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Arts & Life

7 Things To Kick Off Fall This Weekend In Kansas City

Natalia Dotto
Creative Commons

Don’t freak out, but summer’s over.

It became official earlier this week with the First Day of Fall. Soon, the leaves, like the calendar pages, will be falling. Unfortunately, you can’t run around in short pants with a silly smile on your face trying to get a suntan forever. Believe me, I’ve tried, and the neighbors talk.

But you can keep grinning, because the start of autumn brings not only cooler weather but also some pretty cool things to do. The change of season kicks into gear this weekend – and, if you want, it’s still OK to gallivant in shorts until it gets really cold. Just don’t think the neighbors aren’t watching.

  1. Overland Park Fall Festival
    Everyone loves a fall festival parade, especially the “longest continually operating parade in Johnson County at 54 years strong,” according to organizers of this year’s celebratory stroll that gets going at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Overland Park Fall Festival. There’s plenty of other stuff for folks to do, too, including three stages of family friendly concerts (don’t miss the Irish-rocking Elders at 3 p.m.), classic cars, a craft fair and the ever-popular Overland Park Farmers’ Market. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; downtown Overland Park, north of 80th Street between Overland Park Drive and Marty Street, Overland Park, Kan.; Admission: free
  2. Liberty Fall Festival
    Kids especially should get a kick out of the Liberty Fall Festival, where they can gaze at the Heartland N Track Model Trains (OK, Dad, you can watch, too) and participate in pedal car races (ages 2-6), quick start tennis (racquets and balls provided to ages 4-10) and a stick horse rodeo. Organizers note that children may bring their own “trained” horses – hey, grab any advantage you can – but faux horseflesh will be lent to little ones without their own. Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday, 12 p.m.-4 p.m.; historic downtown Liberty, 111 N. Water St., Liberty, Mo.; Admission: free
  3. Lee's Summit Octoberfest
    Looking for a way to let the German in you out? All it takes is a friendly nudge from someone decked out in lederhosen at the Lee’s Summer Octoberfest. I know, it’s still September, but who wants to wait for a freshly grilled brat to bite into while enjoying German music and dancers? Festival-goers can also take in a People’s Choice Home Brew Tasting Event, a baby contest and a pack of dog contests, including one for everybody’s favorite canine breed – the wiener dog! Well, it’s your favorite if you embrace your inner German. So what are you waiting for? Schnell! Friday, 5-11 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; 220 S.E. Main St., downtown Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Admission: free.
  4. Pumpkin Hollow at Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead
    There’s more than a pumpkin patch to pluck orange gourds from at Pumpkin Hollow at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. Family attractions include a corn maze, a hay slide, a hay pyramid for climbing, pumpkin boats for racing and the Pumpkin Hollow Express, a barrel train for kids pulled by a farm tractor. Even pumpkin acquisition is a treat, with visitors being driven to the patch in a horse-drawn wagon. It’s enough to make Linus Van Pelt of “Peanuts” fame never stop believing in the Great Pumpkin (not that he could, anyway). Sept. 26-Oct. 31; Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, 13800 Switzer Road, Overland Park, Kan.; Admission: $8 (ages 1 and younger free).
  5. Kansas City Pagan Pride Day
    Pagans are people, too, obviously. But just to drive home that point, the 16th annual Kansas City Pagan Pride Day is a harvest festival for Pagans and non-Pagans alike. The overarching objective is to find common ground between people of all beliefs. And there should be plenty of fun between all sorts at this daylong event, which includes a craft fair (featuring Pagan artists, of course), belly dancing, a food drive for Harvesters and a Dragon’s Nest children’s area, where kids can build a gnome door or design a magic wand. There’s also a performance by soul-reggae-folk-r&b artist Nicolette Paige, who, among other things, is being promoted as a “flower sista,” mystic, peacemaker, poet and lover. Go for it! Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Merriam Marketplace, 5740 Merriam Drive, Merriam, Kan.; Admission: free.
  6. KC Extreme Timber Challenge
    The great outdoors and lots of sweat and potentially battered body parts will be experienced by participants in Sunday’s KC Extreme Timber Challenge, a 5K athletic event not for the faint of heart. Tickets to participate are sold out, but anyone is welcome to stand back and behold vigorous men and women traversing foam and mud pits, zipping along zip lines and negotiating fire hurdles and other crazy obstacles. Actually, just watching might be more fun. Sunday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.; Adventure Zip KC, 12829 Loring Road, Bonner Springs, Kan.; parking: $10.
  7. KC Beer Fest
    Like winter, spring and summer, fall is the perfect time for consuming a variety of craft beers. In absolute agreement is the sixth annual KC Beer Fest, where well over 100 craft beers from around the world will be available for sampling. Your admission ticket entitles you to a souvenir tasting glass that you can take home and proudly display with goodness knows how many others like it. I think we can all drink to that. Saturday, general admission starts at 3 p.m.; KC Live! Kansas City Power & Light District, 1100 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35 advance, $40 day of event.
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