In The Loop



Sweet 6 Contest

Girls age 6 will take the stage at the annual Sweet 6 Contest, sponsored by the Olathe Junior Service League (OJSL) and a part of the Old Settlers Celebration Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.

The main stage, located in downtown Olathe, will be the spot where the pint-sized hopeful beauties compete. This longtime tradition serves as a fundraiser for the OJSL Foundation Scholarship Fund, which recognizes high school seniors in the Olathe area who demonstrate volunteerism in the community.

In order to participate, girls must be 6 years old at the time of the event, be able to speak with judges and, of course, look cute. There is no talent competition to the contest.

Winners will ride in the Old Settler’s parade on Saturday, Sept. 7.

For more information visit



Blue Valley’s Sunflower Ambassador Program Celebrates Character

For the past 15 years, Blue Valley Education Foundation has been recognizing outstanding students through the inspirational Sunflower Ambassadors program.

The honor is based on a recognition system whereby students are nominated in essays written by their peers and are selected based on how they exhibit the seven Blue Valley virtues: compassion, courage, honesty, perseverance, respect, responsibility and self-discipline.

Students are recognized and receive commendation at the annual Blue Valley Education Foundation breakfast in August.

One such Sunflower Ambassador is Kaitlin Mack, a fourth grader at Liberty View Elementary. Her nominator, Berit Jones, wrote, “I remember one time when we were getting our lunch and the lunch lady forgot to make us pay. Kaitlin had the idea to go back and pay for it.”

Another Sunflower Ambassador is J.D. Petree, a fourth grader at Mission Trail Elementary. J.D.’s nominator, Ryan Spratlin, wrote, “Unlike some people, he is able to judge his friends by their character and not what they look like. My point is he is able to look at people on the inside and not the outside.”

The kind peer comments continued with Autumn Dixon’s words, “If I had a dime for every time Josh did something nice for someone else or helped someone, I’d be a billionaire!” in her nomination of Josh Pell of Stanley Elementary.

7th grade Sunflower Ambassador Reygan Wightman, (a FOCUS student) at Pleasant Ridge Middle, was nominated by Sofia Adinolfi who wrote, “Imagine coming to school every morning and getting a huge smile and tight warm hug plus a few laughs to start your day? I am lucky to get these things every day from Reygan Wightman. She perseveres every day to strive for her academics. Sometimes learning is a challenge for her, but that doesn’t stop her from persevering. She always makes the FOCUS teachers have a smile on their faces. Respectful, funny, caring are three words that describe Reygan Wightman.”




Menorah Medical Center Campus goes Pink!

The Menorah Medical Center Campus near 119th St. and Nall Ave. is going pink Oct. 1 when it features a kickoff party for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Guests will meet Menorah medical professionals and physicians along with those who have been touched by breast cancer.

Walk-in mammograms will be available without appointment and you can show your solidarity by getting you pink hair extensions compliments of Oliver’s Salon.

The event runs from 4 to 6 p.m. in the main lobby of the medical center.

For more information visit

Johnson County’s long-planned Prairiefire Showing Signs of Life

The 60-acre Prairiefire mixed-use development, located on the southwest corner of 135th and Nall, will finally stir to life this month with a handful of retail venues opening soon.

The Fresh Market (Sept. 4)
As the locavore food movement continues to gain traction, The Fresh Market is bringing another option to metro residents interested in eating high-quality products. The brand has gained a loyal following at more than 100 locations nationally by focusing on what its consumer wants. Instead of an industrial atmosphere, the store is designed to feel European, which makes the shopping experience much more relaxing and enjoyable. In addition to the food necessary to create any gourmet meal, The Fresh Market also carries great selections of coffee, wine and beauty products.

REI (Oct. 5)
Outdoors enthusiasts can rejoice: REI plans to open early next month. Started by a group of mountain climbers, REI offers high-quality gear for climbing, hiking, camping, cycling, canoeing, skiing and anything else you might be doing outside. Every year since 1998, the company has been named one of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” so you can bet that the team members on site to assist you will be happy and helpful.

Rock & Brews (Spring 2014)
KISS’s Gene Simmons is teaming up with concept promoter Dave Furano and restaurateur Michael Zislis to bring Rock and Brews Backstage Beer Garden to Prairiefire next spring. The Backstage Beer and Rock Garden is designed to give rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts the feeling of being backstage at a concert with rock ‘n’ roll-themed art, music videos and, of course, some of the best beer around. The food, entertainment and fun, casual atmosphere combine for a dining experience like no other.

Museum of Prairiefire (Spring 2014)
At the center of the development project: the Museum of Prairiefire, which will contain exhibitions and artifacts from the American Museum of Natural History. Signs posted near the fast-rising building boast the most important coming attractions — the world’s largest dinosaurs. As the anchor attraction, the museum has been tapped as a major tourism destination by both the City of Overland Park and the State of Kansas.

The Trout Are Coming To Overland Park

Trout Fishing in America will headline at the Overland Park Fall Festival Saturday, September 28 at 3 p.m. Mr. Stinky Feet, Jim Cosgrove, and his Hiccups will open the free outdoor event.

The annual Overland Park Fall Festival includes the county’s best Arts and Crafts Fair, the downtown Overland Park Parade, three stages of free concerts, free children’s entertainment and kid-friendly activities including moonwalks, an inflatable obstacle course and concessions with a wide variety of appeal from barbecue, Chinese, fusion, Greek and Mexican fare to traditional favorites like hot dogs, ice cream and of course, funnel cakes.

