9 things to do in KC this weekend, September 29-October 2

The Violent Femmes will perform with the KC Symphony as part of a series featuring pop acts/Courtesy photo

Here are nine great things to do in Kansas City the weekend of September 29 to October 2, including the biggest barbecue in the world, a mashup of Oktoberfest and Dia de los Muertos and the Violent Femmes with the symphony.

American Royal World Series of BBQ

How many barbecue contests are there in the world? We don’t need to count—the American Royal’s World Series of Barbecue is the biggest. A longstanding Kansas City tradition, the World Series brings global competitors together with a backdrop of live music, kid-friendly fun, and of course, delicious barbecue at the Kansas Speedway.

Now through October 2. Kansas Speedway. americanroyal.com/bbq

¡Oktoberfiesta! Benefiting Mattie Rhodes Center

Boulevard’s Oktoberfiesta benefits the Westside neighborhood’s Mattie Rhodes Center with this event, a mashup of Oktoberfest and Día de Los Muertos traditions. Activities will include a family-friendly bingo game, food specials, live music from Mariachi Estrella KC and Masskrugstemmen steinhoisting competition.

Sunday, October 2 from 10 am until late afternoon. Boulevard Brewing Company. Free.

Boulevard’s Oktoberfiesta, courtesy photo
Weston Applefest

It seems like everyone in KC is looking for an excuse to make it up to the hills of Weston this time of year. Let Applefest be that excuse—a parade down the quaint Main Street rolls at 10 am on Saturday, followed by two days of craft vendors, food vendors, games for the kiddos and a variety of entertainment. Parking downtown is a challenge for Applefest, but you can park at the Weston Historic Orchard or Snow Creek Ski Area for $10 and catch a shuttle. 

October 1–2. Downtown Weston.

Lyric Opera of Kansas City Presents Carmen

Even after a century and a half, Carmen is still that femme fatale. The popular opera tells the story of an ill-fated romance, touching on themes of jealousy, obsession and bullfighting. Performed in the original French with English subtitles.

Friday, September 30 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 2 at 2 pm. Muriel Kauffman Theater.

Keith Urban

Keith Urban may be from New Zealand but he sings traditional Americana pop country as well as anyone. He’s perhaps best known for being the husband of Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman but, on his first world tour in four years, he’s playing the city’s biggest indoor venue.

September 29, 7 pm. T-Mobile Center. 

Living in Vitality Conference

Now in its twenty-fifth year, Advent Health’s annual conference aims to help attendees have a healthier, mind, body and spirit. This year’s breakout sessions include presentations on how big tech hijacks our attention (and how to fight back), the effect that stress has on the microbes in our gut and how to make the most of big transitions in your life.

September 30. 8 am-4 pm. Overland Park Convention Center.

Holiday Mart

Kick off the Christmas shopping season at the largest non-profit shopping event in the city. The Junior League of Kansas City’s annual holiday mart is in its thirty-fifth year and will have a large lineup of retailers ranging from Kendra Scott to Messner Bee Farm.

Thursday, September 29-Sunday October 2. Kansas City Convention Center.

Violent Femmes with the Kansas City Symphony

The Milwaukee acoustic punk-rock band of the eighties, the Violent Femmes, is joining the Kansas City Symphony for a full orchestra experience unlike any other. As one of the most successful rock bands of the eighties, the Violent Femmes released ten studio albums. Get ready for a long list of cult classics, including “Add It Up,” “Kiss Off,” “Gimme the Car” and many more. 

October 1. 8 pm. Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center. 


Stray Cat Film Center, the city’s artiest art house microcinema, screens this 2015 film that aims to be a modern-day vision of Mother Mary’s pilgrimage, with a woman crossing the scorched landscape of the American Southwest, to give birth to our savior in Las Vegas. The film is told entirely through movement and is acclaimed choreographer Celia Rowlson-Hall’s debut film.

Stray Cat Film Center, 1662 Broadway Blvd. 7 pm. $7.

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