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Weekend Possibilities | Free State Festival, Pride Night and Sunflower Festival Hot Fun in the Summertime

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Above image credit: Director and co-writer Kevin Willmott with cast members of "The 24th," showing Sunday at Free State Festival. (Courtesy | Vertical Entertainment)
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4 minute read

Ice cream, sunflower fields, food trucks and live in-person entertainment await fun-seekers during summer’s first full weekend.

Friday, June 25

Cinephiles chomping at the bit for the big screen and bucket of popcorn should make the trip to Free State Festival this weekend in Lawrence, Kansas. This year’s festival will feature a series of films served up in outdoor drive-in venues “cinema al fresco.” A few highlights for the weekend’s showings include “For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close,” and “The 24th” from University of Kansas professor and filmmaker Kevin Willmott, who plans to hold a pre-show Q&A session. Be sure to check online for a full schedule of events, which are happening in multiple locations. The film showcase is free, though tickets are going fast.

4 – 7 p.m. Kansas City Ballet and Fairway Creamery are teaming up to put on a Nutcracker Ball Ice Cream Social Friday evening in Fairway, Kansas, 5938 Mission Road. Pro dancers will be at the ice cream spot handing out signed posters, flyers and answering questions from future ballet dancers. The Creamery is scooping a special Nutcracker Ball-inspired flavor Friday night only. The social is free to attend.

8 p.m. Get ready to sing the classics — ”Godspell” is at Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road. The award-winning musical, which tells the story of Jesus and his followers through a collection of parables from the Gospel of Matthew, will be presented in a concert-style performance. Stephen Schwartz’s musical will be staged through Sunday, June 27, featuring an all-Kansas City cast. Tickets start at $16.

Saturday, June 26

9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. There’s a group meeting at Outlaw Harley-Davidson, 3100 N.W. Jefferson St., in Blue Springs, Missouri, Saturday morning for the annual Ride to Fight Suicide. The motorcycle/Jeep/vehicle ride by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sets off at 11:15 a.m. and will travel throughout the city before returning to the dealership for a raffle drawing at 2 p.m. Drivers and passengers can register online for $30 and $20, respectively, before June 25 at noon. Registration on the day of the event is $35 for drivers and $25 for passengers.

Waterfest attendees can enjoy live music all weekend long in Downtown Excelsior Springs. (Courtesy | Visit Excelsior Springs)

10 a.m. Pride on The Vine 2021, an all-day Pride Month celebration in the 18th & Vine Jazz District, has a full schedule of events planned, starting with brunch specials across four neighborhood establishments. Bring a chair, because once you’re stuffed, there’s live music, street performances, family-friendly activities, a fashion show and much more that will roll into the early morning hours of Sunday. Tickets to attend Pride on The Vine are $10.

Noon – 9 p.m. The Waterfest Celebration is a go for Downtown Excelsior Springs, 201 E. Broadway. This weekend’s Waterfest brings inflatable playgrounds, funnel cakes, barbecue, fireworks, the annual pancake breakfast, vendors and plenty more to the town’s main drag. Be sure to check online for a full slate of events, including Saturday morning’s parade. Waterfest is free to attend.

7:30 p.m. Can’t wave that flag enough? It’s KC National Women’s Soccer League Pride Night Saturday night at Legends Field, 1800 Village West Parkway. A special promotional ticket package is available for anyone looking to watch Kansas City take on Washington and add to their soccer scarf collection. “Pride Pack” tickets start at $40 and include a “Love Is Love” rainbow scarf. Be sure to arrive early to get in on the pre-game fun cheering on the KC women before first kick at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 27

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. West Bottoms Heritage Days wraps up Sunday with Strawberry Swing makers, food trucks, music and live art. The free fest at 14th and Hickory streets will offer lunch options from Taste of Brazil, The What and Stairway to Cravin’, to name a few, plus live music from Kadesh Flow, Jessica Paige and The Grand Marquis. Spray KC will be on hand to help featured muralists paint massive works of art in four separate locations that will be representative of the historic area.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Instagram is waiting. There will be photo-ops galore, starting this weekend with Red Barn Ranch’s annual Sunflower Festival, 23111 S. Jefferson Parkway in Harrisonville. The sprawling field’s early bloomers set the scene for beautiful photography and an enjoyable afternoon on the ranch, where wagon rides, giant slides, MO Bros BBQ and live music should provide entertainment for the whole family. Tickets are $8 for those ages three and up. You can cut your own sunflowers for $1 per bloom.

Area singer-songwriter Sam Wells will take the stage Sunday night at Lemonad(e) Park as part of the Finest Folk lineup.

6:30 – 10 p.m. The world’s largest annual gathering for folk music is returning to Kansas City in 2022. Can’t wait? Folk Alliance International has teed up a teaser this weekend with Finest Folk Sunday evening at Lemonad(e) Park, 1628 Wyoming St. Featuring sets from The Matchsellers, Lyle Strickland, Sam Wells and Traditional Music Society, all proceeds will benefit The Village Fund, which provides emergency grant assistance to folk artists and independent folk music industry professionals experiencing financial hardship. Tickets are $20.

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