It might seem a bit early for Oktoberfest, but the first of several such celebrations in the area will take place this weekend at Union Station.
You’ll have plenty of other festivals to choose from, regardless of whether you live north (Zona Rosa Arts Festival and Vintage Market), south (Waldo Fall Festival), east (Blue Springs Fall Fun Festival), west (Village West WineFest) or somewhere in the middle (Riverside Musicfest).
Blue Springs Fall Fun Festival, Sept. 16-18, Downtown Blue Springs. bluespringsfallfestival.com
A Celebration of International Friendship, Sept. 16, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org
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KC Oktoberfest, Sept. 16-18, Union Station. eventbrite.com
Nehemiah Festival, Sept. 16-18, Smith’s Fork Park, Smithville. nehemiahfest.com
Zona Rosa Arts Festival and Vintage Market, Sept. 16-18, Zona Rosa. zonarosa.com
Arts & Crafts Fair & Fall Festival, Sept. 17, Shawnee Town 1929. shawneetown.org
Crossroads Crush, Sept. 17, Cameron. cameronmochamber.com
Festival of the Lost Township, Sept. 17, Raytown. brownpapertickets.com/event/2520443
Freedom Festival, Sept. 17-18, John Brown Museum State Historic Site, Osawatomie. kshs.org/john_brown
Riverside Musicfest featuring Little River Band, Sept. 17, E. H. Young Riverfront Park. ticketmaster.com
Village West WineFest, Sept. 17, Schlitterbahn Waterpark. villagewestwinefest.com
Waldo Fall Festival, Sept. 17, Waldo Area, 75th and Wornall. waldokc.com
Thursday, Sept. 15, at Uptown
The original “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” girl is now 63 years old and still having fun. Cyndi Lauper’s other big hit from the 1980s was “Time After Time,” and her more recent claim to fame was writing the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots.” She won a Tony Award in 2013 for that work, to go with her previous Emmy and Grammy awards. Harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite will open. 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. uptowntheater.com. $35-$125.
“Cuba Bound: Photographs by Jesse A. Fernández”
Opens Thursday, Sept. 15 and Friday, Sept. 16 at three venues
In a unique three-venue exhibition, photographs by Cuban-born Jesse A. Fernández will be displayed at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (photos of artists), Kansas City Public Library-Central Library (writers) and American Jazz Museum (jazz musicians). Fernández died in 1986 after living and working throughout the world. Thursday, Sept. 15 through Dec. 31. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City Public Library-Central Library and (opening Friday, Sept. 16) American Jazz Museum. 816-751-1278, 816-701-3400 and 816-474-8463. nelson-atkins.org, kclibrary.org and americanjazzmuseum.org. Free.
“I Do, I Do”
Opens Thursday, Sept. 15, at Chestnut Fine Arts Center
This is a simple play if ever there was one. With just two characters — one man, one woman — and one set — a bedroom — the G-rated musical from the 1960s follows a couple’s relationship from wedding night to senior citizenship. The play’s best-known song is “My Cup Runneth Over.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15; runs through Oct. 23. Chestnut Fine Arts Center. 913-764-2121. chestnutfinearts.com. $25-$28.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 15-18, at Sprint Center
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey discontinued its elephant acts earlier this year, but it still features all the other traditional circus acts — plus some not-so-traditional ones. In addition to clowns, high-wire acts, strongmen, contortionists and a human cannonball, the show will include BMX trick riders, trampolinists and bungee daredevils. 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Sept. 15-16; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17; 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. Sprint Center. 816-949-7000. sprintcenter.com. $12-$75.
Brush Creek Art Walk
Friday-Sunday, Sept. 16-18, at Brush Creek
This fifth annual event is expected to draw more than 70 plein-air (outdoors) painters, who will complete works along Brush Creek. The public is invited to walk or bike the nearly four miles of walkways to watch the three days of competition. The top paintings will be on display and for sale at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center starting Oct. 4. 7-10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17; 5-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. Brush Creek from Plaza to Elmwood. missourivalleyimpressionistsociety.com. Free for public.
Friday, Sept. 16, at Musical Theater Heritage
Music from the Indigenous populations of South America featuring Bolivian virtuoso Amado Espinoza. Ensemble Ibérica performs the music of Iberia (Spain and Portugal) and their former colonies. 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16. Musical Theater Heritage. ensembleiberica.org. $20-$25.
