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

Minerals, crystals and gems aplenty at the Kansas City Gem and Mineral Show this weekend in Kansas City.
Cody Newill
KCUR 89.3

What is truly free? Lunch? Hardly. Love? In theory.

Certainly, a great deal of advice is free, if you don’t count the price to be paid for following the lousy kind.

Here’s my gratis guidance: Do something more or less free this weekend – because you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a lot of fun. You can look it up. Starting right here!

1. Snake Saturday

Downtown North Kansas City’s annual parade and festival, inspired by St. Patrick’s fabled exiling of snakes from Ireland, returns with the 2018 theme of “Paint the Town Green.” Whether proudly parading or cheerfully spectating, those involved are sure to apply an extra coat of the emerald hue to whatever they do. Attractions include a carnival, a charity cook-off and a children’s play area with pony rides, a petting zoo and a tricycle obstacle course. Extra precious alert: A “Lads & Lassies” stage show will give wee ones the chance to show off their Irish side with costumes, singing, dancing and the recital of limericks. Please, no leprechauns – they always try to get into the act.

Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; parade starts at 14th Street and Swift Avenue in downtown North Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free

2. Brookside St. Patrick's Warm-Up Parade

Feeling “Charmed?" That’s the theme of this year’s Brookside St. Patrick’s Warm-up procession, involving more than 100 organizations and businesses from around the metro. All manner of lucky vehicles, bands, drill teams, dancers, bagpipers and more – including dogs, dogs and more dogs – are set to strut their stuff in a common clarion call to alert us all to St. Patrick’s Day just one week away. Faith and begorrah!

Saturday, 2 p.m.; parade starts at 56th Street and Wornall Road in Brookside neighborhood, Kansas City, Mo., admission: free.

3. Kansas City Gem and Mineral Show

This 57th annual show features an intriguing array of dealers, displays, demonstrations and lectures. It includes a “Famous Rock Food Table,” filled with rocks and minerals that remarkably resemble familiar edible substances; daylong demos of “The Art of Flint Knapping” or the shaping of rocks into armaments and tools; and an exhibit from the University of Kansas of 300-million-year-old plant fossils – nothing like a fossil to make you feel young. The kiddies can check out a display of items from Science City at Union Station, explore a fossil “sandbox” and interact with the floor-roaming talents of Tim “Mr. Bones” Seeber and his dinosaur puppets from Colorado. 

Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; KC Expo Center, 11730 N.W. Ambassador Dr., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $6 adults, $3 ages 5-12.


4. Rock-n-Read

Irish entertainment writer Mike Farragher is in Kansas City shooting a TV pilot based on the tales in his book, “This is Your Brain on Shamrocks,” about “growing up Irish, Catholic and guilty.” He will be joined by fellow Irishman and KC resident Nick Carswell of the alt-rock band Carswell and Hope for an evening of humor and music. It should be quite the combo. Now … who’s bringing the Irish stew?

Friday, 8 p.m.; Prospero's Books, 1800 W 39th St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $6.


5. Midwest Chamber Ensemble

Hear Aaron Copland’s stirring orchestral suite, “Appalachian Spring,” in an Americana concert performed by the Midwest Chamber Ensemble, with guest bassoonist Christopher Ulffers. The MCE is made up of young pro musicians and superior music students from around the area, all of whom appreciate the opportunity to put a smile on your face. No charge!

Saturday, 3 p.m.; Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; Sunday, 7:30 p.m.; Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 9100 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kan.; admission: free (contributions accepted to fund developing musicians).


6. Meet the Experts: Toymaker Donna Moore

As if you need another reason to visit the endlessly interesting National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, here’s one: Veteran Kansas City toy designer Donna Moore will speak about her fascinating career as a creator of popular plush toys. What are the stories behind the playthings? One involves Yoko Ono and the Beatles. Now you’ve got to go, right?

Sunday, 2 p.m.; National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, 5235 Oak St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: Free with museum admission ($5 for ages 5 and older).

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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