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6 Sincere Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Russ Matthews
Flickr — CC

Do you believe? Of course, you do. In exactly what is up to you.

Weekend opportunities to express your inner sincerity – or behold others doing so with gusto – include entertainments revolving around hot-rod culture, Irish heritage and the American pioneer spirit.

Even if you’re convinced that you don’t believe in anything, that means you still believe in something. Well, sort of. But you can do better than that!

1. Santa-Cali-Gon Days

Mid-19th-century pioneers who headed west on the Santa Fe, California and Oregon Trails starting in Independence, Missouri, were sincere believers of the highest order, braving countless hardships along the way. Honor their memory (and scarf down a funnel cake) at the 45th annual Santa-Cali-Gon Days with a carnival, live bands and 400 arts, crafts and food booths. Check out the kiddie-friendly Little Mr. and Miss Independence Contest and the calling-all-beards Whisker Contest. And this year’s new attraction, Main Street 1849, means even more fun for the whole family. Really!

Thursday, 5-10 p.m. (carnival only); Friday, noon-11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Monday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Historic Independence Square, from Osage Street to Memorial Drive between Truman Road and Walnut Drive, Independence, Mo.; admission: free (carnival extra).

2. Greaserama

Billed as “The Midwest’s Original Punk Rock Car Show,” Greaserama combines old-school, low-brow custom car culture – in the outlandish tradition of 1960s hot-rod designer and anti-authority “Rat Fink” cartoonist Ed “Big Daddy” Roth – with bracing performances by such in-your-face punk bands as the Pop Skull Rebels, the Quivers and the Hormones. Bring your real attitude or cop one while you’re there. Crazy cars, crazy bands, crazy you!

Saturday, noon-midnight; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; Platte County Fairgrounds, 15730 Fairgrounds Road, Platte City, Mo.; admission: $10, ages 12 and younger free.

3. Kansas City Irish Fest

If you’re truly Irish, where else would you rather be this weekend than the Kansas City Irish Fest? If you’re not Irish, you’re still heartily invited to this annual downtown bash devoted to the best of the Emerald Isle. Attractions include more than 30 bands on seven stages, stand-up comedians, a giant children’s area and the chance to investigate your genealogy. Not Irish? Think again, me bucko!

Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; admission:$7-$30 (some events cost extra).

4. Shreya Ghoshal

Known as the “Melody Queen of Bollywood,” Indian cinema “playback singer” Shreya Ghoshal has made a lucrative career recording vocals for actresses to lip-sync in her native country’s most spectacular movie musicals. Although Ghoshal doesn’t appear onscreen in the films that have made her singing voice famous, you can believe your eyes when she takes to the concert stage in a lavish production that proves she’s a true star in her own right.

Sunday, 8 p.m.; Music Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets; $57-$101.

5. The Indigo Girls

The Indigo Girls – singer/songwriters Emily Saliers and Amy Ray – hit an honest nerve with their 1989 breakthrough hit, “Closer to Fine.” Ever since, the folk-rocking duo has been a beacon of personal expression and musical integrity for true-believing fans. Even if you’re “just visiting” an Indigo Girls concert, their beautifully intertwining voices give anyone within earshot something good and strong to trust in.    

Saturday, 8 p.m.; Crossroads KC, 417 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25-$75.50.

6. Kansas City Renaissance Festival

Those who sincerely believe they can already fly may have no need of Wizard Flying Lessons offered at this year’s Kansas City Renaissance Festival. The rest of us seeking to elevate in more ways than one may benefit from the instruction.

Whichever ye olde activities you partake of at this fanciful recreation of a 16th-century English shire, you’ll be surrounded by colorfully costumed townsfolk saying things like “Hail and well met!” (Hello, nice to see you) and “What be thy tide?” (What is your name?). After downing a tankard or two of your favorite beverage, you may want to ask back: “Whither be the privies? (Where are the restrooms?). Just don’t ask a court jester, or you may wind up in the jousting arena!

Saturday-Monday (continues weekends through Oct. 15), 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; 633 N. 130th St.,

Bonner Springs, Kan.; tickets: 18.95 (children $10.45).

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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