This Week in Kansas City: Bluesfest, Jazzoo and all the kielbasa you can eat

06/03/2014 4:07 PM

06/03/2014 4:22 PM

Old Shawnee Days

Three distinct sets of offerings make Old Shawnee Days one of the liveliest summer festivals. A colorful carnival — replete with a Ferris wheel and traditional midway attractions — draws thousands of area youths. Monitoring the baking contests and inspecting Shawnee Town Museum hold the attention of others. A third group comes for live entertainment. This weekend’s musical highlights include a performance by the St. Joseph-based country artist Phil Vandel on Thursday and a concert by the classic rock band the Guess Who on Saturday. The festival’s stages also will host martial arts exhibitions, a magician and a puppet show.

Thursday-Sunday. Shawnee. Free.


Blues may be best experienced in dingy nightclubs, but outdoor performances of the music also can be very satisfying. Locally based blues enthusiasts have been treated to the work of many of the world’s most renowned musicians for 17 years at the Gladstone Summertime Bluesfest. A pair of Louisiana legends headline the 18th edition of the free festival. Larry Garner is a genial vocalist and guitarist with a passel of memorable original songs. Walter “Wolfman” Washington has been a fixture in New Orleans taverns for decades. Regional favorites including the Bel Airs, Danny Cox and Fast Johnny Ricker will perform at the two-day festival.

Friday-Saturday. Oak Grove Park in Gladstone. 816-436-4523. Free. Parking is $5.


Organizers of Jazzoo aren’t exaggerating when they suggest that the annual event may be “the wildest fundraiser in Kansas City.” In addition to the naturalistic surroundings on the grounds of the Kansas City Zoo, the benefit features alcohol at 10 bars, food from 65 area restaurants and live entertainment at three stages. Many revelers in formal wear may be inclined to cut loose. Boulevard Brewing Co., Kansas City Bier Co., Garozzo’s and Waldo Pizza are among the locally based establishments offering food and drinks. Entertainers include the popular cover bands Perpetual Change and Boogie Wonderland.

7:30 p.m. Friday. Kansas City Zoo. 816-513-5800. $175.

Royals vs. Yankees

Many baseball fans in every market actively loathe the franchise that’s often known disparagingly as “the damn Yankees.” People in Kansas City, however, have a particular distaste for the team from New York. The deep animosity blossomed in 1976 as the Royals fell to the Yankees in the American League Championship series in three consecutive seasons. And even casual sports fans know that George Brett’s infamous pine tar incident was instigated by Yankees manager Billy Martin in 1983. Could the contempt for the Yankees be temporarily suspended during each plate appearance by Derek Jeter? The great player is retiring at the conclusion of the season.

7:10 Friday, 6:15 p.m. Saturday, 1:10 p.m. Sunday and 7:10 p.m. Monday. Kauffman Stadium. 816-921-8000. $13-$180.

FC Kansas City vs. Boston

With the men gearing up for the World Cup in Brazil, now is the time for American soccer fans to redirect their attention to the National Women’s Soccer League. The talent pool in Major League Soccer is temporarily diluted by the international competition, but women’s clubs like FC Kansas City and the Boston Breakers will play at full strength until next year, when elite athletes like FC Kansas City’s Amy Rodriguez will compete for spots on teams representing their countries in the Women’s World Cup. FC Kansas City defeated the Breakers at Harvard Stadium on May 25 by a score of 2-0.

7 p.m. Saturday. Durwood Stadium on the UMKC campus. 855-452-4625. $10-$50.

Downtown Days … Streets Alive! Festival

Between a motorcycle show, a display of white tigers and a barbecue contest, this weekend’s Downtown Days… Streets Alive! festival in Lee’s Summit has almost every contingency covered. Saturday’s American Garage Bike Show includes prizes in categories such as best vintage bike. The White Tiger Discovery Exhibit (admission fee required) showcases the exotic cats. Serious chefs in the Smokin’ on the Summit competition will fill the grounds with delectable aromas. A carnival, live music, an autograph booth featuring local athletes and a petting zoo are among the other attractions at the festival.

Friday- Sunday. Downtown Lee’s Summit. 816-246-6598. Free.

Greek Festival

Johnson County’s longtime reputation as an enclave of uniformity has never been entirely accurate. An increasing number of people from a multitude of cultures are calling Johnson County home, but the vast expanse of suburbs has long contained ethnic enclaves. The St. Dionysios Greek Orthodox Church was founded in Overland Park in 1927. The institution has been hosting the Greek Festival for more than 40 years. Food, drink and dancing are the primary attractions. Attendees can enjoy Greek specialties like spanakopita, baklava and ouzo as they watch displays of traditional dancing.

Friday-Sunday. St. Dionysios Greek Orthodox Christian Church. Free admission.

Sugar Creek Slavic Festival

Brave Combo, the “nuclear polka” band that will return to the Sugar Creek Slavic Festival this weekend, paid tribute to the late Don Lipovac in a recent newsletter. Noting that Kansas City’s celebrated accordionist and regular performer at the area festival died on April 26, Brave Combo leader Carl Finch pledged to give the band’s headlining performance at the festival “a lot of thought between now and then.” In addition to hosting Brave Combo’s inspired effort, the festival will feature the Miss Czech-Slovak Missouri Pageant, a kielbasa-eating contest and traditional dance demonstrations.

Friday- Saturday. Mike Onka Memorial Building grounds. $3, children 12 and under are free.


One of the goals of the Pratichi Club of Kansas City is to integrate the Eastern and the Western arts. The organization has presented several luminaries of Indian classical music during the past 13 years. Saturday’s event pairs sarod master Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar with the celebrated tabla player Subhajyoti Guha. Contemplative and serene on the surface, the music played by natives of India contains layers of profound sonic and emotional complexity. The concert is a rare opportunity for locally based enthusiasts to hear Indian classical music performed at the highest level.

7:30 p.m. Saturday. Polsky Theatre. 913-469-4445. $25-$40.

Wornall/Majors House Museums Garden Tour

The garden tour organized by supporters of the John Wornall House and the Alexander Majors House museums allows coveted access to the private gardens of several exclusive estates. The grounds of five sets of homeowners, a retirement community and the Wornall House will be open for inspection. The garden of a home in the Sunset Hills neighborhood includes chickens, beehives and a vegetable garden. A couple in Fairway maintain a yard that features more than 100 varieties of peonies. An orchard, a fountain and a pond are centerpieces of other estates on the tour. A separate patrons’ party to benefit the museums takes place Friday.

9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday. Six garden spaces. 816-444-1858. $30.

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