Fall fest guide: Plaza Art Fair, American Royal, Oktoberfests and more

This year’s Art Westport, which showcases local artists, is Sept. 9-11.
This year’s Art Westport, which showcases local artists, is Sept. 9-11. tljungblad@kcstar.com

If, as a Kansas City area resident, you were asked, “What is the region’s premier fall festival?” you probably would have difficulty conjuring up an answer.

About the best you could do: “That depends.”

If the category is the visual arts, you probably would say the top fall event is the Plaza Art Fair. It attracts artists from around the country, as well as crowds in the hundreds of thousands.

If your interests lie more in the musical arts, you’ll have a tougher time deciding because there will be festivals in a variety of genres. Among them are rock, country, hip-hop and Christian. One of the local favorites, PorchFestKC, combines all genres. And a new event, Rhythm ’N Balloons, not only combines genres but also throws in hot-air balloons.

If you’re a culinary type, the World Series of Barbecue at Kansas Speedway is tough to beat. Unless you’re more into wine or beer. Then the Independence Uncorked Wine Festival or the KC Beer Fest might be for you.

Finally, if you have to pick just one traditional, party-till-you-drop festival … well, it still depends.

Some folks would say the Kansas City Irish Fest at Crown Center is the best. Others would opt for Santa-Cali-Gon Days on the Independence Square or Johnson County Old Settlers in downtown Olathe. And still others would insist the Kansas City Renaissance Festival is the clear choice.

The point is: You can’t go wrong. There is a festival, fair or celebration for just about everyone.


Art Westport, Sept. 9-11, Westport District. artwestport.info

Kansas City Chalk & Walk Festival, Sept. 10-11, Crown Center. kcchalkandwalk.org

Brush Creek Art Walk, Sept. 16-18, Country Club Plaza. missourivalleyimpressionistsociety.com

Plaza Art Fair, Sept. 23-25, Country Club Plaza. plazaartfair.com

UNplaza Art Fair, Sept. 24-25, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. peaceworkskc.org/unplaza.html

Summit Art Festival, Oct. 7-9, Downtown Lee’s Summit. summitartfest.org


Kansas City Summer Fest, Aug. 26, Visions Reception Hall. eventbrite.com

Rhythm ’N Balloons, Aug. 26-28, Hodge Park. rhythmnballoons.org

Tumbleweed Country Music Festival, Sept. 3-4, LaBenite Riverfront Park. tumbleweedcountry.com

Dancefestopia, Sept. 9-11, LaBenite Riverfront Park. dancefestopia.com

Crossroads Music Fest, Sept. 10, Crossroads Arts District. cmfkc.com/tickets

Riverside Musicfest featuring Little River Band, Sept. 17, E.H. Young Riverfront Park. ticketmaster.com

PorchFestKC, Oct. 8, Valentine neighborhood. porchfestkc.com

Festival of Praise featuring Fred Hammond, Hezakiah Walker and more, Oct. 15, Music Hall. ticketmaster.com

Food and drink

Independence Uncorked Wine Festival, Sept. 10, Bingham-Waggoner Estate. independenceuncorked.com

KC Beer Fest, Sept. 10, Power & Light District. kc-beerfest.com

Village West WineFest, Sept. 17, Schlitterbahn Waterpark. villagewestwinefest.com

Shawnee Great Grillers Blues and Barbeque State Championship, Sept. 23-24, Shawnee Town. shawneegreatgrillers.com

Louisburg Ciderfest, Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2, Louisburg Cider Mill. louisburgcidermill.com

Botanical Brewfest, Oct. 8, Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. opabg.org

Lenexa Chili Challenge, Oct. 14-15, Old Town Lenexa. ci.lenexa.ks.us/parks

World Series of Barbecue, Oct. 26-30, Kansas Speedway. americanroyal.com

Other events

Kansas City India Fest, Aug 28, Overland Park Convention Center. iakc.org

De Soto Days, Sept. 1-4, De Soto. desotodays.com

Kansas City Irish Fest, Sept. 2-4, Crown Center. kcirishfest.com

Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival, Sept. 2-5, Independence Square. santacaligon.com

American Royal, Sept. 3-Dec. 4, American Royal Complex. americanroyal.com

Booms & Blooms Festival, Sept. 3, Powell Gardens. powellgardens.org

Kansas City Renaissance Festival, Sept. 3-Oct. 16, Bonner Springs. kcrenfest.com

Johnson County Old Settlers, Sept. 8-10, Downtown Olathe. johnsoncountyoldsettlers.com

