Peanuts and Cracker Jack at the ol’ ballgame. Leggy models in hot pants strutting an urban catwalk. Juicy hothouse tomatoes you can eat like a peach. Dragons and dinosaurs and butterflies! This is the stuff summer dreams are made of.
Hot Town, Summer in the City
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Bloch Building Opening
June 9-10 Those perplexing modern structures next door to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak) are finally ready for their unveiling. The opening of the Bloch Building, designed by architect Steven Holl, is one of the most exciting art events this year — and not just in Kansas City. Time magazine ranked it the most anticipated building of 2007. We’ve been told that when famed celebrity-photographer Annie Leibovitz came to Rainy Day Books for an evening signing, an avid fan and museum employee finagled a supersecret sneak peek of the building just for her — and she loved the place! The gallery invites everyone to two days of free admission at its official public opening on Saturday, June 9, and Sunday, June 10, beginning with a brief building dedication at 10 a.m. Saturday. For parking, shuttle and exhibit info, see www.nelson-atkins.org.
Dragon Boat Festival
Anthropologists believe that the Far East tradition of racing lithe, wooden paddle boats was born more than 2,500 years ago on rivers in southern China. The Plaza’s Brush Creek has been the site of dragon boat races for just three years, but you have to start somewhere, right? Enjoy other delights from Asia, such as traditional Chinese music and dance, at this free festival from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 9. See www.kcmo.org for more information.
KSHB Channel 41 weatherman Gary Lezak and his trusty pups, Stormy and Breezy, are the celebrity masters of ceremony for Dog-N-Jog, a June 10 race to benefit the Humane Society. Beginning on the Plaza, the two-mile run and walk begins at 8 a.m., with a one-mile version starting at 9 a.m. Call 913-596-1000 or see www.hsgkc.org/dognjogpage.html.
18th Street Fashion Show:
A Summer Wonderland
You’d be one Mad Hatter to miss this chic and sexy block party, now in its seventh year. Sixteen local designers — some of whom have threads featured in style bibles such as Nylon, Women’s Wear Daily and Glamour — parade their handiwork down a 100-foot runway populated by hot models and local celebrities. Last year’s show boasted 1,000 people along the stretch of 18th Street between Baltimore and Wyandotte, and this year the event producers, who are also owners of Crossroads boutiques Spool and Birdies Panties, expect an even bigger turnout. The show begins at dusk on Saturday, June 16, and admission is free. (VIP tickets are available for $20.) See www.west eighteenthstreet.com.
Bike-A-Thon for Medical Missions Family Bike Ride at the Kansas Speedway
Luckily for bike hounds, there won’t be any race cars revvin’ their engines on the Kansas Speedway when they take to the NASCAR track for the World Indigenous Mission Health Care Ministries’ charity bike ride. On Saturday, June 23, for a minimum pledge of $25 per rider, bicyclists have the option of circling the Speedway or a 20-mile perimeter of Wyandotte County Lake. Prizes are awarded for those who raise the most dough, and all donations are tax-deductible. The ride begins at 5 p.m.; see www.wimbikeathon.org for more information.
Crown Center Antique Festival
More than 150 dealers are on hand to sell fine china, old and rare books, collectible toys and other antiques at this free event at Crown Center Square (2450 Grand) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 23, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 24. See if that garish, giant porcelain howler monkey from Great-Great-Uncle Claude is actually worth something when the atrium inside the shopping center turns into Kansas City’s own little Antiques Roadshow. Experts offer free appraisals from noon to 4 Sunday. (They request that each person bring only one item.) Call 816-274-8444 or see www.crowncenter.com/AboutUs-Antique/Index.htm.
Kansas City Urban Farms Tour
Food. We all need it. But most of us don’t know how it gets out of the ground and onto our plates. The Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture hopes to remedy this with a tour of 11 farms right here in the metro. The event, which runs from noon to 5 on Saturday, June 24, also includes music and activities for the kiddies — along with, of course, fruits and veggies for sale, all grown in the city. Tickets cost $5 a person or $12 for a family of three or more; get them at city markets around town. See www.kccua.org for farm locations.
Dinosaurs at Powell Gardens
In Jurassic Park, tycoon John Hammond populates a theme park with real-life dino clones. Then, the bellowing, short-armed T. Rex and his crafty raptor cohorts get out of their cages and all hell breaks loose. Luckily, the folks at Powell Gardens (1609 Northwest U.S. Highway 50) know better than to mess with the real thing. Instead, they employ lifeless but convincing replicas, including a 33-foot-tall daspletosaur tyrannosaur and Missouri’s own state ‘saur, the 30-foot duck-billed hadrosaur. The exhibit, which runs from June 27 through October 7, also showcases fossils, prehistoric plants, and kid-friendly performances, including a show from puppetman Paul Mesner (July 7). See the dinosaur exhibit with paid admission to Powell Gardens. Find details at www.powellgardens.org.
