4th of July weekend events in KC: Riverfest and Reggae fest return, big changes at Overland Park Star Spangled Spectacular

KC RiverFest/Courtesy photo

After a year with almost no Fourth of July events in Kansas City, the 4th is back in a big way. Whether you want to enjoy the classic down-home charms of RiverFest, immerse yourself in events focused on the sacrifices of our military at the World War I Memorial or soak up some irie vibes at the city’s long-running reggae festival, there’s someplace you want to be. Here are our events picks in KCMO and Johnson County.


Sunday, July 4th. 3-10 pm. Berkley Riverfront Park, 1298 River Front Drive, KCMO.

The city’s annual day-long festival on the Missouri River will return to Berkley Riverfront Park this year. It’s free this year, though they are accepting donations by barcode. There will be food trucks and music and, of course, the city’s largest fireworks display—it goes for twenty minutes and in the past has been advertised as the largest in the Midwest.

Stars and Stripes Picnic

Saturday, July 3, 3:30-10 pm. South side of the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

As you might expect from an event at a national war monument, this annual event has a strong military focus. There will be two dozen food trucks and thirty local vendors from the Strawberry Swing market plus live music and a performance by the Navy Parachute Team “The Leap Frogs,” who will, ahem, drop into the event. There are other Military displays scheduled, too, like a Navy Ceremonial Guard demonstration and a Navy brass band. Fireworks start at dusk (organizers say 9:40 pm) and will run for about 20 minutes.

Reggae festival

Noon-11 pm on Saturday, July 3 and noon-9 pm on Sunday, July 4. Volker Park (aka Frank A. Theis Park) at Oak Street and Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd., KCMO.

To enjoy the holiday weekend with an event that has a different flavor, Friends of Reggae International is again presenting a reggae festival at Volker Park, this year with fourteen groups including The Wailers. This festival has a long, storied history—the first version, in 1989, featured Lucky Dube, Fela Kuti, Jimmy Cliff and Richie Havens. More info at friendsofreggaeinternational.com.

City of Leawood

Sunday, July 4. 6-10 pm. Leawood City Park, 10601 Lee Blvd., Leawood.

Leawood’s classic city park celebration has carnival games, giant slides, food trucks and live music from local bands Mad Science and The Flashback. Oh, and fireworks, which begin around 9:30 pm. Note that parking is not available within Leawood City Park except for handicapped so you’ll have to park at the American Academy of Family Physicians (11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway, Leawood) or the courthouse (4201 Town Center Drive). Free bus transportation will be available to and from those parking lots.

Overland Park Star-Spangled Spectacular

Sunday, July 4. 9 pm. 9711 W. 109th St., Overland Park.

Corporate Woods has had a lot of changes recently, between the T-Mobile-Sprint merger and the pandemic. This year’s parred-down version of the Star Spangled Spectacular: “due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no entertainment or food or drink sales.”

Mission’s Summer Picnic

Saturday, July 10. Broadmoor Park, 5701 Broadmoor St., Mission.

OK, so it’s not technically Fourth of July—it’s the following week, on July 10—but Mission’s annual summer picnic will return, offering a second bite at the apple when it comes to local fireworks. Hot dogs, a firetruck offering a spray shower and live music are all on offer.

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