Belton Fall Festival, Sept. 9-10, Main Street, Belton. mainstreetbelton.org

Grain Valley Fair, Sept. 9-10, Grain Valley Community Center. grainvalleychamber.org

Greek Festival, Sept. 9-11, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. greekfoodfest.org

Jesse James Festival, Sept. 9-10 and 15-18, Kearney. jessejamesfestival.com

Big Shoal Country Fair, Sept. 10, Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum. atkinsjohnsonfarm.com

Kansas City Cigar Festival, Sept. 10, Diebel’s roof. kccigarfestival.com

Missouri Baptist Children’s Home Apple Festival, Sept. 10, First Baptist Church, Raymore. mbch.org

Spinach Festival, Sept. 10, Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, Lenexa. lenexa.com/parks/festivals_spinach.html

Swift Mile street festival, Sept. 10, North Kansas City. eventbrite.com

Blue Springs Fall Fun Festival, Sept. 16-18, Downtown Blue Springs. bluespringsfallfestival.com

Fiesta Hispana, Sept. 16-18, Barney Allis Plaza. kcconvention.com/events

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

Waldo Fall Festival, Sept. 17, Waldo Area, 75th and Wornall. waldokc.com

Raymore Festival in the Park, Sept. 22-24, Raymore. raymorefestival.com

Liberty Fall Festival, Sept. 23-25, Liberty. libertyfallfest.com

Oktoberfest, Sept. 23-25, Downtown Lee’s Summit. downtownls.org

Fall Festival, Sept. 24, Downtown Overland Park. downtownop.org

Grand Festival of Chez les Canses, Sept. 24, Fort Osage. jacksongov.org

Harvest Festival and Chili Cook-Off, Sept. 24, Paola Town Square. paolachamber.org

Tobacco Festival, Sept. 24, Weston. westonmo.com

Wild West Days, Sept. 24-25, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm. mahaffie.org

American Indian Cultural Celebration, Sept. 25, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. nelson-atkins.org

Gladfest, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, Gladstone. gladstonechamber.com

Oktoberfest, Sept. 30, Shawnee Civic Centre. shawneegermanclub.org

Applefest, Oct. 1-2, Weston. westonmo.com

Dust Bowl Jamboree, Oct. 1, E.H. Young Riverfront Park. facebook.com/dust-bowl-jamboree-645069982271135

Fall Festival of Arts, Crafts & Music, Oct. 1, Missouri Town 1855. jacksongov.org

Greater Kansas City Japan Festival, Oct. 1, JCCC. kcjapanfestival.com

Harvest Moon American Indian Festival, Oct. 1, Osage Trail Station Neighborhood. harvestmoonfestivalkc.com

Harvest Celebration and Antique Tractor, Engine and Equipment Show, Oct. 1-2, Powell Gardens. powellgardens.org

Oktoberfest, Oct. 1, Commercial Street Mall, Atchinson. atchisonkansas.net

Waterfire, Oct. 1, Country Club Plaza. waterfirekc.com

Weston Irish Festival, Oct. 7-9, O’Malley’s Pub & Courtyard. westonirish.com

Friendship Fair, Oct. 8, Sylvester Powell Community Center. culturalcrossroads-kc.org

Harvest Festival, Oct. 8, Shoal Creek Living History Museum. shoalcreeklivinghistorymuseum.com

Shawnee Indian Mission Fall Festival, Oct. 8-9, Shawnee Indian Mission. kshs.org/shawnee_indian

Sprint Family Fun Days: Fall Festival, Oct. 8, Power & Light District. powerandlightdistrict.com

Glow: A Jack-O-Lantern Festival, Oct. 14-15, Powell Gardens. powellgardens.org

Dogtober Fest, Oct. 16, Kemper Outdoor Education Center. jacksongov.org

Pumpkins and Mums Fall Festival, Oct. 22, Hall of Waters Historic District, Excelsior Springs. visitexcelsior.com

Holiday Boutique, Nov. 3-6, Overland Park Convention Center. kcholidayboutique.com

Kansas International Film Festival, Nov. 4-10, Glenwood Arts Theatre. kansasfilm.com

Day of the Dead Festival, Nov. 6, Nelson-Atkins Museum. nelson-atkins.org