Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting
Locally known as “Berkshire Weekend,” the annual shareholders meeting of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is one of the larger and more unique events in Omaha. Held each year downtown at the Qwest Center in early May, the “Woodstock of Capitalism” attracts 40,000 shareholders from around the world, not to mention media from a wide variety of outlets.
Ostensibly a business meeting to discuss the company, the gathering has transformed into something of a financial fiesta, with the legal proceedings of the event usually taking a mere 15 minutes. Though considered the Mecca for devotees of the Oracle of Omaha, entrance into the events is not always easy: while shareholders can apply for up to four credentials each, BRK stock has never been thought of as cheap (though newer Class B shares and alternative credential sources, like eBay, have greatly reduced the cost of entry).
The shareholders meeting often begins with cartoons or a movie humorously depicting Buffett and partner Charlie Munger before the “Warren and Charlie Show”—the nickname for the duo’s marathon Q + A session that highlights the weekend—begins proper. After the Saturday meeting closes, there are always a series of after parties and events, not to mention booths hawking goods from the numerous companies Berkshire owns.
Elsewhere in Omaha, there are deep discounts for shareholders at Borsheim’s and Nebraska Furniture Mart. As a reward for shopping shoulder-to-shoulder with their fellow stockholders, shoppers get treated to magic shows and appearances by Buffett (he’s challenged chess, table tennis, and bridge champions in the past), plus glimpses of rarely seen jewelry, like the Vanderbilt Rose.
In addition to cocktail gatherings, financial meetings at local universities, and book signings by prominent authors, shareholder dinners are held at local steakhouses. None is more popular than Gorat’s Steak House, as their T-bone steak with hash browns is favored by Buffett himself. Reservations are required from early lunch until close.