2021 Annual Events in Kansas City

Annual Events in Kansas City

From craft beer festivals to holiday lightings and everything in between, mark your calendar with some of Kansas City's largest and most unique happenings on tap for the year.

January | February | MarchAprilMay | JuneJuly | August | September | October | November | December 
Click on one of the months to jump to the section.


Every Month

First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District

First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District

No First Friday is the same thanks to an eclectic mix of art galleries, boutiques, food trucks and more. This free, late-night event offers something for everyone in one of Downtown’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

 

First Weekends in the West Bottoms

Once home to Kansas City’s thriving stockyards, the West Bottoms now offers to a wide assortment of antique and vintage stores that invite visitors to search for kitschy-cool artifacts the first weekend of every month.

JANUARY

La Bodega

Kansas City Restaurant Week - Jan. 13-22, 2023

Dine well and do good during this 10-day, two-weekend event that highlights hundreds of the hottest restaurants in the city, each featuring special multi-course menus with portions of the proceeds benefitting area charities.

MARCH

Big 12 Basketball in Kansas city

Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championships - March 8-11, 2023

The road to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship goes through Kansas City as Big 12 teams battle for conference supremacy. Between games, celebrate the history of hoops—and indulge your inner athlete—at the adjacent College Basketball Experience.

 

Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championships - March 9-12, 2023

The Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship returns to Kansas City as Conference teams battle for the coveted title. 

 

Snake Saturday Parade & Family Fun Festival - March 11, 2023

Usually a March event, his Northland tradition is a popular part of the St. Patrick’s Day season in Kansas City. Entertainment for all ages abounds throughout North Kansas City, starting with a parade and ending in a carnival.

 

Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade - March 17, 2023

One of the country’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades features hundreds of floats proceeding through Midtown, ending in Westport, where the Celtic-themed revelry continues into the wee hours.

Planet Comicon

Planet Comicon - March 17-19, 2023

Celebrate 20 years of superheroes, pop culture and more at KC’s largest and longest-running comic book convention and pop culture expo, featuring the best in comic books, fantasy, science fiction television and movies. 

Kansas City FilmFest International - March 26-29, 2023

Grab your popcorn and enjoy more than 100 local, regional, national and international films during this annual juried film festival.

 

April

Mamba | Worlds of Fun

Worlds of Fun Season Opening - April 8, 2023

KC's popular amusement park opens for the summer with some of the region’s most thrilling rides.

 

Fountain Day - April 14, 2023

Every year in early April the city celebrates Greater Kansas City Fountain Day, when all 48 publicly-operated fountains spring back to life. This day represents a great source of pride for the comfort, energy and urban vitality they provide.

 

Gatsby Days - April 29, 2023

Held in Excelsior Springs, this event explores the culture, glamour and history of the Roaring ‘20s with street artists, live demonstrations, music, vintage cars, fashion and more.

 

MAY

Harry's Hay Days

Harry's Hay Days - May 5-6, 2023

The City of Grandview celebrates its Harry S. Truman legacy each year with Harry's Hay Days, complete with a parade, food and drink vendors, arts and crafts, live music, and a beer garden.

 

Brookside Art Annual - May 5-7, 2023

The Kansas City art festival season kicks off with the Brookside Art Annual, when the tree-lined streets of charming Brookside transform into al fresco gallery spaces, plus tasty treats and live music.

NASCAR at Kansas Speedway

NASCAR at Kansas Speedway - May 7, 2023

Head to Kansas Speedway for fast-paced NASCAR action—plus, with two weekends each year, fans get a double dose of high-octane fun.

 

Turkey Creek Festival - May 20, 2023

This all-day event in Merriam, KS, includes everything from a pancake breakfast and a 5K to live music and a Kid Zone at the picturesque Antioch Park.

 

Kansas City Triathlon - May 21, 2023

KC's premier triathlon event kicks off the summer season at Longview Lake. Options include Olympic, Sprint and Relay distance options as well as a duathlon.

 

Oceans of Fun Season Opening - May 27, 2023

The largest outdoor water park in the Midwest begins its summer season, stretching until Labor Day.

Celebration at the Station

Celebration at the Station - May 28, 2023

Start your summer with the largest free Memorial Day weekend event in the Midwest. Against the majestic backdrop of Union Station, the Kansas City Symphony performs patriotic favorites with appearances from special guests, followed by fireworks to end the evening.

 

June

Old Shawnee Days

Old Shawnee Days - June 1-4, 2023

Past meets present during this four-day event that celebrates the history of Shawnee, KS, with attractions including rides, music, games, historical reenactments and crafts.

