Fall Fun in Kansas City!
79 ways to savor the season
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American Royal World Series of Barbecue
Aug. 31-Sept. 3
Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan.
Finish your summer strong by attending the festival, which includes live music, carnival rides, food trucks, fireworks and, of course, the World Series Barbecue competition. Sample as much barbecue as you can eat at the Taste of KC Barbecue, compete in the “Ribdiculous” Challenge and even try your hand at the Fast Eddy’s Texas Hold ‘Em Tournment. $20 to $200. americanroyal.com
Crown Center Square, Kansas City, Mo.
From traditional Irish dance to some of Ireland’s funniest comedians, there will be no shortage of activities to celebrate the Celtic side of Kansas City’s heritage at this weekend-long festival. More than 30 bands and 38 vendors will make an appearance to help transport you to a party fit for Dublin. $7 to $800. kcirishfest.com
Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival
Historic Independence Square, Independence, Mo.
For 45 years, Independence has commemorated the origin of the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails of the early pioneer days. Join more than 300,000 people in carnival games, arts and entertainment lasting all Labor Day weekend. Free. santacaligon.com
Sept. 2-Oct. 15
Kansas City Renaissance Festival Fairgrounds, Bonner Springs, Kan.
With this historic festival, the medieval party doesn’t stop for seven weekends straight. Feast like royalty; hear live music; and watch live jousters, a fire-breathing man and daring acrobats as you learn about Renaissance history. The festival includes themed weekends; special events; and a marketplace complete with craft vendors, games and rides. Free to $249.95. kcrenfest.com
Johnson County Old Settlers Parade and Carnival
It’s back! Enjoy carnival rides, ice cream socials and Kansas’ largest parade with about 160 entries. Swap stories at Gab Fest, try your hand at horseshoe pitching and browse the craft booths, all in the name of good old-fashioned fun. Free to $25. johnsoncountyoldsettlers.com
LaBenite Riverfront Park, Sugar Creek, Mo.
If you love dancing and camping, this top-rated music festival is for you. Spend three days and four nights with nonstop music, a Ferris wheel, helicopter tours, canoe trips and a firework finale. $25 to $179. dancefestopia.com
Belton Fall Festival
Downtown Belton Main Street, Belton, Mo.
This two-day festival will encompass the epitome of fall in Belton with live music, food and handcrafted goods. Bring your family Saturday morning for a pancake breakfast, then take a ride on the Kansas City Railroad. Free. mainstreetbelton.org
Historic Westport, Kansas City, Mo.
Browse the booths of more than 150 artists at this locals-only art fair. Discover unique jewelry, paintings, ceramics, glass and much more at the 38th annual celebration of the metro’s creative community. Free. westportkcmo.com
Lost Arts Fair
Sept, 9, 10 a.m.
1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum, Kansas City, Mo.
Step back in time and revel in the crafts of blacksmithing, bookmaking, quilting, woodworking and much more. Take a tour of the Mansion House, then head to Art Westport via horse-drawn carriage. Free. westporthistorical.com
KC Beer Fest
Sept. 9, 3 p.m.
Kansas City Power & Light District, Kansas City, Mo.
Leave the children at home for this one and buy a ticket that gives you access to more than 200 craft beers, food trucks and live music. Try rare keg tappings while they last and play lawn games at one of the premier craft beer festivals in the Midwest. $35 to $70. kcbeerfest.com
Kansas City Chalk and Walk Festival
Sept. 9-10, 11 a.m.
Crown Center Square, Kansas City, Mo.
Watch a unique art form spread across Kansas City’s streets in chalk, featuring professional and amateur work, as well as some children and student chalk art. Take a stroll among street performers and live entertainment and witness the creative minds at work. Bring your own chalk to leave some art on the street! Free. kcchalkandwalk.org
Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival
Various locations, Kansas City, Mo.
The spirit of Kansas City’s jazz era lives on with a multi-day educational and enthralling spectacle. Created to highlight the Midwest’s toast-worthy cocktail scene and its talented bartenders and enthusiasts, the affectionately named POP Fest promises a grand old time packed with seminars from the best in the biz, paired dinners and music performances. $20 to $300. popfestkc.com
Prairie Village Jazz Festival
Sept. 9, 3 p.m.
Grab a picnic blanket or some lawn chairs and gather ‘round for Kansas City’s newest “destination jazz festival.” Featuring jazz singer and pianist Oleta Adams, 7-piece fusion group The Project H, local sensation Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle and more, the festival is sure to keep feet tapping and heads nodding all evening. Free to $5. pvkansas.com
Lenexa Spinach Festival
Sept. 9, 9 a.m.
Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, Lenexa, Kan.
