July 2019 Summer Calendar
Watch Shakespeare fall in love. Although it’s no Globe Theatre, Southmoreland Park makes a wonderful setting for a romantic play. This year’s show is Shakespeare in Love, adapted from the 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow historical fiction film about the Bard’s own love life during the writing of Romeo and Juliet. Festival runs Tuesday–Sunday June 11–July 7 (exluding July 4). Southmoreland Park, 4600 Oak St., Kansas City, Mo. 6 pm. Free. kcshakes.org.
Grab a drink at Percheron, the hip new rooftop bar in the Crossroads. The perfect summer night: sweeping views of the city with a drink in your hand during golden hour. If the craft brews, cocktails and city sights didn’t already convince you to head to Percheron, a new rooftop bar above Crossroads Hotel, the bocce courts will. Percheron Rooftop Bar, 2101 Central St., Kansas City, Mo. crossroadshotelkc.com.
Join the Kansas City Cauldron. Take the family to the pitch to chant “Oh, when the Wiz” and watch Sporting Kansas City take on Los Angeles Football Club. You might even see LAFC owner Will Ferrell, who is known to frequent road games. Children’s Mercy Park, 1 Sporting Way, Kansas City, Kan. 7:30 pm. $31-$277. sportingkc.com.
Celebrate America. Commemorate America’s birthday along Berkley Riverfront at KC Riverfest. Word on the street is that Riverfest has the best Fourth of July fireworks in the metro (maybe even the Midwest), so bring lawn chairs, blankets and plenty of bug spray. Berkley Riverfront, Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 3 pm. $5.
Get your First Friday fix. On the first Friday of every month, the Crossroads Arts District comes alive. Take a walk down Southwest Boulevard, and you’ll find everything from food trucks to avant-garde art and aerial performances. Crossroads Arts District. 5 pm. Free. kccrossroads.org.
Ride Kansas City’s tiniest railroad. In Frank Vaydik Park in the northland, a tiny train runs every Saturday in the summer. The Kansas City Northern Miniature Railroad has three miniature trains, all salvaged from parks and zoos and running on 16-inch track. Saturdays from May to September. Frank Vaydik Park, 6060 N.W. Waukomis Drive, Kansas City, Mo. 10 am–6 pm. Fare is 75 cents. kcnrr.com.
Watch some barrel-rolls at the KC Air Show. The big empty field northeast of downtown? That’s an old airport. For one weekend a year, it’s one of the busiest places in town as this air show brings the Blue Angels and other notable jets to town for two days of world-class air aerobatics. Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, 300 N.W. Richards Road, Kansas City, Mo. 4 pm. $8.50-$30. kcairshow.org.
Play Yard Games
Learn to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It took Disney 50 years to make a sequel to Mary Poppins, but they ended up with a low-key hit with this 2018 film starring Emily Blunt as Poppins opposite Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda. There’s also a return appearance by Dick Van Dyke. Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Lenexa, Kan. 8:30 pm. $1. theatreinthepark.org.
Get your hair dreaded for 311. Thirty years into the group’s career, Omaha act 311 is still together with its original members. The crew keeps coming up with unexpected projects, such as sponsoring a Nascar driver, endorsing a vape pen and releasing a beer with a Nebraska brewery. That scattershot approach to business ventures is echoed in 311’s signature blend of reggae, funk, rap and jamband music. Providence Medical Center Amphitheater, 633 N. 130th St., Bonner Springs, Kan. 5:45 pm. $30.50-$150.50.
Get beyond “Smooth” with Santana. “Smooth” is the No. 1 rock song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Twenty years after the release of 15-time platinum Supernatural, Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas’ vocals are an internet joke, but there’s a serious reappraisal of Latin-jazz guitarist Carlos Santana’s large body of work. Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 7 pm. $47-$173.
Run a foam-filled 5K. The Foam Glow 5K doesn’t even feel like a race. Walkers and runners are encouraged to wear white during this evening event. As they hit checkpoints along the race route, they’re blasted with different colors of glow-in-the-dark foam. Providence Medical Center Amphitheater, 633 N. 130th St., Bonner Springs, Kan. 6 pm. $40. foamglow.com.