 

Jazzoo - June 2, 2023

Creative black-tie attire makes for an unlimited number of fashionable photo ops in this annual fundraiser at the Kansas City Zoo. Funds raised support the Zoo Learning Fund and help buy food for animals.

 

Festa Italiana - June 2-4, 2023

Eat and drink your way through Italy—no passport required! Italian culture takes center stage in this event at Zona Rosa, which includes food, a beer garden, a car show and novelty booths.

 

Hospital Hill Run - June 3, 2023

Featuring half-marathon, 5k and 10k distances, this Kansas City running tradition benefits Children's Mercy Hospital. Do you have what it takes to challenge "the thrill of the hill"? 

 

Vaile Strawberry Festival - June 3, 2023

The beautiful, historic Vaile Mansion hosts this annual event, which welcomes craft and antique dealers who set up their wares throughout the mansion—and, of course, strawberry treats as you shop.

Two women embracing each other on the lawn for KC Pride festival.

KC Pride - June 9-11, 2023

See why The Advocate named KC Pride one of the top 10 LGBTQ festivals in the nation. Throughout the weekend event, celebrate inclusion, diversity and pride with live music and performances from local and national headliners.

 

Future Stages Festival - June 11, 2023

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts presents a free weekend of compelling performances, engaging youth-friendly activities and one-of-a-kind entertainment. 

 

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival - June 13-July 2, 2023

To festival, or not to festival? At the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, that’s not even a question. Each year, the free festival features performances of a different Shakespearean masterpiece.

Boulevardia

Boulevardia - June 16-17, 2023

Crown Center transforms into an all-senses destination during this favorite festival hosted by Boulevard Brewing Co., complete with food trucks, concerts, maker booths, a family carnival and, of course, beer stations that offer local, regional and national craft brews.

 

Q BBQ Fest Kansas City - June 23-24, 2023

Pitmasters from across the country gather at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium for this family-friendly festival. Featuring free admission for all, individual pitmasters offer barbecue dishes for sale. The event also features live music, beer, VIP experiences and more.

 

Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle - June 23-24, 2023

Started in 1982, this Sunflower State competition attracts barbecue teams and cooks from all over the country to compete for the coveted title of Grand Champion of the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle, The Kansas State Championship. 

 

WaterFest - June 23-24, 2023

Waterfest is a fun-filled, family friendly event that is the largest annual festival in nearby Excelsior Springs, MO. Activities include live music, fireworks, a car show and other homespun traditions. 

 

July

WeekEnder at Crown Center

WeekEnder - July 7-28, 2023

Cap off your work week with this free event featuring top local bands and favorite food trucks. Then, finish the evening with a famous flick under the stars at Crown Center Square.

 

Jazz Walk of Fame - July 8, 2023

Pay tribute to Kansas City’s iconic sound in this event that honors jazz artists by immortalizing their names in 30-inch bronze medallions embedded in the sidewalks on 18th Street in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District.

 

KC Fringe Festival - July 14-30, 2023

There’s no better time to celebrate Kansas City’s vibrant creativity than during this 14-day showcase of local performing and visual arts.

 

Festival of Butterflies - July 19-Aug. 6, 2023

This perennial favorite at Powell Gardens. Step into the magical world of butterflies and enjoy opportunities to learn more about the fluttering creatures.

 

Amelia Earhart Festival - July 21-22, 2023

Head to Atchison, KS, Amelia Earhart’s birthplace, for an annual celebration of the aviation icon packed with events, including live music, carnival rides, a food and crafts fair, aerobatic performances and the grand finale: a Concert in the Sky fireworks show.

Grand Carnivale at Worlds of Fun

Grand Carnivale - July 22-Aug. 6, 2023

An immersive new summer experience that invites visitors to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes from cultures around the globe, including India, China, Italy, France and Germany—all, fittingly, at Worlds of Fun.

 

KC RiverFest - TBA

Celebrate July Fourth in this festival at Berkley Riverfront Park, which begins with live music, activities and food and concludes with one of the largest fireworks shows in the Midwest.

 

AUGUST

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Heart of America Hot Dog Festival - Aug. 5, 2023

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum welcomes hot dog aficionados to sample delicious ballpark franks, including the signature Kansas City Monarch Dog, plus live music and admission to the museum.

 

Innovation Festival - Aug. 5, 2023

Music and innovation collide at Crown Center Square. Enjoy live music, explore the area's biologics leadership and sample the latest creations from a selection of regional breweries.

