Joco Diversions

July 23, 2013

The August calendar is full of hot events in Johnson County

From ‘Hairspray’ to a balloon festival, the joint is jumpin’

First it was a film. Then a Broadway musical. Then a film based on a Broadway musical. Now it’s a musical that can be seen without leaving the state. The Tony Award-winning “Hairspray” serves up beehive-sized helpings of teen dreams, dancing and laughter. Set in 1962 Baltimore, the production showcases catchy pop ditties and “downtown” R, courtesy of composer Marc Shaiman.

8:30 p.m., Aug. 2-4, 8-10. Theatre in the Park, 7710 Renner Rd. $8 for adults; $6 for youth (ages 4-10); free for children 3 and under. The Johnson County Fair

The Johnson County Fair evokes a bygone era when fairs provided the yearly entertainment centerpiece within the Great Plains states. A week’s worth of events are packed into this throwback gathering, including youth rodeo, barrel racing, demolition derby, goat milking, pie contests and chainsaw art.

8 a.m.-11 p.m., Aug. 4-11. Johnson County Fairgrounds, 136 E. Washington St. in Gardner. Admission is free. Tickets for grandstand events vary and may be purchased onsite. The Great Midwest Balloon Fest

As Winnie the Pooh once said, “Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.” The Great Midwest Balloon Fest attracts nearly 50,000 fans for a family-friendly weekend that features 60 hot air balloons from across the country. Balloon glows, competitions and rides are available, in addition to live music (The Elders, The Scott Perry Band), carnival rides, fireworks and oodles of kids activities.

4 p.m., Aug. 9-10. Great Mall of the Great Plains, I-35 and 151st St. $15 for adults; $5 kids for kids (ages 6-12); free for children 5 and under. Pickleball Tournament

Pickleball! It’s almost as fun to play as it is to say. Combining elements of badminton, tennis, ping-pong and Wiffle ball, the sport developed in Washington state in the 1960s. Now Pickleball is spreading throughout Kansas, with a 50-plus tournament where contestants can vie for awards in men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

9 a.m., Aug. 17. Century Fieldhouse, 551 New Century Parkway. $20. Light Up the Lawn Concert Series

JCCC’s Light Up the Lawn summer series concludes with a pair of female-fronted blues acts. Taking its name from a Led Zeppelin song, Trampled Under Foot is a KC trio comprised of siblings Danielle, Kris and Nick Schnebelen that won the International Blues Challenge in 2008. Fellow KC performer Samantha Fish is a 22-year-old guitarist whose debut album, “Runaway,” showcases the tasty riffs and breakneck boogies of her live show. Patrons are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets (no alcohol).

8 p.m., Aug. 23. Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College. Free.

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