The kick-off of the Chiefs season in a big game against the Cardinals, one of the city’s largest arts festivals and one of country music’s biggest stars at the T-Mobile Center make for a big fall weekend. (Oh, and there are gyros, too.)
The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra kicks off its fall season with Riff Generation, an improvisatory show—meaning this performance, and the ones that will follow the first weeks of October and November, are each one-of-a-kind. The show is at Medallion Theatre in the Plexpod Westport, meaning it’ll be easy to make a night of it on 29th Street.
September 9. 7 pm. Plexpod Westport.
One of the largest art festivals in the area, Art Westport annually draws thirty-thousand people to the streets of the city’s oldest neighborhood, where they can admire or purchase from regional artists selected by a jury.
September 9 from 3-9 pm. September 10 from 10 am-9 pm. Sunday, September 11 from 11 am-5 pm.
The sixtieth annual Greek Festival celebrates Greek culture and food. There’s traditional Greek dancing, an Orthodox church service, tours of the church and Greek food favorites like gyros, souvlaki and baklava.
September 9–11. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. greekfoodfest.org.
Celebrate Ameri’kana Music and Arts Festival
This family-friendly event is a free block party during the day and a ticketed concert at Grinders at night. It features national, local and youth performers, including Making Movies and Los Lobos, to celebrate the Black, Indigenous, immigrant and Latino heroes of American music.
September 10. Grinders. celebrateamerikana.com.
Johnson County Old Settlers Festival
Keep Johnson County’s oldest traditions alive at the Old Settlers Festival. Go to learn about Olathe’s history dating back to 1898, or just go for the free concerts. While maintaining some common elements of a county festival, like carnival rides and food vendors, Old Settlers also has an ice cream social, a flower show and a “gabfest” for members of the community to sit and chat about its past, present and future.
September 8–10. Downtown Olathe, johnsoncountyoldsettlers.com.
KC Symphony: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in Concert
The magic of Harry Potter’s sixth year comes to life at the KC Symphony with big-screen showings of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince accompanied by the transformative music of our very own world-class symphony orchestra. And who knows? Before you can say Felix Felicis, you might realize the music was the best part all along.
September 7–11. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Country superstar and American Idol judge Luke Bryan has been making music for twenty years, songwriting and singing country hits revolving around beautiful women and equally beautiful pickup trucks. Country girls, get ready to shake it for him.
September 8, 7 pm. T-Mobile Center.
Jesse James Festival
This multi-day, multi-weekend event in Kearney celebrates the rag-tag rebellious history of small-town Missouri with a parade, carnival, fishing tournament, “agricultural magic show,” festival dances, a rodeo with “mutton busting” for the children, demolition derby and, somehow, more.
September 9–10 and 16–18. Kearney. jessejamesfestival.com.
Twenty One Pilots
Columbus, Ohio, “rap rock” duo Twenty One Pilots has been cranking out drum-heavy melodic radio hits for the past decade. Don’t get “Stressed Out”—there are still tickets available for their nationwide The Icy Tour.
September 9, 8 pm. T-Mobile Center.
One of the most iconic boy bands of the nineties, brothers with long blonde hair and nearly identical baby faces, Hanson has been riding the “MMMBop” gravy train for decades. Now, they’ve founded The Hanson Brothers Beer Co. in their native town of Tulsa and occasionally go on tour to inspire a new generation of boy-now-men band fans.
September 10, 8 pm. Uptown.
Chiefs vs. Cardinals
The first game of the season for the Chiefs finds them facing the NFL’s oldest and most cursed team, the Arizona Cardinals, another squad with an MVP-caliber QB that had its playoff hopes crushed earlier than anticipated last year. Patrick Mahomes visits Kyler Murray in Glendale for this anticipated matchup. If you want a game-day atmosphere, head down to the Power and Light district, where the game will be broadcast on the largest big screen in the city at KC Live!
September 11, 3:25 pm. Free, all-ages.
KC Auto Show
After two years up on blocks, the KC Auto Show returns this weekend. Electric vehicles get a lot of attention this year as the show has an Electric Vehicle Experience, featuring several brands that are offering indoor ride-along. For those who will be sippin’ shale forever, the Kansas City Automotive Museum will also be showcasing classic and vintage vehicles.
September 8–11. 10 am-10 pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 10 am- 6 pm Sunday. Bartle Hall.
Lenexa Spinach Festival
Believe it or not, Lenexa was once known as the Spinach Capital of the World. Today, Popeye would surely be disappointed—unless he happened to sail in during the city’s annual celebration of its history.
Lenexa earned the label “thanks to a really amazing crop of spinach during the Great Depression during the times of drought,” according to Susanne Neely, the face behind the festival for the past ten years. Legend has it a “buyer from Chicago came to the Kansas City market looking for quality spinach” and was so “delighted” to find the quality product available in Lenexa that he bought as much as they could grow, rebounding their economy.
Popeye and Olive Oyl make an appearance, dressing the World’s Largest Spinach Salad, served in a bowl “the size of a kid’s swimming pool.” Festivalgoers compete in spinach recipe competitions, with dessert inviting some particularly innovative creations. Rock skipping, balloon artists, pedicabs and face painting provide a classic fall festival atmosphere.
September 10. 9 am–4 pm. Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, 87th Street Parkway & Lackman Road. Free. lenexa.com.