20 Must-Attend Kansas City Summer Festivals
Make your summer brighter by fest-ing to your hearts content.
Eat, drink, listen and watch your way through some of the most diverse, entertaining and exhilarating festivals Kansas City has to offer. Escape the heat or soak up the sun with state of the art culture you can only get in the area.
KC Jazz and Heritage Festival | May 26-28 | website
Lights, camera, jazz. Take part in a festival celebrating all things musical in the world of hip hop, soul and R & B. There will be a jazz brunch with multiple performers and food inside the Jazz Museum. Don’t miss out on all-star panels with cast members from the television series’ Empire and Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.
Festa Italiana | June 2-4 | website
Not only do you get to stuff your face with pasta in the name of culture, but there will be a beer garden, Italian car show and enough entertainment to tide you over while you digest. Zona Rosa is your one-stop shop for this cultural and mouth-watering event.
HEAR Now: The Audio Fiction & Arts Festival | June 8-11 | website
Want to cultivate your appreciation for the arts in a new and interesting way? The HEAR Now festival is just for you. It allows people to experience sketches, poetry and radio plays through their ears alone. Listen up and find what surprises await you.
International Dragon Boat Festival | June 10 | website
Watch contestants boat their way through KC in honor of Chinese culture. There will be music and Chinese delicacies all throughout the Country Club Plaza.
Crown Center Antique Festival | June 10-11 | website
Shop and snack at Crown Center’s 17th Annual Antique Festival. Over 40 vendors with nearly 100 booths will have everything from clever knick knacks to memorable home furnishings. Take your flare for the nostalgic to the next level.
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival | June 13-July 2 | website
This is a festival you can spend some time with. Hit up some classic Shakespearean works made fresh with interpretations by KC actors. Plus, become a supporting cast member of your own by taking performing workshops with renowned directors and writers.
Boulevardia | June 16-17 | website
Grab your tickets to one of the most exclusive beer festivals in the state. Not only will you get an insider’s look into Boulevardia’s brew, but there will be plenty of food trucks and eating contests to soak up your ale indulgences. Throw in crafts and music, and you have a festival for the vacationer in all of us.
Fiesta Kansas City | June 17-19 | website
Say “hola” to a weekend of delicious Hispanic food, drinks and entertainment to die for. The Crown Center Pavilion will have two main stages with latin music and dance. By the end of this three-day celebration, all you’ll crave is a siesta.
Kansas City Dance Festival | June 19-24 | website
Sashay into a festival for the ballerina in us all. This dance festival combines dancers from all over the world with local talent, to bring shows, classes and an open forum with dancer meet-and-greet to KC crowds.
KC Nanobrew Fest | June 24 | website
Yearn to learn about the process behind the pale ale? The KC Nanobrew fest gives you an all-access pass to independent brewing in the area. Near Berkley Riverfront Park, the festival exposes each participant to all kinds of local beer and the stories behind them.
Westport Beer Festival | June 24 | website
Drink for a purpose. Other than a good time, that is. The Westport Beer Festival not only allows you to try every craft beer under the sun, but ticket sales help benefit the AIDS Walk Kansas City. Over 80 beers to try, from 35 breweries, and countless dollars towards a good cause? We’ll have another round.
Maker Faire | June 24-25 | website
Glimpse into the inner workings of artists across the metro. This festival is touted as “the greatest show and tell on Earth” with crafts, inventions, experiments and art on display to analyze and appreciate. Engineers, scientists, crafters, and lovers of all of the above, unite!
KC Riverfest | July 4 | website
Prepare your senses for the largest fireworks show in the Midwest! Feel patriotic with music, a variety of food trucks and beautiful views of the Missouri River. Stylish stars and stripes outfit is a must!
Kansas City Fringe Festival | July 20-30 | website
Get a unique taste of all the theatric talent Kansas City has to offer. The Fringe Festival provides an opportunity for artists in the performing, visual and filmic arts to strut their stuff on a main stage. These artists may be on the “fringe” of mainstream, but the only outsiders will be those who don’t experience their work this July.
Heart of America Hot Dog Festival | August 12 | website
Nothing bonds like sharing a few franks with your friends and family. This festival pays tribute to, you guessed it, hot dogs along with drinks, musical entertainment and culture at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Kansas City Improv Festival | August 17-20 & August 24-27 | website
Lovers of comedy, rejoice! The KC Improv Festival is one of the longest-running comedy fests in the country and is perfect for seasoned comedians, aspiring comics and lovers of all things hilarious. Enjoy workshops, shows and entertainment from special guests, which in the past have included KC’s very own Jason Sudeikis.
Kansas City Irish Fest | September 1-3 | website
Being pinched, kissed or celebrated for being Irish isn’t only for March. With Irishfest, you’ll be lucky all weekend long. Enjoy Irish song and dance, comedy and over 20 shops filled with Irish heritage pieces. Plus, you can’t forget the corned beef and cabbage and a pint of your favorite green beer to top off the evening.
KC Beer Fest | September 9 | website
Visit a beer festival in the center of the action. Located in the Power & Light District, this festival includes over 200 craft beers, food vendors, live music. Not to mention, that some of the proceeds benefit local KC charities. Drink a little, help a lot.
Kansas City Chalk and Walk Festival | September 10-11 | website
Kansas City is your playground. Literally. Grab a square of asphalt near Crown Center, some chalk or paint and go to town with self expression. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can draw or see with various street performers and food surrounded by the art of our community.
Universal Film Festival | September 28-30 | website
Wind down your summer adventures with a peek into independent film from across North America. Screen work from up and coming filmmakers and be the first to catch a glimpse of, perhaps, the next Spielberg or Scorsese.
Now that your summer festival schedule is mapped out, what new sights and sounds will you be experiencing? What beer fest best fits your personality?
Check out the latest and greatest your hometown has to offer.