Freaks come out for the third-annual KC Fringe Festival, a four-day fête of artsy subversiveness July 26-29. Fringers rove several galleries and clubs around the Crossroads to look at live theater, visual art, puppetry, fashion and burlesque. To find out who’s slated to appear, check the fest’s Web site, www.kcfringe.org.
Festival of Butterflies
The butterfly is an elusive little flutter bug. Kids can’t help but want to capture and hold something so beautiful, but in the wild, that’s pretty difficult. Powell Gardens makes getting closer to butterflies a lot easier at its annual Festival of Butterflies, unleashing hundreds of the creatures in a free-flight conservatory. Squirts can catch and release and then learn how to grow a garden of their own that will attract the gorgeous little suckers. The festival runs August 10-12 and 17-19. Admission costs $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $3 for children ages 5-12. See www.powellgardens.org for more information.
Longview Horse Park Association Benefit Horse Show
Pity the kid whose parents never bought her a pony. Live the dream through equestrians who show off more than 26 classes of horses at the Eighth-Annual Horse Show at Longview Horse Park (12600 Old Raytown Road). The event begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, August 25. Admission is $3; kids 12 and younger get in free. Call 816-537-6855.
Koalas at the Kansas City Zoo, Through Labor Day Weekend
Get your cute fix at the Kansas City Zoo when these furry little marsupial sweetie pies spend their summer at the zoo’s Discovery Barn. Miimi and Nariah are on loan from the San Diego Zoo through Labor Day weekend. You probably won’t catch them wearing overalls and backward ball caps, but they’ll be adorable enough au naturel. See the zoo’s Web site, www.kansascityzoo.org, or call 816-513-5700 for admission and information on other special events.
The Loco Motion
Kansas City Roller Warriors
The girls’ fast-paced matches turn Hale Arena (1701 American Royal Court) into a house of pain. Advance tickets cost $13 for adults or $6.50 for kids; you can buy ’em at the door for $16 or $8.50. Saturday bouts are scheduled at 7 p.m. on June 16, July 14, August 11 and September 15. For more information or to purchase tickets, see www.kcrollerwarriors.com.
Kansas City Royals
Our boys in blue aren’t exactly winners, but we support them. And who knows, maybe someday they’ll turn around, just like the Cleveland Indians did in the Charlie Sheen vehicle and second-best baseball movie ever, Major League. Come out to Kauffman Stadium (Interstate 70 and Blue Ridge Cutoff) on special promotional nights such as “A Salute to the Negro Leagues Celebration,” at which the first 20,000 fans get commemorative Buck O’Neil Monarchs cap (July 1), or the July 24 T-Shirt Tuesday, when the Royals try to best the hated Yankees and the first 20,000 patrons score a sweet powder-blue Royals shirt. Check out kansascityroyals.com.
Kansas City T-Bones
When you go to a T-Bones game at CommunityAmerica Ballpark (1800 Village West Parkway), you see ballplayers who play for the love of the game, not because they’re after a fat paycheck. Like their big-league brothers the Royals, the ‘Bones offer special promotions in appreciation of their fans, including Thunderstick Giveaway Day (June 21) and Elvis Night (August 17). See www.tbonesbase ball.com.
Kansas City Wizards
Real Madrid superstar David Beckham rocked the soccer world when he announced that he was moving across the pond to kick for the Galaxy, Los Angeles’ Major League Soccer team, starting July 1. Posh Spice’s hubby won’t show his pretty mug at Arrowhead Stadium (1 Arrowhead Drive) until the Galaxy faces the Wiz on September 27, but don’t let that be the first time you support our team. See kc.wizards.mlsnet.com.
Brookside Farmers’ Market
Located at Border Star Montessori School (63rd Street and Wornall), this neighborhood market sells organic produce and hormone-free meats, as well as handcrafted soaps. Open 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through October 13. See www.farmerscommunitymarket.com.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the City Market (Fifth Street and Walnut). It’s a bustling weekend destination where vendors sell a wide array of goods, such as fresh flowers, artisan breads and baby bunnies. But it’s also a viable outdoor music venue with high-profile bands scheduled to perform this summer — check out Incubus on July 20. The market’s open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays, 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays through November. Check www.thecitymarket.org.
