Lee's Summit Journal

LS Downtown Days aims to please all ages

During Friday evening’s Downtown Days carnival, Evelyn and Arianna McCord (left to right, foreground) and Silas Smith shared a happy caterpillar ride.
During Friday evening’s Downtown Days carnival, Evelyn and Arianna McCord (left to right, foreground) and Silas Smith shared a happy caterpillar ride. Special to the Journal

When LeAnn and Chris Keck went to their first Downtown Days around 10 years ago, it was just the two of them.

On Saturday, they brought their kids to the event to enjoy rides and games.

“We were able to go when we didn’t have kids, and now we can bring the kids for snacks and rides,” LeAnn Keck said. “I love how the festival has something for everyone.”

That’s a big goal for organizers, said Julie Cook, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street events and promotions director.

Downtown Days Festival drew about 90,000 people to Lee’s Summit over the weekend, with live entertainment, carnival rides, a variety of food vendors and handcrafted goods over the course of three days.

Festival organizers ensure there are activities for people of all ages. The free music performances, Sports Zone and Kids Street are the highlights of entertainment at the festival, Cook said.

“It’s great to see the community come and embrace the festival,” Cook said. “It’s an undertaking we couldn’t do without volunteers and community members who support the event.”

The event is also a destination for people from all around the area. Ashlie Bennett of Kansas City brought her daughters to the festival, and was looking forward to the live music.

“I love being a part of the community and taking my kids to all the fun things to do here,” Bennett said.

Local artists’ booths at the event showcased the talent of area artists and artisans. Chad Collins and his wife Megan Jones displayed work from their illustrated pottery business, Kestrel Clay, at Downtown Days for the first time. The couple merges their talents of illustration and pottery to create hand-painted cups and vases from their home in Kansas City.

“Pottery is a way for me to connect with people,” Collins said. “This is something that lasts forever, and is a part of someone’s life. My art can live way beyond me. It’s something that transcends time, has meaning and can relate to people in many ways.”

The nonprofit Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street uses funds from the festival to host 100 days of free community events throughout the year. This year’s estimated profit is $150,000, Cook said.

“Our community makes all the events possible by attending the festival,” Cook said. “It’s nice to have people supporting the event while having fun and giving money back to the community for future events.”

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