Help to maintain beautiful gardens. The Japanese Tea Room and Garden in Loose Park was created in 2006 as a cultural exchange between Kurashaki, Japan, and Kansas City. Monthly on Saturday mornings, the Heart of America Japan-America Society hosts work sessions to assist park staff in cleanup and maintenance of the sacred garden. Monthly on Saturday mornings. Japanese Tea Room and Garden at Loose Park, 5200 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Mo. 10 am. Free. kcjas.org.
Cool off at SnowZoo. In the heat of summer, the Kansas City Zoo provides some relief to its arctic animals. This weekend, zookeepers dump two tons of ice into the polar bear enclosure to cool off Berlin and Bam Bam, and the river otters get to enjoy an ice sculpture made just for them. Kansas City Zoo, 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, Mo. 8 am–5 pm. $16 for adults, $13 for children 3–11, free for children under 2. kansascityzoo.org.
Attend a not-your-average street festival. The most welcoming and entertaining festival is back in Kansas City. Fringe Festival, which originated in Scotland, isn’t your typical street festival: Every performance is chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis. Acts include everything from Beatles cover bands to mind readers to films. The festival will last 14 days and stretch all the way from River North to Westport. Festival runs July 14–28. Times vary. $5. kcfringe.org.
Put your code-cracking skills to use. Nothing keeps you on your toes like a 60-minute timer and determining whether to go with your gut or to make a radical decision. The latest thrilling activity, escape rooms challenge players to solve a series of puzzles and riddles. Leawood’s Breakout KC escape room themes include Y2K, Civil War, Undercover and National Security. Breakout KC, 11535 Ash St., Leawood, Kan. Times vary. $30. breakoutkc.com.
Sway to Snail Mail. Maryland indie rocker Lindsey Jordan records her catchy lo-fi pop songs as Snail Mail. Like fellow traveler Courtney Barnett, Jordan is a 90s-obsessed songwriter beloved by critics — Pitchfork has called her the “future sound of indie rock.” The Granada, 1020 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, Kan. 8 pm. $17. 785-842-139, thegranada.com.
The disappearance of trailblazing aviator Amelia Earhart on a round-the-world flight in 1939 still ranks as one of the all-time great unsolved mysteries.
Maybe it’s the mystery, or maybe it’s her prominent place in aviation history, but curious travelers continue to seek out the stately white house in Atchison where Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897. The house is now a museum, and every year Earhart’s hometown honors her with a three-day festival.
Earhart’s paternal grandfather, David Earhart, was one of two pastors at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (400 S 6th St., Atchison, Kan.), which hosts the unofficial opening to the Amelia Earhart Festival in the form of an ice cream social on Thursday, July 18 from 5–7 pm.
A country music concert kicks off the weekend on Friday, July 19 at Lake Warnock within sight of the Amelia Earhart Earthwork, a landscaped, living portrait by Stan Herd.
Saturday begins with a free pancake breakfast, scavenger hunt and fly-in at the Amelia Earhart Airport, where you can see the only remaining Lockheed Electra L-10 — identical to the one Amelia was flying when she disappeared. The day continues with a symposium at Benedictine College’s O’Malley McAllister Auditorium (1020 N. Second St. Atchison, Kan.), which will feature guests from County Donegal Ireland, where Amelia landed in 1932 in her first transatlantic flight.
Downtown, a crafts festival and carnival draw a crowd. A specially designed Amelia Earhart birthday cake is cut and served to the public at 11 am. While you’re in town, be sure to tour the Friendship Forest, which was built by members of the female pilot organization the Ninety-Nines. The grand finale of the weekend is a fireworks show over the Amelia Earhart Bridge at nightfall Saturday. — Diana Lambdin Meyer
GO: Festival runs Thursday-Saturday. Check visitatchison.com for a complete list of events and updates to the schedule.
Listen to banjos strummin’ at Mid-America Music Festival. A short 90-mile drive north of KC will bring you to the Mid-America Music Festival. The festival, hosted at Black Silo Winery in Trenton, features country, bluegrass, rock and blues artists. Headliners at this year’s event include A Thousand Horses and Sawyer Brown. Black Silo Winery, 4030 E. 10th St., Trenton, Mo. Festival runs 4–10 pm Friday, 2–10 pm Saturday. $49-$75. midamericamusic.com.
Dance like it’s the 21st night of September. “Sing a Song” with Earth, Wind & Fire. As part of the group’s latest national tour, 2054, the five decade-old band is playing at Starlight, and the members’ funk is still at full capacity. Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $40.25-$155.25. kcstarlight.com.