Friday-Sunday, Sept. 16-18, at Barney Allis Plaza
This event kicks off the local celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15. The musical highlight will be a performance by Diana Reyes on Sunday. There will be other international acts, as well as traditional dances, local performers, Latin American food and vendors selling jewelry, pottery and more. 5-11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16; noon-11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17; noon-10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. Barney Allis Plaza. kcconvention.com/events. Free.
Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox
Friday-Monday, Sept. 16-19, at Kauffman Stadium
The Royals probably will have to win all four of these games to keep their hopes alive of making the playoffs to earn a chance to repeat as world champions. Sunday will be Star Wars Day at the K, and Monday’s game, which is a makeup of a rain out in May, will be a Buck Night. 7:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16; 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17; 1:15 p.m. Sunday-Monday, Sept. 18-19. Kauffman Stadium. 800-676-9257. kansascity.royals.mlb.com. $20-$116.
Opens Friday, Sept. 16, at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
If you feel as if you’re always being watched, you aren’t alone. And your feeling is nothing new. This exhibition has photographs from 1864 to 2014 that fall into categories such as spying/hidden camera, photography of the forbidden and military surveillance. Runs Friday, Sept. 16, through Jan. 29. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 816-751-1278. nelson-atkins.org. Free.
Lyric Opera, “Hansel and Gretel”
Opens Saturday, Sept. 17, at Kauffman Center
About 80 years after the Brothers Grimm wrote the fairytale, Engelbert Humperdinck (the original one) wrote the opera. Sung in German with English subtitles, the Lyric Opera’s season-opening production tells the story of a brother and sister who enter a fantasy carnival world. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17; also 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 and 23 and 2 p.m. Sept. 25. Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-471-7344. kcopera.org. $23.50-$179.
Night at the Tower
Saturday, Sept. 17, at National World War I Museum
This fundraiser for the museum includes dinner and drinks — and much more. The unique performing arts group Quixotic will perform. There will be live and silent auctions. And guests can enjoy still art, live music and, of course, the museum itself. 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. National World War I Museum. 816-888-8100. theworldwar.org. $150-$250.
Sunday, Sept. 18, at Midland
If you know Bob Saget only from the family-friendly TV show “Full House” or as the former corny host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” boy, are you in for a shock. One thing his stand-up comedy act is not is family-friendly. For those who like their comedy down and dirty — very, very dirty — this is the show for you. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland. 816-283-9921. midlandkc.com. $39.50-$55.
Buckets N Boards with Kansas City Symphony
Sunday, Sept. 18, at Kauffman Center
The symphony kicks off its Family Series with a visit from Buckets N Boards, an act featuring Matt Levingston and Gareth Sever. Frequent performers at Starlite Theatre in Branson, Levingston and Sever combine percussion playing with singing, dancing and lots of comedy. They will be joined by assistant conductor Jason Seber and the symphony. 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-471-0400. kcsymphony.org. $10-$45.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Los Angeles
Sunday, Sept. 18, at Children’s Mercy Park
With the Major League Soccer season entering its final weeks, both Sporting Kansas City and the Los Angeles Galaxy are fighting to finish among the top six teams in the Western Conference and claim a playoff spot. Landon Donovan, the league’s all-time leading scorer, has come out of retirement to help the Galaxy in its effort. The teams have played twice this season, tying both times (1-1 May 1 at Children’s Mercy Park and 0-0 June 2 in Los Angeles). 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. Children’s Mercy Park. 913-387-3400. sportingkc.com. $20-$280.
“The Nine Who Dared: Courage in Little Rock”
Opens Tuesday, Sept. 20, at Coterie
Children’s theater will take a serious turn with this Coterie production designed for ages 12 and older. The play is set in 1957 Little Rock, Ark., where black students face harassment and one student fights back. Each performance will be followed by a session in which audience members imagine it is 1957 and they can advise the characters. 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20; runs through Oct. 21. Coterie, Crown Center. 816-474-6552. thecoterie.org. $11-$15.
Tuesday, Sept. 20, at Starlight
More than 45 years after forming in Houston, ZZ Top doesn’t seem to have aged much. Dusty Hill, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard have been rocking together from the group’s start, with the long beards and sunglasses coming somewhat later. Opening for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will be Gov’t Mule. 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20. Starlight. 816-363-7827. kcstarlight.com. $25.95-$125.95.