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Fringe Fest Getting ‘Back Off Ground’ with High-Rise Fundraiser

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2 minute read

By Kevin Collison

After a Covid shutdown that disrupted Fringe Fest, forcing the edgy, annual arts festival to lay off employees and go virtual, the organization, according to its executive director, is ready to “get back off the ground to being a live festival again.

Literally.

For the first time in its 16-year history, Fringe Fest will be holding a fundraiser Aug. 28 and it’s definitely airborne–as in 10 stories atop the historic Netherland hotel building in midtown near 39th and Main.

Participants who sign up to pledge money to Fringe Fest will rappel off the side of the Netherland with the help of Over the Edge, a professional rappelling team from Canada, and descend to a DJ-fueled party in the courtyard below.

Participation is open to the first 75 applicants who raise a minimum of $1,000. Proceeds are tax-deductible and benefit the KC Fringe Festival, Kansas City’s largest
celebration of arts and culture, according to a release.

The newly-renovated Netherland building at 39th and Main is the tallest building in Midtown KC.

Kimmi said the unique fundraising event is a collaboration with her organization and Ilan Salzberg, co-developer of the Netherlands.

The historic building and its neighbor, Monarch Storage, were renovated into market-rate apartments and several Airbnb units a year ago, and are about 95 percent leased at this point.

“I knew about this group (Over the Edge) from other festivals that had done this successfully,” Kimmi said. “I reached out to Ilan.

“He loves the Fringe Festival and loved the co-promotion, and he’s all in.”

In a statement, Salzberg said the rappelling fundraising event for the Fringe Fest is expected to become an annual affair.

Cheryl Kimmi, executive director of Fringe Fest, takes in the view from atop the Netherlands building. She wants her organization to get back off the ground from Covid, literally, with its first fundraiser.

What better way of capturing the spirit of the Fringe than by quite literally embracing the fringe and going over the edge of the tallest building on the tallest hill in the absolute heartbeat of the city?” Salzberg said.

“We are overjoyed to be a part of what we hope becomes a tradition for Kansas Citians and raise funds for the arts at the same time.”

Over the Edge, which is based in Nova Scotia, has been doing rappelling fund raisers all over North America since 2008.

“They are very thorough and make sure the safety is good,” Kimmel said. “Their record is spotless. They’re professionals. They know what they’re doing.”

Rappelers will go down the south face of the Netherlands building, leaving from the rooftop bar managed by Canary Bar and Bistro.

This view will greet Fringe Fest rappelers when they go over the edge.

A party featuring DJ Leo will greet them at the bottom, and after the rappelling is over, the fundraiser will continue at the Canary rooftop as well. On-the-ground viewing will be free to the public.

The event will take place Saturday, Aug. 28, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m with some
celebrity descents the night before.

Over the Edge is presented in partnership with by Exact LLC, developer of the Netherland. Additional support is provided by Canary, Exchange Bank Foundation, Theater
League/Mark Edelman, Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation and Schlafly Beer.

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