 

Ethnic Enrichment Festival - Aug. 18-20, 2023

KC’s diverse cultures unite at this weekend extravaganza that includes food, dancing and music representing dozens of countries, as well as several ethnic groups recognized by Ethnic Enrichment Committee.

 

Parkville Days - Aug. 18-20, 2023

The quaint riverfront community of Parkville, MO, celebrates its history and future with this annual family friendly festival, featuring crafts, carnival favorites and more. 

KC Air Show

KC Airshow - Aug. 19-20, 2023

Taking flight on Fourth of July weekend, this air spectacular in New Century, KS, features an annual lineup of star-studded aerialists, exhibits and other experiences. 

 

Spotlight Charlie Parker - Aug. 19-26, 2023

Pay tribute to KC native Charlie Parker, one of the finest and most influential jazz musicians to ever play, at this eight-day event that features live music, public programs and more.

 

SEPTEMBER

Kansas City Irish Fest

Kansas City Irish Fest - Sept. 1-3, 2023

Celebrate KC’s Celtic heritage with three days of live music, special performances, locally provided libations, activities for young ones, tastings and plenty more in this beloved Crown Center bash. 

Santa-Cali-Gon Days

Santa-Cali-Gon Days - Sept. 1-4, 2023

This Independence festival commemorates the origin of the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails during westward expansion. Browse more than 500 artisan, craft, food and commercial vendor booths, as well as a carnival, a 5K and more.

 

Kansas City Renaissance Festival - Sept. 2-Oct. 15, 2023

Step back in time at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, a medieval-themed village home to jousting knights, thrill-seeking acrobats and beautiful maidens.

 

Dancefestopia - Sept. 4-10, 2023

Nestled in rolling hills, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest and pristine lake water, Dancefestopia has become one of the largest camping and music festivals in the nation, featuring some of the most prominent DJs in the world.

 

Art Westport - Sept. 8-10, 2023

Local artists gather in KC’s oldest neighborhood for Art Westport, a weekend fair that showcases original art, jewelry, fine crafts and more.

 

NASCAR at Kansas Speedway - Sept. 8-10, 2023

Head to Kansas Speedway for fast-paced NASCAR action—plus, with two weekends each year, fans get a double dose of high-octane fun.

 

Jesse James Festival - Sept. 8-9 & 15-17, 2023

As the birthplace of the notorious outlaw, Kearney, MO, goes all out every September with a multi-day event featuring a parade, carnival, fishing tournament and more.

 

Fiesta Hispana - Sept. 15-17, 2023

Sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, this festival celebrates Hispanic culture which features great music, food, dancing and exhibits.

Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun

Halloween Haunt - Sept. 15-Oct. 28, 2023

Ghosts, ghouls and other creatures of the night roam freely through Worlds of Fun during Halloween Haunt, which showcases the scarier side of the amusement park.

 

Camp Leavenworth - Sept. 22-23, 2023

Celebrating the people of Leavenworth, KS, this free street festival features two days of national music acts, fireworks, food trucks and more.

Plaza Art Fair

Plaza Art Fair - Sept. 22-24, 2023

This nationally recognized, nine-block art event at the Country Club Plaza typically draws crowds of more than 250,000 who gather for art, live music and food and drinks from a variety of KC restaurants.

 

Deaf Cultural Festival - Sept. 23, 2023

Visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for a celebration of Deaf culture – a festival honoring the rich history of Deaf art, identity, and empowerment. Encounter and learn about American Sign Language through hands-on art activities and live entertainment from distinctly Deaf perspectives.

 

Louisburg Ciderfest - Sept. 23-24 & Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2023

Head to Louisburg Cider Mill for the annual Ciderfest, where guests are invited to watch how apples are pressed into cider, sample cider donuts and other treats, plus live music and activities for young ones.

American Royal World Series of Barbecue

American Royal World Series of Barbecue - Sept. 27-Oct. 1, 2023

The world’s largest barbecue competition includes live performances, a festival full of entertainment and plenty other activities, making it one of fall’s signature events.

 

OCTOBER

American Royal Livestock Show - Oct. 4-22, 2023

With roots dating back to 1899 and boasting a reputation as one of the toughest competitions, this iconic event draws thousands of owners, breeders, future business/agriculture leaders and animal enthusiasts from across the country.

KC Oktoberfest

KC Oktoberfest - Oct. 6-7, 2023

Head to Crown Center to experience a two-day celebration of KC Bier Co. craft brews, traditional European food, engaging games, activities and Bavarian-style entertainment.

