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6 Carefree Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend


Much in this life is about getting it and keeping it together.

Well, I’m no anarchist – contrary to what a biased babysitter or two may have reported back in the day. But it’s clear to me that if you don’t let it go every once in a while, you might blow. And who wants to spend the weekend cleaning up that mess?

Thank goodness for timely opportunities to be at least a little carefree. You know, just a smidge. Aw, c’mon, the babysitter’s not even looking.

1. Rhythm ’N Balloons Festival

If lolling around looking up at hot air balloons lazily traversing the skies wasn’t enough to induce feelings of care-free relaxation, the former Great Midwest Balloon Festival has rebranded itself to include some nice national music acts to help wile away the weekend. On Friday, there’s classic rocker Eddie Money (“Two Tickets to Paradise”) accompanied by his son Dez Money. Saturday offers country crooners Jo Dee Messina (“My Give a Damn’s Busted”) and Travis Tritt (“It’s a Great Day to Be Alive”) along with good-time Tex-Mex rockers Los Lobos (“La Bamba”). Kick back and forget whatever it was you were supposed to worry about.

Friday, 3-11 p.m.; Saturday, noon-11 p.m.; Sunday, 1-9 p.m.; Hodge Park, 20 N.E. Reinking Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $18-$99 (kids 12 and younger free).

2. Def Leppard with REO Speedwagon and Tesla

Pour some sugar on me? If you insist, but the sweet stuff really ought to be drizzled on the members of Def Leppard, who will cheerfully share such 1980s mega-hits as “Photograph,” “Armegeddon It” and, yes, “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” at Sprint Center. Opening bands REO Speedwagon (“Time For Me To Fly”) and Tesla (“EZ Come EZ Go”) will help to establish the show’s happy-go-lucky mood.

Friday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $29.50-$125

3. Bacon-Fest

Even if you’re not seriously interested in ingesting 1.5 pounds of bacon as fast you can, there’s the more colon-friendly option of watching a bunch of other people try it at Bacon-Fest. So put on a plastic pig nose and show up in support of those who would make pigs of themselves – not you, of course. Relatively casual eaters will have several hours to sample a sizzling array of bacon products at this annual fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City. Go “oink” for a good cause.

Saturday, 2-5 p.m.; Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City, 31st and Main, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $50-$100.

4. Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival

Bless the bartenders and their fans who will be in feel-good force at this year’s Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival. At one location alone – The Brass on Baltimore, 1228 Baltimore Ave. – you can check out a sherry seminar (2:30 p.m. Friday), a gin seminar (10:30 a.m. Friday) and a “Gimme Some Air: Oxygen Fortified Wine & More” seminar (2:30 p.m. Saturday). The main attraction on Sunday will be that evening’s “Midwest Melee” bartender competition at the Guild, 1621 Locust Street. May the best mixologist win, or at least provide serendipitous sips to help you leave your cares behind.  

Thursday through Monday, multiple times and venues; tickets: $20-$300.

5. CannaFest

Puff goes the hip-hop at this pro-cannabis music party headlined by veteran East Coast rappers Method Man (previously of Wu-Tang Clan) and Redman. The two are also actors who teamed up in the brief but bong-worthy Fox-TV sitcom “Method & Red.” Also on the bill: Dizzy Wright, Ces Cru, MC Sean Tyler and Murs. Of course, weed’s still illegal around these parts. But everyone’s entitled to a contact high. Uh, just kidding, officer.

Saturday, 6 p.m.; KC Crossroads at Grinders, 417 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $29-$66.50.

6. KC Dance Day

Do you want to dance? Express yourself through creative physical motion? Maybe just shake out some stress? Then the Kansas City Ballet’s KC Dance Day may be just the thing to put your mind (if not your feet) at ease. The sixth annual all-ages event features a full day of dance classes, dance performances and an open rehearsal by Kansas City Ballet dancers. One more question: Where did I put my tights?

Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Todd Bolender Center, 500 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at brianmctavish@gmail.com.

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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