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6 Happy Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

KC Oktoberfest
KC Oktoberfest presented by KC Bier Co. is this weekend in Kansas City.

With a tip of the powdered wig to Thomas Jefferson: None of us are guaranteed happiness, but we are all entitled to pursue it.

Granted, that’s a risky proposition. Trying to be happy and failing is no picnic. Yet here comes an especially action-packed weekend of potentially happy things to do involving uplifting music, assorted festivals, football and the opportunity to get involved in a sport that most people haven’t tried but anyone can take a crack at.

And that powdered wig? If it makes you happy, wear it well and let them all talk. Especially if it makes them happy!

1. Sting & Shaggy

An improbable yet exultant island music duo, super-famous pop-rocker Sting and not nearly as well-known Jamaican reggae-hip-hopper Shaggy are more than happy to have you feel the same on their current tour performing together. But other than both going by single-word monikers that begin with the same consonant, what do they really have in common? Well, as any fan of Sting’s former Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band The Police knows, he likes his reggae, too. Wait, I’ve buried the happy lead: The two have released a (most likely) one-off album, “44/876,” the title of which they might even explain onstage. Don’t fret, Sting heads, there will also several Police and solo Sting hits to also enjoy.

Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $44-$145.

2. Johnny Mathis

“Chances are ’cause I wear a silly grin the moment you come into view, chances are you think that I’m in love with you.” And you’d be right, if you were the recipient of Johnny Mathis’ affection as expressed in his everlastingly dreamy ballad, “Chances Are.” Forgive generations of lovers for unabashedly coopting the material. Mathis turned 83 last week, but Mister Romance can’t stop making hearts happy with his heavenly catalogue of sweet ditties, including “It’s Not For Me to Say,” “The Twelfth of Never” and “Wonderful! Wonderful!” – all delivered in his tenderly quavering vocal style that kept the 1958 album, “Johnny’s Greatest Hits” on the Billboard chart for close to 10 years. I’ll bet Johnny’s bank account was happy!

Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $59-$125.

3. Kansas City Japan Festival

Content yourself with anime/manga, cosplay, martial arts, drumming, calligraphy, a tea ceremony, cultural panels and more by way of this year’s Kansas City Japan Festival. Johnson County Community College once again is the place to open Midwestern hearts and minds to how things are done in the Land of the Rising Sun. And for all you cross-cultural pop music followers out there, yes, there will be authentic J-pop. Oh, bliss.

Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Carlson Center at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan., admission: $5-$15, ages 5 and younger free.

4. KC Oktoberfest

Beers and oompahs will be in most comfortable supply at this annual German-style celebration on Crown Center Square. What else do you need to be happy? A pickle-eating contest? You’ve got it 4 p.m. Sunday. Music makers from KC will include the Polka Dots, the Happy Wanderers and Polka on Steroids with Bram Wijnands, who just might throw in some of his jazz and swing chops. Two true-blue Bavarian bands are also in the offing: Die Wilderer and Die Schornsteinfeger – and if you know what those names mean, be happy you studied in German class.

Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Crown Center Square, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $10.

5. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Fresh off their stunning 4th quarter comeback against the Denver Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs look to keep the fans happy in their faceoff against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Heck, even some other teams' fans might be thrilled by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who's arguably the hottest — and coolest — QB in the NFL right now. Go Chiefs!

Sunday, noon. Arrowhead Stadium, 1 Arrowhead Dr. Kansas City, Mo., 64129; ticket prices vary.

6. Youth Symphony of Kansas City at First Friday

They say that music is the universal language of mankind — or at least one person said that. What better way to peer happily communicate with your fellow humans than the sweet sounds of the Youth Symphony of Kansas City? The venerable organization is celebrating 60 happy years of musical magic.

Friday, 6:20 p.m. and 7:10 p.m..; 18th and Wyandotte. Kansas City, Mo. Free event.

Updated, Friday 2:00 p.m.

This post originally included the Louisburg Ciderfest and WaterFireKC, but those events were postponed due to weather concerns. It's okay, just stay happy!

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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