

 

Lauren Hellman might just go crazy if she doesn’t hit the pavement. She takes all her frustrations and stress of the day out on the wide open road. Often she will bring her dog along for company. She uses this time to catch up on her favorite podcasts. When weather forces Lauren to run on a treadmill, she might deviate slightly from the podcasts and opt for some Taylor Swift. “My favorite item to have on a run with me is a great pair for shoes,” she says. Typically she gets her shoes from Altra Running. But she recently picked up a pair from Skora Running. “They may become my new favorite,” Lauren says. 

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Pictured League Members: Lauren Hellman, bRUNch 5k committee, Allie Bruening, and Colby Jensen, bRUNch 5k committee.

No matter what your running style- or even if you’re not a runner- Lauren, Colby, Stacy and Lisa agree that there’s a place for you at the April 16 bRUNch 5K. Families are welcome to bring their kids for a 1K fun walk around Turner Park and if you’re not up for racing, you can purchase a ticket to the after-run brunch. Registration information is now available on jlomaha.org. We can’t wait to see you there!

 

Shine On: 2015 Omaha Color Run a Little Bit Brighter

A dedicated volunteer group made up of Junior League Omaha members and community volunteers were up before dawn to staff the 2015 Omaha Color Run. One group in particular had signed up to volunteer months prior to the event, at the very first suggestion that there would be a glitter station at the end of the race. “The only three words I heard of the announcement were “glitter” and “Color Run,” so I picked up my phone and text the chair of the event. locking in my participation,” says Veronica Wortman, League member and station captain. “I think I sent the text before the chair was even done making the announcement.”

Color Run Post

The Color Run is a traveling fun 5K run with a community purpose. In each city, a designated nonprofit organization receives recognition and financial contribution for supporting the volunteer staffing of the event. Known as the happiest 5K on the planet, the Color Run plasters runners with colored corn starch mixture as they run. The event ends with a short rave-like party where the gathered crowd is blasted with more color. The Color Run announced a new theme this year on their website. “The Shine Tour is designed to uplift and inspire runners to stand out from the crowd, sweat sparkles, and continue to live their lives in a happy and healthy way.”

Within a week all of the “Shine Station” volunteer slots were filled. Over the course of the five hour volunteer shift, 16 women tossed 500 pounds of shimmery silver cornstarch compound over runners as they crossed the finish line. Covered in shine, and resembling the Wizard of Oz Tin Man, the women recall memories created that day.

“I had a great time with the fellow Shine Station ladies.  I loved meeting some fairly new League members and catching up with some women I haven’t seen in a while.  I personally loved being covered in shine!  It reminded me of junior high when we’d slather ourselves with drugstore shimmer powder and jam to *NSync.” says Katie Triplett, League member and Shine Station volunteer.

“I would recommend bringing a SARS mask, hat and sunglasses. You’ll look ridiculous, but definitely worth it because really, it is about spending time with friends and making a difference to other in the community,” says Alysia Radicia, League member and Shine Station volunteer.  She also laughed when admitting that by the end of the event she had so much shine in her hair that she had a good idea of how she would look when she aged. “I know that I can pull off the silver-grey hair look, which is a life goal of mine.”

League member and Shine Station volunteer, Claire Stevens recalls, “We had an awesome crew and this was a wonderful way to fulfill a fundraising shift requirement for the League with a fun group of girls.” Following the Color Run rules of tossing color at runner’s torsos rather than faces, Claire realized quickly she had limited aim and ended up getting more silver shine on herself. “That’s okay, I have always wanted to look like a twilight vampire- dream fulfilled.”

Color Run Shine Station volunteers, before and after.
2015 Omaha Color Run Shine Station volunteers, before and after.

The Shine Station was staffed by Junior League of Omaha members and community volunteers. League members: Claire Stevens, Meghan Hope, Veronica Wortman, Jennifer Anderson, Katie Triplett, Teresa Riesberg, Sarah Hanify, Kristen Robert Buell, Kayla Petersen, Lauren Taylor Anderson, Ashley Wampler-Gloystein and Kati Jurgens Davis. Community Volunteers: Amy Morris, Caitlin Morris

The 2015 Omaha Color Run was an overall success. Check out the quick facts about the race in the below infographic.

Omaha, Neb. 2015 Color Run, Shine Tour infographic
Omaha, Neb. 2015 Color Run, Shine Tour infographic

How to: Host a Dinner Party Fundraiser

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Recently, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg and her husband Zach hosted a dinner party fundraiser in their home to benefit the Literacy Center, which provides basic literacy education, General Educational Development (GED) prep and technology training to adults in the community, free of charge. “I think the most important first step in hosting a fundraiser like this is to ensure you are raising money for a cause you care deeply about and have a personal connection established,” Melissa says. She is on the board of directors for the organization and became involved after hearing about what it’s doing to prep hundreds of students each year for GED testing, the work force and even simple, taken-for-granted tasks like reading a menu or a storybook to their kids. Every spring, the Literacy Center hosts a formal campaign to create awareness and raise funds to cover operating costs. While a lot of that campaign is done over social media, Melissa and Zach decided to take a more personal approach to raising money.  “My husband and I both love to cook and entertain.  I thought it’d be fun to have a party, host our friends and raise money for a good cause. For us, it is fun to prepare menus and cook together,” she says. Menu planning took about two weeks and the couple spent two days preparing the dinner.

