Published June 29th, 2023 at 11:00 AM3 minute read
Can’t wait until the Fourth of July? Kansas City and the surrounding area have some options for early Independence Day celebrations.
5 p.m. The Kansas City Reggae Music and Jerk Festival will get the weekend going at Berkley Riverfront Park, 1298 River Front Drive. The festival promoting cross-cultural experience and understanding will have a full schedule of live music, an arts and crafts village, food from around the world and plenty of peace and love. Tickets are $20.
8:30 p.m. Theatre in the Park will debut “13” on the outdoor stage in Shawnee Mission Park, 7710 Renner Road, Friday night. The musical and its score from Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown is about a 13-year-old child who recently moved from New York City to a small Indiana town following his parents’ divorce and the desire to fit in. The entire cast of the coming-of-age tale is under the age of 13. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for kids 4-10.
9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Two days of the 4th of July on Main celebration are scheduled in Belton, Missouri. Main Street is making way for local vendors, food trucks, a patriotic parade, live music, fireworks, a bouncy house, children’s activities and more. Be sure to check out the full schedule of events online in advance. The two-day festival is free to attend.
2 p.m. Red, White and BOOMbox is shaping up to be a party Saturday afternoon at KC Live! at Power and Light, 13 Grand Blvd. Local DJs will be in the booth all day. Organizers plan for games, contests, drink deals and more. The party is free to attend and restricted to those 21 and older.
5:30 p.m. Independence, Missouri, 937 W. Walnut St., is lighting the fuse on its Independence Day Celebration Saturday evening. Come for the city’s celebration early for food trucks and fun and games set up across the space. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. There is no admission fee.
6:30 – 10 p.m. There is an old-fashioned small town Independence Day Celebration and Parade Saturday evening in downtown Weston, Missouri. Thirty miles northwest of Kansas City, the celebrations start with a children’s parade featuring bikes, scooters and wagons decorated for the occasion. Once on Main Street, you will find hot dogs, tacos, shaved ice and ice scream, as well as the Holliday Distillery Street Dance. Fireworks go boom when it gets dark. Bring a lawn chair or blanket.
8:45 – 11 p.m. How about a movie under the stars? The Backyard Movies series at Screenland Armour, 408 Armour Road, continues Saturday night with a screening of “Jaws” (1975). The outdoor cinema at Screenland has full access to concessions and indoor restrooms. No outside food or drink is allowed. Backyard movies are $5 plus processing fees.
11 a.m. Free State Festival 2023 concludes Sunday with screenings and discussions across multiple Lawrence, Kansas, locations. The film festival’s final day kicks off with the free “Musings, Mimosas & Muffins: An Interdisciplinary Arts Panel” by Lawrence Talks. Three short film screenings and filmmaker Q&As will follow. Check out the full schedule and program descriptions online in advance. Ticket prices vary.
1 p.m. SERV, 9051 Metcalf Ave., and 90.9 The Bridge are joining forces for Summer Smash Sunday afternoon at the new Overland Park bar and restaurant-Pickleball concept. Reserve a court for a match or two and pick from six different eateries throughout the space, all while The Bridge spins its Top 909 Songs of All Time playlist. The Phantastics take the SERV stage for a free live performance at 7 p.m. Court reservations are $20 or $40, depending on when you play.
4 – 8 p.m. Just in time for the cookout, Missouri Valley Sundays from the Kansas City Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., will revisit the legacy of the godfather of KC barbecue. Henry Perry: Kansas City’s Barbecue King with local historian Michael Sweeney will preview a new historical assessment of the life and career of the man tied to the origins of both Arthur Bryant’s and Gates Bar-B-Q. There is no admission fee. An RSVP is required.
America’s 247th birthday party is Tuesday and there will be plenty of area fireworks displays to honor the occasion. Here are a few of Flatland’s picks. (Start times are approximate)
Northeast Johnson County Fireworks Show — Bishop Miege High School, 5041 Reinhardt Drive, 9:45 p.m.
Parkville 4th of July Celebration — English Landing Park, 8701 McAfee St., 9:30 p.m.
Olathe Red White & Blue — College Boulevard Activity Center, 11031 S. Valley Road, 9:45 p.m.
Overland Park Star Spangled Spectacular — Corporate Woods Founders’ Park, 9711 W. 109th St., 10 p.m.
Clarence Dennis is audience and digital content strategist with Flatland.