Come to the “Spinach Capital of the World” of the 1930s, also the home of the world’s largest spinach salad, to experience a festival you’ll not soon forget. Enter your favorite spinach dish into the recipe contest, show off your rock-skipping skills and meet Popeye and Olive Oyl in person! Free. lenexa.com
Jewish Culture Fest
Sept. 10, 11 a.m.
Jewish Community Center, Overland Park, Kan.
The Jewish Community Center invites Kansas City to indulge in a daylong fest of enriching family fun. Reimagined for its 10th year to bring more communities together, this premier event packs something for all, including food, special exhibits, live entertainment, and for the first time, the Kansas City Kosher BBQ Competition. $3 to $8. jewishculturefest.com
Handmade & Vintage Chick Event
Johnson Farms, Belton, Mo.
Find all things handmade and vintage at this fun, fall family event! Explore over 100 local and regional vendors while enjoying live music and kids farm activities. Free to $8. chickevents.com
A Taste of Leawood
Sept. 16, 7 p.m.
Town Center Plaza, Leawood, Kan.
Try out more than 30 of Leawood’s finest dining destinations all at one event in an evening under the stars. Relax in an environment of live music and upscale dining at Leawood’s largest foodie event. Get tickets while they last! $55 to $65. facebook.com/tasteofleawood
Village West WineFest
Sept. 16, 6 p.m.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Kansas City, Kan.
Cure your end-of-summer woes with a globetrotting festival of libations benefiting KC Cause. Sample more than 200 wines and 100-plus craft beers from around the world along with small bites from the metro’s best restaurants, bars and caterers. Then, raise a glass and celebrate 10 years of WineFest with a dazzling fireworks display. $65 to $140. villagewestwinefest.com
Liberty Fall Festival
Historic Downtown Liberty, Liberty, Mo.
Join Liberty in welcoming fall days with a carnival and parade. The festival will come complete with entertainment, food and a market full of crafts and homegrown fruits and vegetables. Free to $20. libertyfallfest.com
Plaza Art Fair
Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, Mo.
Come experience art and music stretching over nine blocks on the Country Club Plaza during this top-ranked, national art event. More than 250,000 people flock to Kansas City for a weekend that includes three music stages, more than 240 art exhibits and more than 25 featured restaurant booths. Free. plazaartfair.com
Sept. 23-24 and Sept. 30-Oct. 1
Louisburg Cider Mill, Louisburg, Kan.
Treat yourself to some good old-fashioned fun at Louisburg Cider Mill. Make your own doughnuts, wander through the corn maze and listen to live bluegrass music, then wash it all down with a glass of fresh apple cider. Free. louisburgcidermill.com
Overland Park Fall Festival
Sept. 23, 9 a.m.
Santa Fe Commons Park, Overland Park, Kan.
Join the city of Overland Park for a classic hometown parade, festival and art fair. Activities include face painting, the farmers’ market, food trucks and free concerts and more. Free. opkansas.org
UNPlaza Art Fair
Sept. 23-24, 10 a.m.
Southmoreland Park, Kansas City, Mo.
If you enjoy browsing the work of local artists, look no further! At PeaceWorks’ annual fundraiser, artists will sell anything from pottery to sewing projects. All proceeds benefit the artists and the organization that is Kansas City’s voice against nuclear arms. Free. peaceworkskc.org
WaterFire Kansas City
Oct. 7, 7 p.m.
Brush Creek, Kansas City, Mo.
Gather your blankets and lawn chairs to watch this annual fire spectacle on Brush Creek. Enjoy live vocals, dance and acrobatics by Quixotic, StoneLion Puppet Theatre, Kansas City Drum Tribe and more. What started as an art installation has now turned into a celebration of arts and music for all to enjoy. Free. waterfirekc.com
Harvest Moon American Indian Festival
Oct. 7, 12 p.m.
31st Street and Troost Avenue, Kansas City, Mo.
Experience American Indian culture like never before through this festival’s lineup of performers, dancers, artists and artisans. Learn the significance of the Osage Trail, listen to fascinating stories, enjoy a performance by world champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan and sample an Indian taco or Buffalo burger. Free. harvestmoonfestivalkc.com
Weston Applefest Celebration
Historic Downtown Weston, Mo.
Bring your family to watch the parade of antique tractors, cars, fire trucks and bands at Weston’s 29th annual Applefest Celebration. Watch how apple butter and apple cider is made, partake in kids’ activities such as face painting and pony rides, browse the craft booths and Weston shops and much more. Free to $1. westonmo.com
Kansas City Japan Festival
Oct. 7, 10 a.m.
Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kan.
Fascinated by Japanese culture? The Heart of America Japan-America Society presents and celebrates the history and customs of Japan. kcjapanfestival.org
Midtown, Kansas City, Mo.
Explore midtown Kansas City while discovering local bands. Stroll porch-to-porch to hear acoustic or near-acoustic sets and witness masters of mandolin, fiddle and guitar. Be sure to bring a lawn chair and some cash for food trucks and tips for the musicians. Free. porchfestkc.com
Brew at the Zoo & Wine Too
Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City, Mo.