Sample of dinner party invitation
Sample of dinner party invitation

Melissa started with a large guest list. Her intention was to cast a wide net with the invitation to spread general awareness. “I knew that not everyone would be able to attend, but that some might still be willing to make an online donation,” she says.  She invited past and present co-workers, members of her book club, fellow Literacy Center board members as well as Junior League of Omaha members. The invitation was designed by a friend of hers that incorporated a book-related ABCs theme and suggested a “hardcover” donation of $20 or “softcover” donation of $10 to the Literacy Center. The invitation was sent electronically through Facebook and email.

Party decorations made from book pages
Party decorations made from book pages

“Zach and I wanted to play off the ABCs theme by offering appetizers, beverages and conversation at our event,” she says.  The couple’s signature cocktail for the event was named “Teacher’s Pet,” an Old Fashioned made with apple-flavored whiskey. Zach and his sister spent a great deal of time putting together decorations of custom flowers made from the pages of old books that the local library was planning to toss. The evening of the dinner party, roughly 60 guests poured in and out of their house. There was no formal programming that evening, rather a cocktail party like atmosphere where Melissa and Zach could pop around to guests and casually pepper the organization’s mission and plans for their upcoming building plans and move into conversation. “We sat a laptop by the front door so guests could make a donation as they came in or left,” Melissa says. “Most of our guests were willing to donate about $50, and I am guessing that figure came from what they would have spent on a night out for dinner and drinks, which we provided that night.”

Junior League of Omaha members attend fundraising dinner for the Literacy Center
Junior League of Omaha members attend fundraising dinner for the Literacy Center. Back row, left to right: Erin Fairchild, Alysia Radicia, Megan Riebe, Amy Henderson and Kelly Giese. Front row, left to right: Melissa Hoeman Carlberg (host), Lindsey Buchanan and Katie Triplett.

The donation results from the dinner party were quite impressive. Initially Melissa set her campaign goal at $750, then increased it to $1,000 for the party after receiving so many “hardcover” and “softcover” donations from those who could not attend. The evening ended with $1,300 donations made to the Literacy Center as a direct result of Melissa and Zach’s efforts. To put the total amount into perspective, $1,300 could pay for 10 students to take the GED test. Melissa and Zach will be hosting another dinner to benefit the organization next spring. “We were really thrilled with our friends’ generosity and were so pleased to have the money to go to the overall campaign.”

Tips for running in high heels

Picture running a race. In heels.

For the participants who sign up for the Junior League of Omaha’s 5th Annual High Heel Dash on May 7th, this is the reality.

High Heel Dash Collage 2

 

High Heel Dash is a fundraiser with event proceeds set to benefit the League’s community projects: The Career Development Series, Project Hope Pack, Done–in-a-Day, and A Book of My Own.

Women and Men are asked to run a 50-yard dash in heels that must be at least 2 inches high.  The race is open to anyone age 19 or older with those registered in the Boomers & Beyond category being allowed to run in flats.  Dashers can compete as an individual or in a four-person relay team.

Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories with top awards going to dash winners and creative costumes.  Want to attend with feet firmly in place? Community supporters can purchase a Diva/Dude Doesn’t Dash drink ticket for happy hour only.

The dash will be run at Turner Park, located in the heart of Midtown Crossing. Dashers will have the ability to run in a closed course.  For those who find running a challenge while wearing sneakers, this race can be particularly hazardous. Therefore the High Heel Dash Committee has put together several tips to offer before Thursday:

  1. Wedges offer more stability than stilettos.

  2. Non-slip stickers added to the bottom of shoes can increase traction.

  3. Safety over speed.

  4. Running in a heel can put more pressure on knees – a neoprene sleeve could help decrease pressure on the kneecaps.

  5. Utilize some type of ankle support – whether it’s a wrap or lace up support.

  6. Scan the course – watch for gravel and be aware of where your feet are hitting the ground as you run.

  7. Stretch – focus on your Achilles tendon and hamstrings.

  8. Heels must be at least 2 inches high but we recommend sticking with heels no higher than 2.5 inches.

2014-5-1 High Heel Dash - AH (46)

If you go:

Junior League of Omaha 5th Annual High Heel Dash will be held at Midtown Crossing on May 7.

Event registration begins at 5:30 PM with the first Dash starting at 6:15 PM.  Immediately following the Dash, an event happy hour will be held at Brix.

Pre-Register at Active.com.  A t-shirt will be given to the first 75 registrations. Day of registrations will also be available.