Mark Your Calendar: 50 Reasons to Celebrate in KC
Kansas City Announces Major Events, Festivals for 2012
Need a getaway but gas prices got you down?
You don’t have to go far to find a good time. Just across the state, Kansas City offers a wide variety of events from sports events to family festivals with a lot in between, and many of them are free or cheap.
To get you started planning your visit, here’s a look at 50 unique events happening in KC this year.
For a complete list of events in the metro area, go to VisitKC.com.
First Friday of every month
First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District, kccrossroads.org
Join the thousands that explore the galleries and shops in the district for one of the nation’s largest free art walks.
Kansas City Restaurant Week, kcrestaurantweek.com
Returning for its third year, KC Restaurant Week features value-priced, multi-course menus at more than 120 local establishments.
MIAA Basketball Championships, themiaa.com
Representing 12 institutions across Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, the MIAA tourneys return to KC for a ninth consecutive year.
Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Championships, VisitKC.com/big12basketball
One of the toughest conferences in college basketball returns to KC for an unprecedented 11th year.
Snake Saturday Parade & Family Fun Festival, northlandfestivals.com
This 28th annual Irish celebration is a family-friendly staple in Kansas City’s Northland community.
NAIA Division I Men’s National Basketball Championship, naiahoops.org
Now in its 75th year, the longest-running collegiate national championship of any sport returns to KC.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, kcirishparade.com
Kansas City hosts one of the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in Midtown, now in its 40th year.
Gatsby Days, gatsbydays.com
The Roaring 20s spring back to life during Excelsior Springs’ celebration of the Gatsby era.
The Kansas City Easter Parade, zonarosa.com
Families don their Easter best for this long-time KC tradition revived by the Zona Rosa shopping district.
Kansas City FilmFest, kcfilmfest.org
This downtown festival celebrates the creativity and hard work of filmmakers from around the world.
Worlds of Fun Season Opening, worldsoffun.com
KC’s popular amusement park opens for the summer with some of the region’s most thrilling rides.
April 21-22 & Oct. 20-21
NASCAR at Kansas Speedway, kansasspeedway.com
KC is one of only 12 cities in the country to hold two weekends of NASCAR’s most thrilling event, the Sprint Cup Series.
Brookside Art Annual, brooksidekc.com
Attracting 70,000 people each year, this charming neighborhood art festival has made a name for itself.
Downtown Art Annual, powerandlightdistrict.com
Showcasing more than 150 local and regional artists, the festival celebrates its fifth year in the Kansas City Power & Light District.
Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark Season Opening, schlitterbahn.com/kc
The world-class waterpark in Kansas City, Kan., returns for its third season of spills and thrills.
Oceans of Fun Season Opening, worldsoffun.com
The largest outdoor water park in the Midwest begins its summer season, stretching until Labor Day.
Jiggle Jam Family Fest, kcjigglejam.com
From classical to rock, families can enjoy music from more than a dozen national and local entertainers.
Bank of America Celebration at the Station, kcsymphony.org
Thousands gather at Union Station for this free patriotic musical salute by the Kansas City Symphony, concluding with fireworks over Liberty Memorial.
May 28-June 3
Show Me Pride, gaypridekc.com
Now in its 35th year, the event was named one of the top 10 GLBT festivals in the country by The Advocate.
May 31-June 3
Old Shawnee Days, oldshawneedays.org
A free festival at Shawnee Town—a living history museum that allows visitors to experience a day at a 1920s farm town.
This new two-day, two-night festival in Berkley Riverfront Park will feature national acts and on-site camping.
Festa Italiana, zonarosa.com
This unique celebration of Italian traditions and Italian-American culture showcases food, music and dance.
Scottish Highland Games, kcscottishgames.org
Scottish clans assemble for bag-piping, Highland dancing and Scottish athletics competitions in Riverside.
Crown Center Antique Festival, crowncenter.com
Ranked the #2 antique show in the Midwest by Discover Mid-America, this festival showcases the holdings of 150+ dealers.
June 15-July 19
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, kcshakes.org
The 20th anniversary season features free outdoor performances of Antony and Cleopatra and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
July 6, 13, 20 & 27
Free Friday Night Flicks, crowncenter.com
Bring your blanket, sit under the stars and take in a classic movie on the huge outdoor screen at Crown Center.