This year the City of Overland park welcomes the four-time Grammy-nominated Trout Fishing in America. AKA Ezra Idlet (guitar) stands 6-feet, 9-inches and Keith Grimwood (bass), 5-feet, 5-inches. After three decades of writing, recording and performing together, Trout Fishing in America can look back at a body of work that is impressive and appeals joyfully to adults and children alike.

For more information about the Overland Park Fall Festival or to learn more about the colorful Trout Fishing in America group, visit



Country Club Plaza Hosts Cigar Festival

Area merchants have collaborated to bring the area’s first cigar festival to the Country Club Plaza. The Kansas City Cigar Festival will be held on Broadway between Ward Parkway and J. C. Nichols Parkway, just around the corner from Diebel’s Sportsmens Gallery’s flagship location.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 7, cigar lovers from around the region will have an opportunity to meet with a dozen international cigar and accessory manufacturers to learn about their brands and blends. Kansas City’s own Dark Horse Distillery will sample its locally made spirits, and the Plaza’s Cooper’s Hawk Winery will sample wine.

O’Dowd’s Little Dublin will supply Boulevard and Guinness beer, and lunch will be provided by the Blue Moose Truck.

“This is a cigar lover’s dream,” says Curt Diebel, president of Diebel’s. “It’s a chance to learn about new lines, find new favorites and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow cigar enthusiasts.”

General admission and VIP ticket holders will receive souvenir bags filled with cigars.

For more information visit



Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. visits Kansas City for Concert for the Climate

Globally renowned water conservationist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and environmental author Bill McKibben will join regional leaders this fall for the Midwest’s first solar-powered Concert for the Climate.

Music will link together workshops, Kennedy’s keynote speech and McKibben’s featured presentation at Kaw Point Riverfront Park on Saturday, Sept. 28. The event will last from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Among area leaders participating in the event are Kansas City, Kan., Mayor and Combined Government CEO Mark R. Holland; Kansas State Representative Ponka-We Victors, the only Native American in the Kansas legislature; experts from the Mid-America Regional Council and the City of Kansas City, Missouri; and local industry leaders.

The event will include numerous entertaining and educational activities, as well as workshops for the whole family, including a special area just for kids. Electric and CNG vehicles will be on display as well as the Planet Earth Balloon — the only hot air balloon of its kind with a digital photo image of Earth.

Kennedy, a resolute defender of the environment who has inspired organizations around the globe, is a leader in sustainable development and is a leading lawyer with several environmental and water-conservation and protection organizations.

Kennedy will share his views on energy issues and water and land conservation concerns.

For more information about the event, visit or follow updates on Facebook.


Local favorites making headlines

Jess & Jim’s

Kansas City’s beloved steakhouse Jess & Jim’s has made the Huffington Post’s “Top 10 Steakhouses in America” list. “In a town known for great steak,” according to the popular site, “Jess & Jim’s stands apart from the pack, and did so even before Calvin Trillin put it on the map in 1972, when he named it one of the country’s best steakhouses in Playboy magazine.”

Travel + Leisure magazine also named Jess & Jim’s one of the top U.S. Steakhouses in 2013.

The acknowledgements are the latest additions in a long list of achievements for the legendary steakhouse, which happens to be celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.


Rye of Leawood, which opened earlier this year, is savoring the sweet spotlight of a cover photo on Saveur magazine’s August/September 2013 issue, on newsstands now. The magazine dedicates 23 pages to Kansas and includes Rye’s special recipe for extra-crispy fried chicken — the subject of the mouth-watering cover image.

Jon Russell’s BBQ

Jon Russell’s BBQ has been featured in a recent issue of Parade magazine. The feature article, “The New Golden Age of Barbecue,” says this most American of foods is having a renaissance. That renaissance apparently includes one of the newest additions to the KC barbecue scene.


Drunken Fish Opens in leawood

The highly anticipated hipster hotspot Drunken Fish is now open for business.

Expect more than great sushi. The Drunken Fish — with its swanky décor and upbeat vibe — is also known as a place to people-watch as well as be seen.

The restaurant space, formally occupied by the short-lived Fo Thai Asian fusion concept in the shops at Town Crossing, is conveniently located right next door to another popular Leawood eatery, La Bodega at 119th  St. and Roe Ave.

With a wide selection of sushi options and Japanese cuisine, the Drunken Fish has something to satisfy just about every appetite. The drink menu boasts a list of unique craft cocktails and the ambiance is young and sophisticated.


5th Annual KC Beer Fest

The Kansas City Power & Light District and Flying Saucer Draught Emporium will host this year’s KC Beer Fest, the Midwest’s premiere craft beer festival, on Saturday, September 28, 2013, at KC Live! in the Power & Light District.

The festival begins at 3 p.m. and will feature more than 60 quality handcrafted beers procured from local breweries and others from around the world, plus rare keg tappings will be available throughout the event. 

Guests will enjoy live music and great food, including gourmet pretzels and brats.

General admission tickets are just $30 in advance (or $35 day of event). Additionally, a limited number of VIP tickets are available for $50 and include exclusive access to breweries one hour prior to event start time, private restrooms and an early food buffet inside Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Kansas City Care Clinic and the AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City, original founders of KC Beer Fest.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit