2021 Annual Events in Kansas City

Annual Events in Kansas City

Note: due to the pandemic, some area events listed on this page have been postponed or otherwise affected. We recommend confirming these details directly with event organizers before proceeding with plans. 

From craft beer festivals to holiday lightings and everything in between, mark your calendar with some of Kansas City's largest and most unique happenings on tap for the year.

January | February | MarchAprilMay | JuneJuly | August | September | October | November | December 
Click on one of the months to jump to the section.


Every Month

First Fridays in the Crossroads District

First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District

No First Friday is the same thanks to an eclectic mix of art galleries, boutiques, food trucks and more. This free, late-night event offers something for everyone in one of Downtown’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

 

First Weekends in the West Bottoms

Once home to Kansas City’s thriving stockyards, the West Bottoms now offers to a wide assortment of antique and vintage stores that invite visitors to search for kitschy-cool artifacts the first weekend of every month.

JANUARY

La Bodega

Kansas City Restaurant Week - Jan. 8-17, 2021

Dine well and do good during this 10-day, two-weekend event that highlights hundreds of the hottest restaurants in the city, each featuring special multi-course menus with portions of the proceeds benefitting area charities.

March

Big 12 Basketball in Kansas city

Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championships - March 10-13, 2021

The road to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship goes through Kansas City as Big 12 teams battle for conference supremacy. Between games, celebrate the history of hoops—and indulge your inner athlete—at the adjacent College Basketball Experience.

 

Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championships - March 11-14, 2021

The Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship returns to Kansas City as Conference teams battle for the coveted title. 

 

Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade - Cancelled for 2021

One of the country’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades features hundreds of floats proceeding through Midtown, ending in Westport, where the Celtic-themed revelry continues into the wee hours.

April

 

Kansas City FilmFest - April 12-18, 2021

Grab your popcorn and enjoy more than 100 local, regional, national and international films during this annual juried film festival. Taking place virtually in 2021. 

May

NASCAR at Kansas Speedway

NASCAR at Kansas Speedway - May 1-2, 2021

Head to Kansas Speedway for fast-paced NASCAR action—plus, with two weekends each year, fans get a double dose of high-octane fun.

 

Gatsby Days - May 1, 2021

Held in Excelsior Springs, this event explores the culture, glamour and history of the Roaring ‘20s with street artists, live demonstrations, music, vintage cars, fashion and more.

 

Fountain Day - May 4, 2021

Long-known as the City of Fountains, Kansas City kicks off waterworks season with an opening day celebration befitting its proud fountain heritage.

 

Turkey Creek Festival - May 15, 2021

This all-day event in Merriam, KS, includes everything from a pancake breakfast and a 5K to live music and a Kid Zone at the picturesque Antioch Park.

 

Kansas City Triathlon - May 16, 2021

KC's premier triathlon event kicks off the summer season at Longview Lake. Options include Olympic, Sprint and Relay distance options as well as a duathlon. 

 

Worlds of Fun

Worlds of Fun Season Opening - May 22, 2021

KC's popular amusement park opens for the summer with some of the region’s most thrilling rides.

 

Oceans of Fun Season Opening - May 29, 2021

The largest outdoor water park in the Midwest begins its summer season, stretching until Labor Day.

 

Harry's Hay Days - Postponed for 2021

The City of Grandview celebrates its Harry S. Truman legacy each year with Harry's Hay Days, complete with a parade, food and drink vendors, arts and crafts, live music and a beer garden.

 

Celebration at the Station - Postponed for 2021

Start your summer with the largest free Memorial Day weekend event in the Midwest. Against the majestic backdrop of Union Station, the Kansas City Symphony performs patriotic favorites with appearances from special guests, followed by fireworks to end the evening.

 

Tumbleweed - Postponed for 2021

One of the most renowned and popular traditional country music festivals in the nation, count on camping and country music at this two-day, three-night event in La Cygne, KS.

 

Polski Day - Postponed for 2021

From polka to pierogis, Polski Day is your source for all things Poland. Enjoy ethnic foods, beer, dancing, games and a Polka mass, all while celebrating the rich heritage and history of Kansas City, Kansas' Polish community.

June

Future Stages Festival

Hospital Hill Run - June 5, 2021

Featuring half-marathon, 5k and 10k distances, this Kansas City running tradition benefits Children's Mercy Hospital. Do you have what it takes to challenge "the thrill of the hill"? 

 

Future Stages Festival - June 12-13, 2021 (Virtual in 2021)

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts presents a free weekend of compelling performances, engaging youth-friendly activities and one-of-a-kind entertainment. 

 

Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle - June 25-26, 2021

Started in 1982, this Sunflower State competition attracts barbecue teams and cooks from all over the country to compete for the coveted title of Grand Champion of the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle, The Kansas State Championship. 

 

WaterFest - June 25-26, 2021

Waterfest is a fun-filled, family friendly event that is the largest annual festival in nearby Excelsior Springs, MO. Activities include live music, fireworks, a car show and other homespun traditions. 

 

Jazz Walk of Fame

Pay tribute to Kansas City’s iconic sound in this event that honors jazz artists by immortalizing their names in 30-inch bronze medallions embedded in the sidewalks on 18th Street in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District.

 

Boulevardia - Cancelled for 2021

Crown Center transforms into an all-senses destination during this favorite festival hosted by Boulevard Brewing Co., complete with food trucks, concerts, maker booths, a family carnival and, of course, beer stations that offer local, regional and national craft brews.

 

Old Shawnee Days - Postponed for 2021

Past meets present during this four-day event that celebrates the history of Shawnee, KS, with attractions including rides, music, games, historical reenactments and crafts.

 

Crown Center Antique Festival - Postponed for 2021

Dealers and visitors alike agree that this festival is one of the top antique shows in the Midwest, thanks in part to a dizzying array of wares ranging from furniture and jewelry to pottery and linens.

 

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival - Cancelled for 2021

To festival, or not to festival? At the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, that’s not even a question. Each year, the free festival features performances of a different Shakespearean masterpiece.

 

Vaile Strawberry Festival - Cancelled for 2021

The beautiful, historic Vaile Mansion hosts this annual event, which welcomes craft and antique dealers who set up their wares throughout the mansion—and, of course, strawberry treats as you shop.

July

KC Airshow

KC Airshow - July 3-4, 2021

Taking flight on Fourth of July weekend, this air spectacular in New Century, KS, features an annual lineup of star-studded aerialists, exhibits and other experiences. 

 

WeekEnder - July 9, 16, 23 & 30, 2021

Cap off your work week with this free event featuring top local bands and favorite food trucks. Then, finish the evening with a famous flick under the stars at Crown Center Square.

 

KC Fringe Festival - July 18-Aug. 1, 2021

There’s no better time to celebrate Kansas City’s vibrant creativity than during this 14-day showcase of local performing and visual arts.

 

Festival of Butterflies - July 22-Aug. 8, 2021

This perennial favorite at Powell Gardens. Step into the magical world of butterflies and enjoy opportunities to learn more about the fluttering creatures.

 

Grand Carnivale - July 24-Aug. 8, 2021

An immersive new summer experience that invites visitors to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes from cultures around the globe, including India, China, Italy, France and Germany—all, fittingly, at Worlds of Fun.

 

KC RiverFest 

Celebrate July Fourth in this festival at Berkley Riverfront Park, which begins with live music, activities and food and concludes with one of the largest fireworks shows in the Midwest.

 

Amelia Earhart Festival - Cancelled for 2021

Head to Atchison, KS, Amelia Earhart’s birthplace, for an annual celebration of the aviation icon packed with events, including live music, carnival rides, a food and crafts fair, aerobatic performances and the grand finale: a Concert in the Sky fireworks show.

AUGUST

Ethnic Enrichment Festival

Ethnic Enrichment Festival - Aug. 20-22, 2021

KC’s diverse cultures unite at this weekend extravaganza that includes food, dancing and music representing dozens of countries, as well as several ethnic groups recognized by Ethnic Enrichment Committee.

 

Planet Comicon - Aug. 20-22, 2021

Celebrate 20 years of superheroes, pop culture and more at KC’s largest and longest-running comic book convention and pop culture expo, featuring the best in comic books, fantasy, science fiction television and movies. 

 

Parkville Days - Aug. 20-21, 2021

The quaint riverfront community of Parkville, MO, celebrates its history and future with this annual family friendly festival, featuring crafts, carnival favorites and more. 

 

KC Pride

KC Pride - Aug. 21-22, 2021

See why The Advocate named KC Pride one of the top 10 LGBTQ festivals in the nation. Throughout the weekend event, celebrate inclusion, diversity and pride with live music and performances from local and national headliners. 

 

Jazzoo - Aug. 27, 2021

Creative black-tie attire makes for an unlimited number of fashionable photo ops in this annual fundraiser at the Kansas City Zoo. Funds raised support the Zoo Learning Fund and help buy food for animals.

 

Heart of America Hot Dog Festival

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum welcomes hot dog aficionados to sample delicious ballpark franks, including the signature Kansas City Monarch Dog, plus live music and admission to the museum.

 

Charlie Parker Celebration

Pay tribute to KC native Charlie Parker, one of the finest and most influential jazz musicians to ever play, at this 10-day event that features live music, public programs and more.

 

Middle of the Map Fest - Postponed for 2021

Immerse yourself in music, films and forums during Middle of the Map Fest, quickly becoming one of Kansas City’s favorite local events.

SEPTEMBER

Kansas City Irish Fest

Kansas City Irish Fest - Sept. 3-5, 2021

Celebrate KC’s Celtic heritage with three days of live music, special performances, locally provided libations, activities for young ones, tastings and plenty more in this beloved Crown Center bash. 

 

Santa-Cali-Gon Days - Sept. 3-6, 2021

This Independence festival commemorates the origin of the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails during westward expansion. Browse more than 500 artisan, craft, food and commercial vendor booths, as well as a carnival, a 5K and more.

 

Kansas City Renaissance Festival - Sept. 4-Oct. 17, 2021 (weekends)

Step back in time at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, a medieval-themed village home to jousting knights, thrill-seeking acrobats and beautiful maidens.

 

Dancefestopia - Sept. 9-12, 2021

Nestled in rolling hills, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest and pristine lake water, Dancefestopia has become one of the largest camping and music festivals in the nation, featuring some of the most prominent DJs in the world.

 

Art Westport - Sept. 10-12, 2021

Local artists gather in KC’s oldest neighborhood for Art Westport, a weekend fair that showcases original art, jewelry, fine crafts and more.

 

Jesse James Festival - Sept. 11 & 16-19, 2021

As the birthplace of the notorious outlaw, Kearney, MO, goes all out every September with a multi-day event featuring a parade, carnival, fishing tournament and more.

 

American Royal World Series of Barbecue

American Royal World Series of Barbecue - Sept. 16-19, 2021

The world’s largest barbecue competition includes live performances, a festival full of entertainment and plenty other activities, making it one of fall’s signature events.

 

Brookside Art Annual - Sept. 17-19, 2021

The Kansas City art festival season kicks off with the Brookside Art Annual, when the tree-lined streets of charming Brookside transform into al fresco gallery spaces, plus tasty treats and live music.

 

Halloween Haunt - Sept. 17-Oct. 31, 2021

Ghosts, ghouls and other creatures of the night roam freely through Worlds of Fun during Halloween Haunt, which showcases the scarier side of the amusement park.

 

Deaf Cultural Festival - Sept. 22, 2021 (Virtual in 2021)

Visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for a celebration of Deaf culture – a festival honoring the rich history of Deaf art, identity, and empowerment. Encounter and learn about American Sign Language through hands-on art activities and live entertainment from distinctly Deaf perspectives.

 

Plaza Art Fair

Plaza Art Fair - Sept. 24-26, 2021

This nationally recognized, nine-block art event at the Country Club Plaza typically draws crowds of more than 250,000 who gather for art, live music and food and drinks from a variety of KC restaurants.

 

Camp Leavenworth - Sept. 24-25, 2021

Celebrating the people of Leavenworth, KS, this free street festival features two days of national music acts, fireworks, food trucks and more. 

 

Latino Arts Festival - Sept. 25, 2021

Local singers, artists, dancers, poets and others take center stage at this quickly growing regional celebration of Latino culture and creativity. 

 

Louisburg Ciderfest - Sept. 25-26 & Oct. 2-3, 2021

Head to Louisburg Cider Mill for the annual Ciderfest, where guests are invited to watch how apples are pressed into cider, sample cider donuts and other treats, plus live music and activities for young ones.

 

Fiesta Hispana 

Sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, this festival celebrates Hispanic culture which features great music, food, dancing and exhibits.

OCTOBER

KC Oktoberfest

KC Oktoberfest - Oct. 1-2, 2021

Head to Crown Center to experience a two-day celebration of KC Bier Co. craft brews, traditional European food, engaging games, activities and Bavarian-style entertainment.

 

WaterFire Kansas City - Oct. 2, 2021

One of the most beautiful nights of the year is WaterFire, when the internationally renowned art installation floats serenely down KC’s Brush Creek in a fiery, lighted show not to be missed.

 

Missouri Town 1855 Festival of Arts, Crafts and Music - Oct. 2-3, 2021

Enjoy wagon rides, reenactments, crafts and more in this annual festival that takes place at Missouri Town 1855, where guests can travel back in time to experience life in the 1850s.

 

American Royal Livestock Show - Oct. 5-24, 2021

With roots dating back to 1899 and boasting a reputation as one of the toughest competitions, this iconic event draws thousands of owners, breeders, future business/agriculture leaders and animal enthusiasts from across the country. 

