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6 Fanatical Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Peggy Lowe
KCUR 89.3
Kansas City residents celebrate on St. Patrick's Day.

A fan is a fan is a … fanatic.

Which is to say that niceties won’t be necessary this weekend for those obviously obsessed with such things as St. Patrick’s Day, Japanese pop culture and the eye-opening promise of that oh-so-perfect cup of coffee – or rather endless cups.

No half measures here, my friends. Time to go full-on fanatical!

1. Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade

As if KC’s pull-out-the-blarney St. Patrick’s Day parade has ever not been about “Shamrocks & Shenanigans,” this year’s official theme can’t be said to hit any false notes. It’s like singing along with “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and suddenly realizing, uh, when aren’t they on St. Pat’s Day? Leading the festive emerald charge as Grand Marshal will be Emmy Award-winning actor and Kansas City, Kansas, native Eric Stonestreet, best known for his funny work on TV’s “Modern Family.” While many modern families have a pet or two (or three) at home, parade organizers ask you to not bring them to the parade. Unless Fido’s coat is dyed green. Yeah, I got carried away and made up that last part.

Sunday, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; parade starts at Linwood and Broadway heading south on Broadway to 43rd Street.

2. Naka-Kon

Kansas City’s annual over-the-top celebration of Japanese animation, comics, video games, costume play, music and fashion will again feature contests and guests galore. Visit with pro artists, voice actors, musicians and many others with cool ties to the pop culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. Take in a retrospective discussion on monster king Godzilla, do karaoke, get cosplay tips, watch “wacky” Japanese TV commercials, try Japanese sweets, learn DIY mini-zine making and finally find out “How to Be YouTube Famous.” Or just dance, dance, dance the night away. Hai!

Friday, 4 p.m.-Saturday, 1:30 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-Sunday, 1:30 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Overland Park Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd.; tickets: $30-$40 for adults, $12 for ages 6-12.

3. U.S. Coffee Championships

How wound up to you have to be to keep drinking world-class java concocted by fanatically competing baristas from all over the country? It’s difficult to say, especially when your lips are busy slurping the sweet caffeine that will be available for sampling at the 2019 U.S. Coffee Championships. Witness rival coffee virtuosos utilizing an array of brewing techniques, using their heightened senses to differentiate between assorted exotic coffees and striking an elusive yet rewarding balance between espresso and booze.

Friday, 7 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Bartle Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20 advance, $20 at the door.

4. Big 12 Big Q

While the Big 12 Basketball Championship occupies the Sprint Center, barbecue teams – each representing one of the participating round-ball squads – will vie for top honors at the nearby Big 12 Big Q barbecue contest. Check out Thursday night’s rib-eating competition, root for your favorite college-inspired pitmaster on Saturday and satisfy your wildly watering mouth on Sunday afternoon with tasty barbecue samples. Pass the sauce.

Thursday, 5 p.m., rib-eating contest; Friday, 1-3 p.m., pitmasters competition (4 p.m. awards ceremony; Saturday, noon and 2 p.m., demos and samples; KC Live Block in Power & Light District, 50 E. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

5. Big 12 Run

Runners don’t need an excuse to run, but here’s one anyway for folks who may feel a fanatical pride for a particular Big 12 university. Wear your fave Big 12 team’s colors while “racing” or otherwise moving forward in this downtown event offering 1-mile, 5K and 12K courses. All ages and experience levels are welcome – including the totally non-experienced in baby strollers. Can’t start too soon being a Big 12 booster.

Saturday, 8 a.m. (one-mile run starts); 8:30 a.m. (5K and 12K runs start); runs start and finish at 12th Street and Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; registration: $30-$60.

6. Zomboy

Fall under the fervent spell of electronic dance fever by way of this English dubstep DJ (“Game Time,” “The Outbreak” and “Neon Grave”), whose real name is Joshua Mellody. Gosh, that almost sounds more appropriately fanatical than Zomboy. Almost.

Saturday, 8 p.m.; Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35.

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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