▪ American Royal World Series of Barbecue
Friday and Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium
Messing with Kansas City’s barbecue tradition is dangerous business. After filling the West Bottoms with savory smoke for more than three decades, the barbecue competition affiliated with the American Royal has been relocated to the Truman Sports Complex. The move trades a funky atmosphere for a spacious parking lot and modern conveniences in the home of the Kansas City Chiefs. The largest barbecue contest in the world, the event brings together world-renowned pitmasters and backyard barbecue enthusiasts for open and invitational contests. And, as more than 600 judges assess entries inside Arrowhead Stadium, the public can partake in the Cowtown Family Fun Fest on Saturday, featuring children’s entertainment, face painters, balloon artists, a petting zoo, pony rides, bounce houses and inflatable slides. The traditional American Royal Parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday on the Arrowhead grounds. Country duo Big & Rich will entertain Saturday night. Fireworks conclude each night’s festivities. Visitors should remember that the event is “a competition, not a sampling event. Due to food safety regulations, sampling of contest foods is prohibited.”
▪ 10 a.m. Parade at the Truman Sports Complex; parade parking and spectating are free.
▪ 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Cowtown Family Fun Fest, features children’s entertainment such as inflatables, petting zoo, pony rides and autograph sessions.
▪ 7 p.m. Barbecue Hall of Fame (2015 inductees are Steven Raichlen, national barbecue cookbook author; Paul Kirk, Kansas City-based pitmaster and a KCBS charter member; and Ed Fisher, an industry leader who introduced the Big Green Egg kamodo style cooker.)
▪ 9 p.m. Big & Rich Concert
▪ Also new this year: Zarda Bar-B-Q and Plowboys barbecue will provide food options.
1-11:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Arrowhead Stadium. 816-221-9800. americanroyal.com. $15 per day. Parking is $20 per day.
FC Kansas City Watch Party
Thursday at the Lee’s Summit 810 Zone
As fans of the Royals, Chiefs and Sporting KC wring their hands over each teams’ prospects, another locally based professional sports franchise has reached the championship game of its league. FC Kansas City will play the Seattle Reign in the championship game of the National Women’s Soccer League on Thursday. The match in Seattle will be televised at 8:30 p.m. by Fox Sports 1. The official watch party is at the 810 Zone in Lee’s Summit. The first 250 fans to arrive there will receive an FC Kansas City drawstring bag. FC Kansas City is playing in its third consecutive title game and hopes to retain its title as league champion. The match also marks the end of Lauren Holiday’s career. The World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist is retiring after Thursday’s contest.
8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. Lee’s Summit 810 Zone, 1672 N.W. Chipman Road. 855-452-4625. fckansascity.com. Free.
Friday through Sunday in Gladstone
Riding a camel is a bucket list item that might initially seem increasingly difficult to accomplish. Strife in Egypt, for instance, has made sitting atop one of the exotic beasts in the shadows of the pyramids a less attractive proposition. Adventurous people need only travel to Gladstone on Friday and Saturday to achieve the worldly experience. Camel rides, an apple pie contest, a dog show, and dance and martial arts exhibitions are among the many activities available at the community event. A carnival will attract thrill-seekers to Gladfest. Classic rock band Harbour is Friday’s headlining attraction. Saturday opens with a parade and concludes with a performance by Celtic-rock favorites the Elders.
5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4. Gladstone. 816-436-4523. gladstonechamber.com. Admission is free.
“Dark Days, Bright Nights: Contemporary Paintings From Finland”
Opens Friday at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Art lovers in Kansas City can steel themselves for winter by attending a new exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Many of the works by the 13 artists featured in “Dark Days, Bright Nights: Contemporary Paintings From Finland” are likely to be informed by the extreme climate of the northern European nation. Each piece is “connected by the Kemper Museum’s philosophical focus on investigating the history of the gesture in painting and in creating a conceptual and art historic bridge from the 20th to the 21st century.” While most of the 43 pieces in the exhibition are paintings, a video installation by Vesa-Pekka Rannikko explores the “desire to control and genetically manipulate nature.”
Friday, Oct. 2-Feb. 21. Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. 816-753-5784. kemperart.org. Free.
Gillian Flynn at the Library Lovers Gala: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, Oct. 3, at Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff
Athletes including Matt Besler and actors like Paul Rudd are among Kansas City’s most recognizable celebrities. Gillian Flynn can probably roam freely in her hometown without being recognized by passersby. Yet Flynn has made a bigger impact on contemporary popular culture than almost anyone affiliated with Kansas City. The graduate of Bishop Miege High School and the University of Kansas is best known as the author of the best-selling 2012 novel “Gone Girl.” She also wrote the screenplay of the 2014 film. Flynn will speak at a benefit gala for the Mid-Continent Public Library on Saturday. The self-described “antique-pop” duo Victor & Penny will also entertain diners.
7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff, 4000 N. Mulberry Drive. 816-521-7260. mymcpl.org. Tickets begin at $100.
Craft pop-up event
Saturday and Sunday at Crown Center Square
A “two-day pop-up event concept” that “marries handmade and vintage goods with curated local sips and bites and homegrown local bands,” Craft is an ambitious new festival that caters to gourmands and indie-rock aficionados. Organized by the food-oriented website Recommended Daily and pop-up event specialists Chick Events, Craft will feature goods from more than 80 vendors. One of the signature elements is a cookie and beer pairing at one of three “intimate sampling sessions.” Live music is curated by Kansas City record label the Record Machine. La Guerre and Heidi Gluck are among the performers who will provide a thoughtful soundtrack to the proceedings.