 

Festa Italiana - Oct. 8-10, 2021

Eat and drink your way through Italy—no passport required! Italian culture takes center stage in this event at Zona Rosa, which includes food, a beer garden, a car show and novelty booths.

 

KC Marathon 2021

Garmin Kansas City Marathon - Oct. 16, 2021

Featuring several distances, the Marathon is the area's largest and most exciting annual race event, taking runners on a tour through the coolest neighborhoods and past some of KC's most iconic landmarks, including the National WWI Museum & Memorial, the Country Club Plaza, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and more.

 

Snake Saturday Parade & Family Fun Festival - Oct. 23, 2021

Usually a March event, his Northland tradition is a popular part of the St. Patrick’s Day season in Kansas City. Entertainment for all ages abounds throughout North Kansas City, starting with a parade and ending in a carnival.

 

NASCAR at Kansas Speedway - Oct. 23-24, 2021

Head to Kansas Speedway for fast-paced NASCAR action—plus, with two weekends each year, fans get a double dose of high-octane fun.

 

Boo at the Zoo

Break out your best costume and spend the day trick or treating at the Kansas City Zoo. Kids will also love the Halloween-themed activities that offer plenty of treats—no tricks here!

 

Brew at the Zoo and Wine Too 

Enjoy an evening of live music, delicious bites and a variety of beer and wine from local breweries and vineyards.

 

Weston Applefest

Explore historic Weston, MO, as arts and crafts booths line Main Street, touting a tempting range of apple delicacies, from dumplings and pies to cookies, all made by members of local churches. 

 

Wild West Days 

Experience the excitement of the Wild West during this Olathe event at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm, a working 19th-century farm complete with oxen, horses and other livestock.

NOVEMBER & DECEMBER

Day of the Dead | The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) - Nov. 1, 2021 (Virtual in 2021)

A lively festival celebrating Mexican art and culture, including an altar installation, features art activities, live music entertainment and Mexican food. A fall tradition for many families.

 

Festival of Lights - Nov. 11-Dec. 30, 2021

More than 20 miles of holiday lights comprise installations that highlight the natural forms of Powell Gardens’ tree collection, show off the exceptional architecture and landscape design of the gardens, and with Instagram and holiday card-worthy photo stops along the way. 

 

Holiday Boutique - Nov. 18-21, 2021

The Overland Park Convention Center becomes a winter wonderland of merry shopping and gift-giving. Browse hundreds of vendors and cross off everyone on your list. 

 

KC Rep presents A Christmas CarolNov. 19-Dec. 26, 2021

Even Ebenezer Scrooge would appreciate the holiday spectacular at Spencer Theatre, a metro tradition for more than 40 years. 

 

Hall of Fame Classic/Hall of Fame Weekend - Nov. 22-23, 2021

Hosted by The College Basketball Hall of Fame, this tournament at T-Mobile Center kicks off a new season of collegiate basketball competition. On the same weekend, six to eight basketball players and coaches from around the country are inducted in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame each year. 

 

Plaza Lights - Nov. 25, 2021 - mid-January 2022

Timeless in every way imaginable, the Plaza Lights are a quintessential KC holiday tradition—and a delightful reminder of the Spanish-inspired Plaza’s undeniable beauty.

 

Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake 

Gather the whole family and head to Longview Park & Lake for this drive-through holiday pastime that touts colorful displays conjured up by more than 300,000 lights.

 

Crown Center | Holidays

Mayor’s Christmas Tree 

Crown Center’s magnificent centerpiece towers more than 100 feet high and is illuminated by more than 7,200 white bulbs, proving it a proud showcase of Kansas City’s seasonal spirit.

 

The Nutcracker - Dec. 3-24, 2021

Performed by the Kansas City Ballet, this iconic, long-running show is a veritable holiday favorite in the Kansas City region.   

 

Crown Center Ice Terrace Opening

The Crown Center Ice Terrace is a favorite family destination during the winter months thanks to the outdoor skating rink that offers fantastic, festive views.

 

Northern Lights | Zona Rosa

Northern Lights at Zona Rosa

The spirit of a 1950s Downtown Kansas City tradition lives on as several lighted crowns are suspended over the streets of Zona Rosa, plus the official arrival of the holiday Fairy Princess and Santa Claus.

 

A Legendary Light Show at Legends Outlets

Fans of holiday lights and music will love this show at Legends Outlets, where the outdoor outlet mall dazzles with dancing lights synchronized to holiday music every 15 minutes.

 

City Lights

Several Downtown buildings light up the winter skyline, with the notable centerpiece being the front façade of the 22-story Marriott Downtown, featuring a synchronized display of 30,000 bulbs and 16.7 million colors.