Labor Day Fun in K.C.

Irish Fest kicks off the Labor Day weekend.

Hip, hip, hooray, it’s a three-day weekend! And it’s the last three-day weekend for a while so you’re not going to want to waste a minute of those 72 hours.


First up on the list is the Irish Fest that starts this Friday, August 31 and runs through Monday, September 3 at Crown Center. This festival is a doozy with thirty bands, beer and whiskey and that’s just the tip of the Blarney Stone.

Irish Fest expert Jenny Smith has these hacks for having the most fun at the fest.

– Download the Kansas City Irish Fest app! Play the Irish Fest Quest where you can win incredible prizes and VIP experiences. You can also build your own personal fest itinerary with entertainment schedules and reminders for food, shopping and more! The app also features an interactive map for navigating the festival as well as a “fest cam” so you can snap and share all of your #KCIF2018 photos via email and social media.

– This is the last year that The Elders will play the Kansas City Irish Fest. Be sure to check out one of their two performances throughout the weekend on Friday at 9:30 p.m. or on Sunday at 9:00 p.m.

– Stop by the genealogy area inside the Crown Center atrium and let the genealogy experts get to work on your family tree.

– Check out the children’s area! The KCIF Kids’ Club has everything from crafts to bingo, piñatas, play areas, a children’s stage with storytelling, music and dancing, contests and more.

-Take part in special experiences! Irish Fest is great on its own, but there are several add-on options to enhance your festival experience including comedy shows, whiskey tastings and more.

-Treat yourself to the Irish Sunday Brunch! Your ticket includes your festival admission, an Irish breakfast and an open bar with plenty of beer, an Irish Coffee bar and a Bloody Mary bar. Renowned Irish chef Shaun Brady will prepare a traditional Irish breakfast (with some KC flavor) using locally-sourced ingredients. 


If you’re taking your  children to the Irish Fest on September 1, before or after that good time, walk across the street to Union Station for kidFEST. Science City is pulling out all the stops for a “hands-on learning day for young explorers.” This year’s theme is “Messy Learning” with loads of slime and splatter and activities that include building dirt cities, fizzy mud play and walking on eggs.


For almost fifty years Independence has been celebrating the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails with a SantaCaliGon Days Festival (try saying that three times fast.) This Labor Day weekend event attracts a huge crowd, because who doesn’t love a root beer chugging contest? Besides the root beer, there’s the “Main Street 1849 Experience” (with a blacksmith and other historical reenactments), carnival rides, food, arts & crafts, and loads of antique vehicles.


Who wants to go to the Game of Thrones K.C. edition? Okay, maybe the only things the Kansas City Renaissance Festival has in common with Game of Thrones are dragons, knights and royalty, but isn’t that enough? Here’s a festival where you can travel back in time (fantasy edition) and stuff your face with amazing barbecue while enjoying loads of royal shenanigans and a joust or two.


On Friday, relax after a long day of festival hopping by sitting under the stars and watching a movie. Flicks on the Bricks at City Market features a movie, food and even a cash bar.


If you want to get a little fancy this Labor Day weekend the Fontaine is hosting a Kansas City Fashion Week Kick-Off Pool Party on September 1 from 12-6 p.m. There will be a “fashion forward” swimwear presentation from KCFW designers and guests will enjoy access to the rooftop pool, two drink tickets and food from Parker at the Fontaine. Early bird tickets are just $25.


Who doesn’t love a birthday party? The Lenexa Public Market is celebrating their first birthday party on September 1 from noon to 9:00 p.m. There will be cakes and cupcakes, outdoor games, food and drink specials and live music. Be sure to try the birthday cake batter NitroCream while you’re there.


Sadly, this is the last hurrah for the local pools and waterparks. Most pools are closing down for nine long months starting Monday evening at 6 p.m. We suggest taking the time for one last jump off the high dive or water slide.