Published December 1st, 2022 at 11:00 AM
December’s first weekend is packed with pre-holiday celebrations, from Christmas on The River in Parkville to Santa Paws at Crossroads Hotel.
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Creativity and engineering combine at Big Balloon Build KC, as artists from around the globe will descend on 18th and Vine District this weekend. More than 80 balloon artists have been hard at work all week for a trio of collaborative weekend events in the thick of extravagant balloon displays at the Gregg/Klice Center, 1600 E. 17th Terr. Be sure to check online for ticket pricing and details for the balloon-filled Soul of Santa Holiday Market, Adult Happy Hour Experience and Sunday’s ClockWork Noel Gala.
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. A three-story Christmas tree in the West Bottoms, 1401 W. 13th St., will glow for the first time this season Friday evening and a who’s who of holiday characters will be on hand for the occasion. Expect appearances from The Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, Santa and Mrs. Claus, plus artificial snow, area shops open for business, holiday music and dancing. The tree-lighting ceremony is free.
6 p.m. Christmas on the River provides an early chance to celebrate the holidays Friday evening in Parkville, 8701 McAfee St. There will be a letter writing station for delivery to the North Pole, a visit from Santa, plus festival treats, shopping, live entertainment and more. Fireworks go off at 8:45 p.m. Christmas on the River is free.
9 a.m. The United States will face Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup Saturday morning and Strange Days Brewing Co., 316 Oak St., will be open early for soccer fans looking to start their day with what should be an electric atmosphere – and maybe a few beers. The City Market brewery will have the game on multiple televisions and a projector. The U.S. hasn’t advanced to the World Cup quarter finals since 2002 – the team’s best finish ever.
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Phoenix Jazz Club will host an Anniversary Brunch celebrating nine years of Saturday jazz brunches in downtown’s Garment District, 302 W. 8th St. Enjoy a meal and tunes from Alex Abramovitz and His Swing’n KC Jazz Band starting at 10 a.m. sharp. Arrive early to get a table, a handful of special guests are expected to sit in with the band.
Noon – 10 p.m. There’s a St. Nicholas Day Celebration Saturday afternoon at KC Bier Co., 310 W. 79th St. The Waldo bierhalle and biergarten plans for special beer releases, children’s activities, holiday movies, music, character appearances and a selfie station. The St. Nick’s Day party is free to attend.
4 – 10 p.m. Belger Crane Yard Studios, 2011 Tracy Ave., will host a Holiday Open House and Studio Sale Saturday, promoting a “stress free” shopping experience. Stop by to check out works from dozens of local artists at a discounted price and chat with the makers themselves.
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. There’s an adorable photo opportunity for your four-legged friend just in time for sending out holiday cards Sunday at Crossroads Hotel, 2101 Central St. Santa Paws at the hotel will be set up to snap photos of your pup and Mr. Claus next to a 30-foot Christmas tree. Participants will get a photo, plus a digital copy and stocking stuffer pet treat. There’s a happy hour planned for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $50.
1 – 2 p.m. Local Kansas City skaters of all ages and abilities will star in The Story of the Nutcracker on Ice Sunday afternoon at Cable Dahmer Arena, 19100 E. Valley View Pkwy. Tickets to Kansas City’s only performance of the classic tale are $10. Children under the age of four get in for free.
7 p.m. A never-before-seen 1971 film, ”Neil Young: Harvest Time”, will be in theaters for two nights only Thursday and Sunday at Screenland Armour, 408 Armour Road. The documentary follows Young from his Northern California farm, to London and then back stateside to Nashville, where he recorded the iconic album “Harvest.” Tickets to Sunday’s showing are $15.
Clarence Dennis is audience and digital content strategist with Flatland.