10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4. Crown Center Square. craftkansascity.com. Tickets are $7 per day in advance and $10 per day at the gate.
Saturday and Sunday in Weston
The 27th edition of Applefest promises to be as American as apple pie. The picturesque celebration in Weston opens Saturday with a parade, but early birds can opt for an early breakfast at the Masonic Lodge. Much of the remainder of Applefest revolves around games, music, shopping and the namesake apples. Conventional children’s diversions including pony rides, a straw bale maze and pumpkin painting are balanced by “agriculture education interactive games and activities” like an apple toss, apple bowling and a “soybean pool.” Entertainers include children’s favorite Mr. Stinky Feet and alternative folk ensemble Truckstop Honeymoon.
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4. Weston. 816-640-2909. westonmo.com. $1 donation requested. Children 14 and under are free.
The Comedy Get Down
Saturday at the Sprint Center
Comedians can be just as competitive as athletes. The five prominent men featured on the Comedy Get Down tour, consequently, are likely to bring out the best in one another at the Sprint Center on Saturday. Cedric the Entertainer is an old-school comedian in the vein of Redd Foxx and Moms Mabley. Roles in movies including “Barbershop” introduced his earthy brand of humor to mainstream audiences. Kansas City native Eddie Griffin has appeared in more than two dozen films. D.L. Hughley is a man made for these times. The scathing social commentary of syndicated radio personality Hughley makes him a comedic counterpoint to Donald Trump. George Lopez and Charlie Murphy round out the bill.
8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Sprint Center. 816-949-7100. sprintcenter.com. $47.75-$63.75.
Kansas City Japan Festival
Saturday at Johnson County Community College
The campus of Johnson County Community College will resemble a remote territory of Japan on Saturday. The annual event offers a one-day immersion in Japanese food, culture, sports and art. Five food vendors, including Nara Restaurant, will serve Japanese specialties. Classrooms will be transformed into emporiums dedicated to origami, anime and video games. Instructors in other rooms will lead forums titled “Introduction to Reading Japanese,” “Intro to the Ancient Art of Bonsai,” “Japanese Garden Design” and “How to Play Pachinko.” Featured entertainers include Samurai Soul Sword, a New York-based ensemble with performances that offer “an engaging mix of comedy routines, humanistic-theme drama, and thrilling sword fights.”
10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Johnson County Community College, Overland Park. kcjapanfestival.com. $10 for adults, $8 for students, $6 for children.
Kristin Chenoweth with the Kansas City Symphony
Saturday at Helzberg Hall
Which is the real Kristin Chenoweth? Is she the convincing country singer who croons entertaining novelties like “What Would Dolly Do”? Is she a contemporary Christian artist who inspires the faithful with gospel songs? Maybe Chenoweth’s natural element is television. The native Oklahoman has starred in several television series. Many of Chenoweth’s fans know of her primarily through her work on Broadway. She starred as Glinda the Good Witch in the original production of “Wicked.” The audience at Helzberg Hall on Saturday is likely to be reminded that the multifaceted Chenoweth is all of these things. Her appearance with the Kansas City Symphony is a benefit for Kansas City Young Audiences.
8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Helzberg Hall. 816-994-7200. kcsymphony.org. $49-$119.
CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship 2015
Thursday and Saturday at Sporting Park
In a draw that undoubtedly delighted local soccer fans and civic boosters, men’s teams representing the United States, Canada, Cuba and Panama were recently selected to compete at Sporting Park as part of a four-city qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The event managed by the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football consists largely of players under 23 years old. While the 24-man United States roster doesn’t include any Sporting KC players, men who play for other Major League Soccer franchises and several European clubs will suit up for the United States. The top two teams in the tournament automatically qualify for Olympic play.
Panama vs. Cuba, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1; United States vs. Canada, 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1; Canada vs. Panama, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3; Cuba vs. United States, 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Sporting Park. 800-745-3000. sportingparkkc.com. $35-$200.
Robert Reich for “Saving Capitalism”
Monday at the Plaza Library
Robert Reich makes a populist plea in a promotional video for his new book, “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few.” While insisting that government “should be for the many, not the few,” he laments what he characterizes as “the takeover of our democracy by big money.” Reich insists that “the free market is not free” and that “the so-called free market is rigged.” Reich says he hopes his latest work will inspire readers to “take back the American economy from the economically privileged and to take back our democracy from the politically powerful.” The former secretary of labor and outspoken commentator is likely to whip Monday’s audience at the Plaza Library into a political frenzy.
6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5. Kansas City Public Library-Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St. 913-384-3126. rainydaybooks.com. Free, registration is required.
Monday at the Tank Room
“Hi hi howdy howdy hi hi.” The opening line of Shamir’s breakout hit “On the Regular” reflects the affable sensibility of the 20-year-old. A throwback to the paisley hip-hop of De La Soul and gay-friendly disco acts like the Weather Girls, Shamir’s inviting music offers a refreshing change of pace from the jaded pop landscape. His debut album, “Rachet,” is loaded with jams just as jubilant as “On the Regular.” The Tank Room seems too small to contain the Las Vegas resident’s enormous personality, but the people able to squeeze into the venue are likely to have more fun than anyone else in Kansas City on the first Monday in October.
8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5. Tank Room, 1813 Grand Blvd. 816-214-6403. thetankroom.com. $15.