Help save the rhinos with your ticket to this year’s Brew at the Zoo, a chance to sample from local breweries and wineries such as KC Bier Co. and Arcadian Moon Winery. Pair your choice drink with a snack from your favorite food truck and take in the sounds of live music — and maybe a lion roar or two! $35 to $45. kansascityzoo.org
Oct. 14, 4 p.m.
Overland Park Arboretum, Overland Park, Kan.
Enjoy good food, beer and entertainment in a beautiful garden setting. This all-inclusive ticket gets you access to more than 90 craft beers, music, dancing, games and more, all to benefit the Arboretum. $45 to $75. artsandrec-op.org
Oct. 14, 10 a.m.
Shoal Creek Living History Museum, Kansas City, Mo.
This old-fashioned county fair will bring you back to simpler times with puppet shows, historical games, century re-enactors, music and much more! Enjoy kettle corn, pony rides, face painting and horse-drawn wagon rides to ring in the fall season. Free to $5. shoalcreeklivinghistorymuseum.com
Bartle Hall, Kansas City, Mo.
Get a head start on holiday shopping at Kansas City’s only nonprofit shopping event sponsored by the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri. Past retailers have included Roadside Runway Boutique, My Charmed Life and Nothing Bundt Cakes. Free to $50. jlkc.org
Lenexa Chili Challenge
Old Town Lenexa, Kan.
You can’t beat free food! Try samples from more than 200 teams competing in chili, salsa and hot wings contests. Activities include a Kids Kornbread Contest and a Hot Pepper Eating Contest on Saturday. The event also promises Friday night fireworks and live music entertainment both days. Free. lenexa.com
Glow: A Jack O’ Lantern Festival
Powell Gardens, Kingsville, Mo.
Take a walk down Powell Gardens’ spooky path lined with the ever-watching eyes of 750 jack-o-lanterns. This year also features hay rides, a carnivorous plant display and an After-Glow event for adults. Free to $12. powellgardens.org
Fright Night at Shoal Creek
Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Shoal Creek Living History Museum, Kansas City, Mo.
Stay close to your friends as you explore the old log cabins, spooky homes and dark woods surrounding the museum. Leave the kiddos at home; Fright Night is for brave souls age 16 and older. $10. shoalcreeklivinghistorymuseum.com
Oct. 22, 10 a.m.
Kemper Outdoor Education Center, Blue Springs, Mo.
Bring your talented dog for a day of celebrating man’s best friend with competitions in dock-diving and Frisbee-catching. Show off your dog’s biscuit-eating skills, enter the costume contest and see just how much you and your pooch resemble one another in the dog/owner lookalike game. Free with dog food donation. makeyourdayhere.com
Boo at the Zoo
Oct. 28-29, 10:30 a.m.
Kansas City Zoo, Kansas City, Mo.
Trick-or-treating just got wilder! Enjoy Halloween-themed activities and entertainment plus not-so-spooky treat stations throughout the zoo. Free to $14.50. kansascityzoo.org
Kansas International Film Festival
Glenwood Arts Theatre, Overland Park, Kan.
Experience the world of independent film at this weeklong film festival, presenting more than 100 different narratives, animations and documentaries from more than 50 countries. Stick around for Q&A sessions with filmmakers, plus an awards ceremony for jury-selected winners. kansasfilm.com
Day of the Dead
Nov. 5, 10 a.m.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo.
Celebrate the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos, a tribute to loved ones who have passed away. Enjoy live music, Mexican food, art activities, a traditional altar and more. Free. nelson-atkins.org
Overland Park Convention Center
Getting a head start on Christmas shopping? You can find gifts for the whole family at the Holiday Boutique show with unique goods that are sure to delight. Featuring nearly 200 exhibitors, this one-stop shop is the best way to spread holiday cheer. Free to $12. kcholidayboutique.com
Northern Lights Holiday Lighting Ceremony
Zona Rosa Town Square
Start off the holiday season with a special lighting ceremony and a 50-foot tree in Town Square. Bring the kids to see Santa Claus and the holiday Fairy Princess. Free. zonarosa.com
Christmas in the Sky
Nov. 22, 5 p.m.
Longview Lake Beach, Kansas City, Mo.
Get in the holiday spirit with the help of festive entertainment and an amazing fireworks display synchronized to the season’s classic music on 99.7 The Point. This spectacle on the lake is sure to have you humming “Deck the Halls” all the way home. Free. makeyourdayhere.com
Christmas in the Park
Longview Lake Campground, Kansas City, Mo.
Bundle up for Kansas City’s annual drive-thru light show. Comprising more than 300,000 lights and 175 animated figures, Christmas in the Park is a cherished family tradition. Free. makeyourdayhere.com