Go to Kansas City’s biggest picnic. This is usually the hottest day of the year in KC, with an average high of 90 degrees and low of 73. Lean into it with this event on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where you can picnic with hundreds of your closest friends. Pack your own basket or grab a plate from a food truck. Kansas City’s Big Picnic, Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park, 4525 Oak St., Kansas City, Mo. 4 pm. Free. kcparks.org.
Ride in a stagecoach. The last working stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe Trail is in Olathe. Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm is a historic site that was once used during the Civil War era to provide meals to coach passengers. Visitors today can ride in a Concord-style coach and see livestock like oxen, sheep and horses. Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm, 1200 E. Kansas City Road, Olathe, Kan. 10 am-4 pm Monday–Saturday, 12–4 pm Sunday. $3 for adults, $2 for children ages 5–11, free for children 4 and under. mahaffie.org.
Watch European football at Arrowhead. Two top European soccer clubs, German powerhouse FC Bayern Munich and Italian squad AC Milan, make a rare American appearance at Arrowhead as part of the International Champions Cup. This year’s tournament has 12 clubs playing matches across the U.S. Arrowhead Stadium, 1 Arrowhead Dr., Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $35-208. chiefs.com.
Witness Matilda’s powers. Matilda’s parents are cruel, as is the headmistress at her school. Her newly discovered psychokinetic powers are giving her a one-up on life, and it’s being portrayed live (and with music!) in Shawnee Mission Park. Show runs July 19–27. Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Lenexa, Kan. 8:30 pm. $8 for adults, $6 for children. theatreinthepark.com.
Listen to feel-good country music. Randy Rogers and his band of six are taking over P&L’s Hot Country Nights. The Randy Rogers Band has nine albums to date in addition to seven singles on the Billboard Hot Country Song charts. The band’s tracks are the type that will make you want to crack a cold one with good friends. Power & Light District, 50 E. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo. 6 pm. Free. powerandlightdistrict.com.
Watch Monarch butterflies while sipping cocktails. During the two-week butterfly festival hosted by Powell Garden, this unique happy hour in the center of the city features cocktails from James Beard-awarded bartender Brock Schulte and the release of migratory Monarch butterflies. While sipping, you’ll learn about Monarchs from a senior gardener. Festival of the Butterflies runs July 26–August 11 at Powell Gardens, 1609 N.W. Highway 50, Kingsville, Mo. Monarch release happy hour is at Monarch Bar, 4808 Roanoke Parkway, Kansas City, Mo. on July 26. 5–7 pm. $35. powellgardens.org
Worship Dio with Tenacious D. Before he was a movie star, Jack Black was part of comedic music duo Tenacious D. Two decades after a successful HBO miniseries and debut album led to a major cinematic flop, the Dio-obsessed acoustic duo continues on. Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo. 8 pm. $45-$99. kcstarlight.com.
Get your kids some baseball cards at the K. Sundays are a great day to take the family to the K, as the Royals offer special family seating packages that come with passes to enjoy the activities in the outfield, including a carousel and batting cages. At this Sunday afternoon matchup against the Cleveland Indians, your ticket also comes with a set of baseball cards. Kauffman Stadium, 1 Royal Way, Kansas City, Mo. 7:15 pm. $19-$124. Sunday family four-pack is $50 and comes with passes for outfield activities. mlb.com/royals.
Hit a local pool.
Buy some plump tomatoes at the Lenexa Farmers Market. Late July is peak fresh veggie season here in the lower Midwest, and this Tuesday is the perfect morning to hit up the Lenexa Farmers Market. At this well-loved local marketplace, everything sold has to come from within 250 miles. Tuesdays from May 28–August 27. Lenexa Civic Campus, 17201 W. 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa, Kan. 9 am–1 pm. lenexa.com/farmersmarket.
Enjoy some weirdball heavy metal tributes. We’re living in the golden age of comedic metal tribute acts, as evidenced by this joint tour featuring Mac Sabbath and Okilly Dokilly. The former parodies Ozzy’s original metal act but while wearing Ronald McDonald, Hamburgler and Grimace costumes. Phoenix-based Okilly Dokilly is a Ned Flanders-themed metalcore band that writes songs comprised of Simpsons references. Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo. 7:30 pm. $23.75. 816-483-1456.