 

Latino Arts Festival - Oct. 7, 2023

Local singers, artists, dancers, poets and others take center stage at this quickly growing regional celebration of Latino culture and creativity. 

 

Weston Applefest - Oct. 7-8, 2023

Explore historic Weston, MO, as arts and crafts booths line Main Street, touting a tempting range of apple delicacies, from dumplings and pies to cookies, all made by members of local churches. 

 

Missouri Town 1855 Festival of Arts, Crafts and Music - Oct. 7-8, 2023

Enjoy wagon rides, reenactments, crafts and more in this annual festival that takes place at Missouri Town 1855, where guests can travel back in time to experience life in the 1850s.

 

Brew at the Zoo and Wine Too - Oct. 14, 2023

Enjoy an evening of live music, delicious bites and a variety of beer and wine from local breweries and vineyards.

KC Marathon 2021

Garmin Kansas City Marathon - Oct. 21, 2023

Featuring several distances, the Marathon is the area's largest and most exciting annual race event, taking runners on a tour through the coolest neighborhoods and past some of KC's most iconic landmarks, including the National WWI Museum & Memorial, the Country Club Plaza, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and more.

 

Boo at the Zoo - Oct. 28-29, 2023

Break out your best costume and spend the day trick or treating at the Kansas City Zoo. Kids will also love the Halloween-themed activities that offer plenty of treats—no tricks here!

 

 

NOVEMBER & DECEMBER

Crown Center | Ice Terrace

Crown Center Ice Terrace Opening - Nov. 3, 2023

The Crown Center Ice Terrace is a favorite family destination during the winter months thanks to the outdoor skating rink that offers fantastic, festive views.

 

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) - Nov. 5, 2023

A lively festival celebrating Mexican art and culture, including an altar installation, features art activities, live music entertainment and Mexican food. A fall tradition for many families.

 

Legendary Tree Lighting at Legends Outlets - Nov. 11, 2023

Fans of holiday lights and music will love this show at Legends Outlets, where the outdoor outlet mall dazzles with dancing lights synchronized to holiday music every 15 minutes.

 

Holiday Boutique - Nov. 16-19, 2023

The Overland Park Convention Center becomes a winter wonderland of merry shopping and gift-giving. Browse hundreds of vendors and cross off everyone on your list.

 

Evergy Festival of Lights - Nov. 16-Dec. 30, 2023

More than 20 miles of holiday lights comprise installations that highlight the natural forms of Powell Gardens’ tree collection, show off the exceptional architecture and landscape design of the gardens, and with Instagram and holiday card-worthy photo stops along the way.

A Christmas Carol at KC Rep

KC Rep presents A Christmas CarolNov. 21-Dec. 24, 2023

Even Ebenezer Scrooge would appreciate the holiday spectacular at Spencer Theatre, a metro tradition for more than 40 years. 

 

National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Weekend - Nov. 22-23, 2023

Hosted by The College Basketball Hall of Fame, this tournament at T-Mobile Center kicks off a new season of collegiate basketball competition. On the same weekend, six to eight basketball players and coaches from around the country are inducted in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame each year.

Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake

Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake - Nov. 22-Dec. 31, 2023

Gather the whole family and head to Longview Park & Lake for this drive-through holiday pastime that touts colorful displays conjured up by more than 300,000 lights.

Country Club Plaza | Plaza Lights

Evergy Plaza Lighting Ceremony - Nov. 23, 2023

Timeless in every way imaginable, the Plaza Lights are a quintessential KC holiday tradition—and a delightful reminder of the Spanish-inspired Plaza’s undeniable beauty.

 

Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting - Nov. 24, 2023-Jan. 2, 2024

Crown Center’s magnificent centerpiece towers more than 100 feet high and is illuminated by more than 7,200 white bulbs, proving it a proud showcase of Kansas City’s seasonal spirit.

 

The Nutcracker - Dec. 1-24, 2023

Performed by the Kansas City Ballet, this iconic, long-running show is a veritable holiday favorite in the Kansas City region.

 

Northern Lights at Zona Rosa - TBA

The spirit of a 1950s Downtown Kansas City tradition lives on as several lighted crowns are suspended over the streets of Zona Rosa, plus the official arrival of the holiday Fairy Princess and Santa Claus.

 

City Lights - TBA

Several Downtown buildings light up the winter skyline, with the notable centerpiece being the front façade of the 22-story Marriott Downtown, featuring a synchronized display of 30,000 bulbs and 16.7 million colors.