Independence Farmers’ Market
Located on Truman Road between Main and Liberty, the Independence market sells crafts, fruits, meats and veggies. Open from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Wednesdays. Call 816-588-8370.
KC Organics and Natural Market
Fair-trade coffee, edible flowers and chef demonstrations abound at this market in Minor Park (111th Street and Red Bridge Road), which is open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays through October 13. www.kcorganics.com.
Lawrence Farmers’ Market
This is the oldest farmers’ market in Kansas, with vendors selling handicrafts and produce in three locations. The market at 1020 Vermont is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; the 925 Iowa location runs the same hours on Wednesday; and at 824 New Hampshire, a Saturday market is open from 7 to 11 a.m. See www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/M9389.
Liberty Farmers’ Market
The market in Liberty lets vendors sell their wares on two days in two locations. On Wednesdays, the market’s at Crowley’s Furniture (the northwest corner of highways 291 and 152). On Saturdays, vendors set up in Liberty Square downtown. Both markets are open from 7 a.m. to noon or until all the produce is sold. See www.libertyfarmersmarket.com.
Overland Park Farmers’ Market
Located behind the clock tower in quaint downtown Overland Park (Santa Fe between 79th and 80th streets), this market also hosts a free concert series, with local jazz, blues and acoustic acts serenading you as you shop. The market opens at 7:30 a.m. Wednesdays and 6:30 a.m. Saturdays and stays open until sellout. Call 913-642-2222.
Parkville Farmers’ Market
At Parkville’s scenic English Landing Park (First Street and Main), growers sell their plants and produce through October from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and from 6 a.m. until sellout Saturdays. Call 816-505-2227.
Shawnee Farmers’ Market
In the parking lot of Shawnee City Hall (1111 Johnson Drive), vendors sell their breads and crafts from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays through October. Call 913-631-2500.
Zona Rosa Farmers’ Market
Until September 24, pick up fresh produce and crafts at the Zona Rosa shopping strip (Interstate 29 and Barry Road) from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays. See www.zonarosa.com.
In the Midnight Hour
Here in Kansas City, we’re fortunate to have three places to catch flicks from the comfort of our old man’s Buick. At the drive-in, you get more cinematic action for your buck. Admission to double-features costs $7. Also, it’s a lot less tacky to make out in the privacy of your own ride than in the megaplex, so Suzy won’t be so shy when you want to go to second.
The I-70 Drive-In
8701 East New 40 Highway
1320 North 291 and Kentucky Road, Independence, 816-257-2234
1051 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, Kansas, 913-262-0392
It opened in 1950, but owner and operator Wes Neal brought some modern flair to the kitschy artifact by installing digital sound. Customers can even check movie listings on their cell phones. Convenient!
I Can See for Miles and Miles
There’s something so Euro about the patio. It’s so Roman Holiday. Friends and lovers linger over drinks on wrought-iron furniture, maybe discussing politics or making fun of the guy in the mesh shirt crossing the street. Maybe we don’t get to sip wine in an outdoor café in front of the Colosseum, as Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck did, but the city has several choice locales to get our alfresco on.
For a panoramic view of downtown:
John’s Big Deck, 928 Wyandotte
Club NV, 220 Admiral Boulevard
The View, 204 Orchard, Kansas City, Kansas 913-281-0833
The metro’s oldest gay bar also boasts an incredible view of the other downtown Kansas City.
Granfalloon, 8614 North Boardwalk Avenue 816-587-9292.
The Northland’s ‘Falloon has a great upper-level patio.
For an outside party or place to meet a potential hookup:
Harry’s Country Club, 112 East Missouri Avenue, 816-421-3505
Brooksider Bar and Grill, 6330 Brookside Plaza, 816-363-4070
The Point, 917 West 44th Street
Fuel, 7300 West 119th Street, Overland Park 913-451-0444
Velvet Dog, 400 East 31st Street
For smokers who live in a town with a cigarette ban
The Replay Lounge, 946 Massachusetts in Lawrence, 785-749-7676
Harvey’s, 10129 East 40 Highway in Independence, 816-358-1002
For simple people watching
McCoy’s Public House, 4057 Pennsylvania
Buzzard Beach, 4110 Pennsylvania
Harry’s Bar and Tables, 501 Westport Road, 816-561-3950
Classic Cup Café, 301 West 47th Street
Blue Moose, 4160 West 71st Street, Prairie Village, 913-722-9463