It’s time to lose that jacket and explore some of the cool outdoor activities that May has to offer.
The alfresco action ranges from art browsing to Maypole fun to a “Star Wars” lightsaber battle royal – and that’s only this weekend.
If May were any cooler, you might have to find that jacket!
Even if you’re totally doing First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District, that still leaves Saturday and Sunday to search out amazing works of art – or just something that makes you feel good when you look at it – at the 34th Brookside Art Annual. Stroll along the historic shopping area’s well-trodden walkways while observing artist offerings from their imaginative creations in a variety of mediums. Of course, art is in the eye of the beholder: “Honey, wouldn’t that look great over the mantle? Honey? Honey, where’d you go?”
Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; 63rd Street and Brookside Boulevard, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
May the Fourth be with you on Saturday, especially if you’re wielding a “Star Wars” lightsaber as part of the local effort to set a new record for world’s largest lightsaber battle. Following a full afternoon of gaming and other fan activities, four different lightsaber battles will transpire over the course of the evening, including a closing “free for all.”
Will there be casualties? Only if people dressed up as Jedi knights and others from the “Star Wars” mythos show up with real lightsabers. So don’t do that. Even the most faithful re-creators of cosmic swashbuckling will have to settle for swinging around a toy version of the interstellar weapon that can cut a Wookiee in half. At least there’s no rule against bringing one for each hand! And good luck in the costume contest. If that is a costume you’re wearing.
Saturday, 2-10 p.m.; Berkley Riverfront Park, 110 Berkley Plaza, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
Maypole fun may be the centerpiece of MayFest, but there’s plenty else to do, including a puppet show, games and take-home crafting of flowers and crowns. Such a merry month! Still, it’s the dances around the Maypole that have the power to stir ancient seasonal feelings even in these modern times: Kids get the first crack at the festive activity at 10:15 a.m., followed by a community Maypole dance at 10:30 a.m. Puppet participation is also welcome.
Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Prairie Moon Waldorf School, 1853 1600 Road, Lawrence, Kan.; admission: free.
At least once a year, the traditional drive-in movie becomes a kid-centric bike-in movie at the Boulevard Drive-In. Take in the all-ages fantasy film, “The Pagemaster” – about a boy who’s afraid to take any chances, including even riding his bike, until he’s transformed into an animated adventurer – along with bicycle races and mazes and a variety of other family friendly activities.
May 16, 7 p.m.; Boulevard Drive-In, 1051 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, Kan., admission: free for those who arrive on a bike, otherwise $5 donation.
Sometimes you’ve got to let it all hang out for your neighborhood, and nothing accomplishes that celebratory goal with more communal sincerity than Kansas City’s Troost Festival. Winner of the 2016 Consensus Civility Award, this all-ages street party spills over with music, dance and spoken-word performances inspired by the power of diversity and joined potential. And there are hula-hoops. So how can you not go?
May 18; 3100 Block of Troost, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
Chugga-chugga-chugga … choo-choo! Round up the little ones for a day of old-timey locomotive appreciation courtesy of Kansas City Train Day. Kids can enjoy free rides on the Kansas City Northern Miniature Railroad, plus there’s all-day music, face painting and various playground attractions. Bonus: Get two-for-one admission from 2 to 4 p.m. at the adjacent Line Creek Ice Arena.
May 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Kansas City Northern Miniature Railroad at Frank Vaydik Park, 6060 N.W. Waukomis Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
Kick back in countryside splendor while supporting the Heartland Men’s Chorus at its annual Garden Party. The Belvoir Inn & Winery and surrounding grounds will host the fundraiser for Kansas City’s gay men's chorus, encompassing wine tasting and hors d’oeurvres, a “summer buffet,” an exclusive tour of the pastoral estate and a take-home bottle of Belvoir bubbly. It’s enough to make a body break out in song.
May 19, 1 p.m.; Belvoir Inn & Winery, 1325 Oddfellows Road, Liberty, Mo.; tickets: $75.
“Diversity Not Division” is the theme of this year’s Kansas City PrideFest in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. The free-to-be-you-and-me bash delivers three days of lively concert entertainment, such as the Madonna-Lady Gaga tribute band Material Girl, “All American Boy” singer Steve Grand and Grammy Award-winner Mya, who threw in with Pink and Christina Aguilera in a remake of LaBelle’s 1975 hit, “Lady Marmalade,” for the movie musical, “Moulin Rouge.” A festival so invigorating it can't be contained to a single month!
May 31-June 2, Berkley Riverfront Park, 1298 Riverfront Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10-$30 ($7.50-$25 through May 26).