As much as it goes against my desire for neverending spontaneity, even a party needs a plan.
So here’s your blueprint for a festive weekend offering special exposure to everything from celebrities to meatballs – yes, there’s a difference. Usually.
Regardless, whether you're brushing up against a famous personality or a food item, it couldn't hurt to keep a napkin or two handy.
The annual fundraiser for Children’s Mercy Hospital starring dozens of Hollywood types – led by former area locals Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, Eric Stonestreet, Rob Riggle and David Koechner – returns with more amusing luminaries than ever. Saturday’s bowling event at Pinstripes and charity auction gala at the Midland Theatre are sold out, but a ticket to Friday’s Royals vs. Oakland A’s game can still get you into the 5 p.m. Big Slick softball shenanigans at Kauffman Stadium. Plus who knows who will be hanging in and around the dugout during the Royals game. Wait, is that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog? Could be!
Friday, 5 p.m.; Kauffman Stadium, 1 Royal Way, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $19-$357.
Besides Saturday morning’s “Uniquely Shawnee” community parade and weekend-long performances by female sports loggers the Lumberjills, live music will be the big attraction at Old Shawnee Days. And this year’s Saturday night headliners are certainly oldies but goodies: classic rockers Rick Derringer and Head East. In 1974, Derringer gave the world “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” nearly a decade after scoring the No. 1 hit, “Hang on Sloopy,” as lead singer of the McCoys. Head East will play “Never Been Any Reason,” the lead track to the band’s 1975 debut album, “Flat as a Pancake.” Hey, they might play it more than once, if old-school disposable-lighter-raising Baby Boomers have their way.
Thursday, 7:30-9:30 p.m.; Friday, 6:30-10:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Shawnee Town 1929, 11501 W. 57th St., Shawnee, Kan.; admission: free.
Gay pride will be celebrated in all its family friendly diversity at Kansas City Pridefest. The continuous stage entertainment builds to Sunday night’s headliner Thelma Houston, who shares more than 20 of her favorite career songs going back to the 1960s, highlighted by the 1977 Grammy-winning chart-topper, “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” No worries, Thelma!
Friday, 6 p.m.-midnight; Saturday, noon-midnight; Sunday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday, Berkley Riverfront Park, 1298 Riverfront Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10-$30 (free entry 1-2 p.m. Sunday); free for ages 12 and younger with parents).
How hard do you like to P-A-R-T-Y? Oh, really? Then this 12-hour-ode to hard rock is where you definitely need to be. Five Finger Death Punch, Stone Temple Pilots, Vince Neil, Shaman’s Harvest and Of Mice and Men (what would John Steinbeck say?) are among the more than two dozen heavy-duty acts ready to blister your eardrums. With any luck, musicians who visit the fest’s official autograph booth will have calmed down long enough to legibly sign their names. In blood!
Saturday, noon-midnight; Kansas Speedway, 400 Speedway Blvd., Kansas City, Kan.; tickets: $79.50 (or four for $239).
Because of the work of dedicated volunteers, the levee trails are growing along the Kansas and Missouri rivers in Kansas City, Kansas. Encourage the expansion to continue on National Trails Day by taking part in Levee Fest 2018, organized by Bike Walk KC. Try a 5K river run, be part of a group bike ride or sample other family activities – all within pleasing view of the downtown KC skyline.
Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Armourdale Levee Trail, 555 Riverfront Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
It’s a virtual lock that Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” will be sincerely warbled by at least one of the zesty singers scheduled to entertain at this year’s Festa Italiana, the yearly north-of-the-river confluence of Italian-happy food and fun. Dino’s ditty includes references to a “big pizza pie” and “pasta fazool,” but if it’s meatballs you’re after, you’ll have to insert a new lyric. Or, better yet, register for the meatball eating contest at 8:30 p.m. Friday. How to win? Be the meatball. It might even make you a celebrity!
5-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday; Zona Rosa, 8640 N. Dixson Ave., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.