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The Heart of America Hot Dog Festival & Other Weekend Possibilities

A trio of Coney dogs. Hot dogs are the stars of this weekend. (Photo: Jonathan Bender I Flatland)
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The hot dog takes center stage this Saturday from 12 to 10 p.m. when the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (1616 East 18th Street) hosts the Heart of America Hot Dog Festival.  The outdoor fest will have live music, games, and a host of signature dogs: the Royal Frank is topped with Gates BBQ sauce, bacon, shredded cheddar, yellow mustard, and red onions on a toasted bun, while the Monarch is a jumbo dog topped with pulled pork.

Tickets are $10 in advance ($5 for children under 12 years old) and $20 ($10 for children under 12 years old) at the door. Children under five years old are free with a paid adult admission. Advance tickets also include a hot dog, soft drink and admission to the NLBM.

Love margaritas? You’re not alone. The Pitch’s third annual Margarita Wars is tonight from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at The Waldo Pavilion (7421 Broadway Street). Sample margaritas and snack on bites from Blue Bird Bistro and Grace’s Best Cookies.Tickets are $25.

The eighth annual UNICO Microbrew Festival is Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m. at Zona Rosa. Each ticket comes with a commemorative glass and there will more than 50 brews to sample. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

One of California’s finest exports will be on full display at Bier Station (120 E Gregory Boulevard) on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. In honor of Ballast Point Brewing’s 20th anniversary, they’ll have 16 Ballast Point taps, along with six special releases. The Tap Takeover includes Calm Before the Storm (a cream ale with coffee and vanilla) and BP Special.

Get in touch with your 12-year-old self at the SwiftKC Downhill Derby. The free event, put on by Swift to Care, is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Roanoke Park (3601 Roanoke Road). In addition to watching 20 gravity cars make their way downhill, you can tip one back in the beer garden. The event is put on to raise funds for the Children’s Mercy Transport Team.

Bring a notebook, would-be block-party-throwers. The Kansas City Artists Coalition is throwing a proper Block Party tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. on the street and in the galleries at 201 Wyandotte. An hour after the opening reception, there will be food from The Farmhouse (you’ll have to buy it), live music from Cachecanto (you can listen for free), woodblock printing, and live drawings by Pop Up Charlie.

Feel the rhythm. Feel the rhyme. Come on Overland Park, it’s bobsled time. On Saturday, Downtown Overland Park and Johnson County Library present a free outdoor showing of Cool Runnings in Santa Fe Commons Park (8045 Santa Fe Drive)Gracie Sham performs at 8 p.m. and the movie will follow.

The Missouri State Fair started earlier this week, but you’ve got plenty of time to get your fill of fair fare. You can sip on Missouri wine, watch a tractor pull (Sunday) and learn everything you need to know to run a farm (even if you never plan on leaving your Google Fiber-enabled apartment). The festival runs through next Sunday.

— Jonathan Bender writes about food trends and is the author of “Cookies & Beer” and “Stock, Broth & Bowl.” Follow him on Twitter @jonathanbender.

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