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6 Free (And Almost Free) Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Jeremy Bernfeld

Confession time: I used to think that “free” was a four-letter word. F-R-E-E. Oh, wait, it is.

Let me start over: I used to believe that anything free couldn’t be worth that much. This is America, right? You pay for what you get. If you wanted to “See The U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet,” it was going to cost you and be worth every gas-guzzling penny.

But I’ve learned to change – a little. And they say that change is good. Especially when you’ve got some rattling around in your piggy bank. So let’s check out some free – or close to it – things to do this weekend. Think of it as a freeing experience. But don’t forget your wallet.

1. Frost Festival

There’s no charge to attend the second annual Frost Festival, where visitors are invited to wander the Power & Light District to see live ice carvings and fire-eaters inhabit the same nippy realm. Hopefully not too close together. Other delights may cost you a bit, including s’mores and a Bailey’s hot chocolate bar. Go ahead and splurge. Saturday, 7 p.m.; Kansas City Live! in the Power & Light District, 1330 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.: admission: free.

2. Royals FanFest

Looking for proof that baseball is for kids? Ages five and younger get in free to the Kansas City Royals Fan Fest, where fans, even those who have to buy a ticket, can get totally psyched about what lies ahead for the 2014 American League champs. Things to do at Fan Fest – besides wishing that Alex Gordon hadn’t been held at third base with two out in the bottom of the ninth in game seven of the World Series – include getting player autographs and hearing team members chat in main stage events.

There will also be interactive games and a mini-diamond where kids can play ball and have their photos taken with their heroes. And the first 6,000 fans each day will take home a free Royals tote bag. Want! Friday, 2-9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Bartle Hall at Kansas City Convention Center, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $16 ($14 advance) for adults, $10 ($8 advance) ages 6 and up.

3. Holst’s The Planets

The seats may be cheap, but the experience will be cosmic when the Kansas City Symphony gives a recording session preview concert featuring The Planets, the most famous orchestral work by English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934). Also on tap: Holst’s ballet music from his opera, The Perfect Fool – which may be an oxymoron, but one that falls pretty on the ears. Both pieces will be on the symphony’s next CD. Thursday, 7 p.m.; Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15 (includes service charge).

4. Farmers Market at the City Market

Cool your jets. Hold your horses. Take a break. Which is to say, simply relax this weekend with a stroll of the Farmers Market at the City Market in the River Market. That’s a lot of markets, but you can handle it with ease. That’s because you don’t have to do a thing or even buy any of the fresh produce and other goodies available from more than 140 vendors – although you’ll want to and probably will. Bonus: You never know what friends you might bump into. Double bonus: You might make a new one. Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; City Market, 20 W. Fifth St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: priceless.

5. Frozen Tippi Toes Dance Party

Is there a little girl who doesn’t love the she-centric Disney animated smash-hit, Frozen? If so, she may not stay that way for long at the Frozen dance party hosted by Tippi Toes Dance Company. Of course, lots of little boys go for this flick, too, thanks to the patented Disney magic. And they’re equally welcome at this family fun event that gives kids the chance to dance, make Frozen-related crafts and – oh, my goodness – even visit with Frozen’s own Elsa. Heads up to parents: If you lose track of your kids, check the ceiling. Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Kansas City Public Library Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

6. Saxophone Recitals

Saxophone lovers who are also big NFL fans – trust me, they’re out there – could have a serious conflict on Sunday, when gratis sax recitals at the University of Missouri-Kansas City go head to head with the Super Bowl. If nothing else, maybe attendees can catch the big game’s second half. The spirit of Charlie Parker compels you! Sunday, 2:30-7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, UMKC, 4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

Brian McTavish follows popular culture in the belief that the search for significance can lead anywhere. Brian explains, "I've written articles and reviews ... reviewed hundreds of concerts, films and plays. And the thing is, these high arts all sprang from the pop culture of their day. Don't forget: Shakespeare was once Spielberg."
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