MLB All-Star Game FanFest, allstargame.com
MLB FanFest will transform the Kansas City Convention Center into a celebration that captures the thrills and excitement of Major League Baseball—featuring interactive exhibits and seminars, free autograph sessions with Royals legends and Hall of Famers, memorabilia and much more.
MLB All-Star Game, allstargame.com
Kauffman Stadium, affectionately known as “The K,” welcomes the Midsummer Classic for the first time in 39 years.
KC Fringe Festival, kcfringe.org
This citywide festival is packed with live performances—ranging from theatre and dance to film and fashion.
Amelia Earhart Festival, atchisonkansas.net
The aviator’s hometown celebrates her legacy with aviation displays, aerobatic performances and live concerts.
Ethnic Enrichment Festival, eeckc.org
One of the largest of its kind in the Midwest, this festival features food and culture from nearly 50 countries.
Bacon Fest, baconfestkc.com
In its fourth year, Waldo’s Bacon Fest features creative bacon fare, bacon-eating contests, live music and libations.
Aug. 31-Sept. 2
Kansas City Irish Fest, kcirishfest.com
Go green on Labor Day weekend and celebrate KC’s deep Irish roots at one of the nation’s largest Irish festivals.
Aug. 31-Sept. 3
Santa-Cali-Gon Days, santacaligon.com
Independence, Mo., celebrates its trails heritage with this free, four-day street festival.
Sept. 1-Oct. 14 (weekends)
Kansas City Renaissance Festival, kcrenfest.com
A 16th-century English marketplace comes to life for seven weekends amid a beautiful wooded setting.
Art Westport, artwestport.net
KC’s most historic neighborhood is the canvas for this annual art fair, exclusively featuring the work of local artists.
Plaza Art Fair, countryclubplaza.com
The streets of the Country Club Plaza become an outdoor art gallery each September, showcasing magnificent works of art from the nation’s top visual artists.
Sept. 21-Oct. 28
Halloween Haunt, worldsoffun.com
The city’s largest Halloween event features extreme haunts and daytime, scare-free family fun.
Wild West Show & Bullwhacker Days, olatheks.org
Calling all cowboys, mountain men and dance hall gals, step back into the 1860s at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm.
American Royal Livestock, Horse Show and Rodeo, americanroyal.com
One of KC’s most famous traditions—an eight-week festival of rodeos, livestock shows and big-name country concerts.
American Royal Barbecue, americanroyal.com
Nicknamed the “World Series of BBQ,” this competition features more than 500 teams and is the largest barbecue contest on the planet.
Rhythm & Ribs Jazz and Blues Festival, kcrhythmandribs.com
Blending two of Kansas City’s richest traditions, Rhythm & Ribs creates an exciting recipe for family fun with an amateur barbecue competition and national jazz acts.
WaterFire Kansas City, waterfirekc.com
A multi-sensory experience of music, fire and water, this moving art installation features 55 floating bonfires on the Country Club Plaza’s Brush Creek.
Crown Center Ice Terrace Opening, crowncenter.com
Crown Center’s picturesque ice-skating rink opens for the season, which runs through mid-March.
Nov. 17–early January
A Legendary Light Show at Legends Outlets, legendsshopping.com
Every 15 minutes, the sprawling shopping center springs to life with thousands of lights synchronized to concert-quality music.
Northern Lights at Zona Rosa, zonarosa.com
Ornate and colorful, several lighted crowns are suspended above the district’s busy streets, harking back to a 1950s Christmas tradition.
CBE Classic, cbeclassic.com
Named after KC’s award-winning College Basketball Experience, this tournament brings national powerhouses to Sprint Center arena.
Plaza Lights, countryclubplaza.com
The Plaza Lights have been a Kansas City holiday tradition for more than 80 years. Thousands of lights outline the Spanish-influenced architecture of the Country Club Plaza.
Nov. 22-Dec. 31
Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake, jacksongov.org
Thanksgiving night marks the return of this drive-through winter wonderland—featuring 300,000 lights and 200 animated figures.
Nov. 23-Jan. 1
Mayor’s Christmas Tree, crowncenter.com
The 100-foot Mayor’s Christmas Tree is the centerpiece for an illuminating holiday celebration at Crown Center Square.
For more information about these and other things to see and do in Kansas City, go to VisitKC.com.