Favorite Annual Summer Events in Kansas City

Favorite Annual Events, Kansas City Summer Guide

We might be biased, but we’re pretty sure KC has some of the best festivals and family friendly events, especially in the summer. Mark your calendar for these favorite summer annual events in Kansas City you can look forward to every year.


MAY

Art Course Summer Session at Nelson Atkins (May 19-August 21) 

Art Course at the Nelson-Atkins is an artist-designed, mini golf experience located in the exquisite Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. Each hole on this nine-hole course presents a creative interpretation of a work of art in the museum’s collection. From May 19 to August 21, Art Course is open regular museum hours (Thursday – Monday weekly). A snack bar and picnic tables are available. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for kids, and are available in advance beginning May 10.

Kite Festival on the Prairie (May 13)

Families, bring your kites, and picnic blankets for a day on the prairie at the Overland Park Arboretum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pick up the shuttle at the parking lot and it will take you to the south end of the property. Or, take an adventurous hike through the woods to find your way there. This is a great opportunity to see and enjoy the prairie, perhaps for the first time. Enjoy food trucks, family activities and of course, fly your kites. This event is included with admission. Food trucks meals and snacks are available for an additional cost.

Celebration at the Station (May 28)

Kansas City’s favorite Memorial Day tradition! Join the Kansas City Symphony for Bank of America Celebration at the Station. The Symphony’s free concert event takes place Sunday, May 28, on the South Plaza of Union Station Kansas City and the North Lawn of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. The festivities begin at 5 p.m. and includes food trucks, live pre-concert entertainment on the main stage with Drive On and the Back Alley Brass Band, plus various vendors and booths in the Kansas City National Security Campus. The Kansas City Symphony also performs iconic patriotic works by John Williams, Aaron Copland and John Phillip Sousa, plus crowd favorites Armed Forces Salute and the 1812 Overture with live cannons. The grand finale features a stunning fireworks display accompanied by your Kansas City Symphony. It’s the perfect kick-off to your summer!

JUNE

Old Shawnee Days  (June 1-4)

The bands will be rockin’, kids will be smilin’, and the turkey legs will be smokin’ as Old Shawnee Days returns! Old Shawnee Days is FREE and open to the public. All performances are FREE! Any food/drink/vendor/ride purchases can vary in price. Don’t miss the parade on Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. Get the full schedule.

Festa Italiana (June 2-4)three kids in front of Festa Italian sign

One of Kansas City’s favorite festivals, Festa Italiana, the unique celebration of Italian traditions and Italian-American culture, will be June 2-4. This longtime local ethnic festival draws visitors from across metropolitan Kansas City and beyond. Enjoy an amazing assortment of Italian food favorites, great entertainment on the main stage all weekend, an Italian Motorsports Show and much more.

Prairie Village Art Show (June 2-4)

The Prairie Village Art Show is celebrating its 66th year of connecting the community to culture and creativity! The Shops of Prairie Village host 100 artists every year and attracts patrons from the entire Kansas City Metropolitan area. Learn more. 

Dragon Boat Festival – Brush Creek (June 10)

The Dragon Boat Festival returns to Brush Creek! Check here for updated details.

Great American Campout at Shawnee Mission Park (June 3)

Step away from the stresses of daily life and camp with us under the stars in Shawnee Mission Park.  Fee includes campsite, evening smores, bagel, juice and / or coffee the following morning.  One low price allows you to camp with your entire family, hassle free! Campers will need to bring their own camping gear and all other food and beverages (kid friendly, please).  Join us for some family fun!   Participants will receive 50% off their admission to the beach and Theatre in the Park’s Production of Freaky Friday. Learn more and register here.

 Need tips for camping with kids? We’ve got you covered.

Juneteenth Celebrations (June 3, June 17)

JunteenthKC encourages people of all backgrounds from Kansas City to learn about African American history and grow. Check out the cultural parade on June 3 and the Heritage Festival on June 17. Learn about all the events here.

Boulevardia (June 16-17)

Boulevardia is a unique beer, food and music festival. It’s our own country within a country — that just happens to be in Kansas City. No passport needed. Experiences include live music, bottomless brunch, taps and treats, local food tastings and vendors.

Make Music Day KC (June 21)

Make Music Kansas City is a live, free musical celebration on June 21, the longest day of the year, with concerts on streets, sidewalks, venues and parks across the city! Completely different from a typical music festival, Make Music is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician — young and old, amateur and professional, of every musical persuasion — pours onto streets, parks, plazas, and porches to share their music with friends, neighbors, and strangers. All of it is free and open to the public. Learn more.

Junebug Ball at Deanna Rose Farmstead (June 20)

Dress up as your favorite bug and help celebrate the benefits of insects, spiders, and other garden friends at this annual favorite. There will be assorted crafts, activities, and games to keep you buzzing while learning about the wonderful world of bugs. Don’t miss these Hidden Gems at Deanna Rose, secrets you might not know, even as a regular.

Stems: A Garden Soiree (June 24)

SIP wine. TASTE delicious food from top restaurants and caterers. ENJOY art, music, fireworks, beautiful surroundings, and more. MEET friends at the networking event of the summer – the place to see and be seen. SUPPORT a vision of recreational and cultural enrichment and inspiration for present and future generations at the Overland Park Arboretum. Get tickets here.

JULY

Fourth of July in Kansas City

Don’t miss our annual guide to 4th of July celebrations across the metro area, with tips for planning ahead with your family in mind. The updated guide will be published in early June!

Festival of the Butterflies – Powell Gardens (July 19-August 6)

Festival of Butterflies invites nature enthusiasts of all ages to celebrate the Midwest’s most whimsical pollinator at Powell Gardens. Spend a day outdoors exploring tropical and native butterflies alongside stunning botanic displays. This festival is a Kansas City family-favorite! 

Grand Carnivale at Worlds of Fun (July 22 – August 6)

Experience how the world kicks up its heels at our day-to-night, larger-than-life cultural celebration. You’ll be transported to AMAZING locales far and wide with authentic entertainment, delicious tastes and sips, lively games, unique crafts and traditions from nations spanning the globe. Take in the extravagant sights and sounds of our nighttime Spectacle of Color Parade, a glittering sensory spectacular of lavish floats, interactive street performers and pulsing rhythms. As the parade concludes, thunderous music builds to a crescendo and the King of Carnivale kicks off a street party filled with entertainers, an interactive dance party, scrumptious eats and so much more. Check out our tips for attending with kids.

Georgia’s Chicken Run (July 29)

On your mark…get set…go. Lace-up those shoes for Georgia’s Annual Chicken Fun Run/Walk at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead! Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m., races start at 8 a.m. Girls and boys will run/walk separately in each division except the babies and adults. Each registered runner will receive a race t-shirt, a goodie bag, and a medal to show off the achievement. Trophies will be awarded to the top three in each category. This is a great family summer activity!

AUGUST

Parkville Days (August 18-20)

One of downtown Parkville’s largest events, the Parkville Days festival features a variety of family-friendly entertainment. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy live music along the Missouri River and on Main Street. The Evans Midland Empire Carnival is open all weekend, starting Friday at 6 p.m. Browse and enjoy arts and crafts, retail, food, and specialty booths. Participating downtown shops will host their “end of” sales and specials and much more! Admission is free.

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Sarah McGinnity
Sarah grew up in Manhattan, Kansas (Go Cats!), she moved to Minnesota where she met her husband, Shea. Realizing how much she hated snow in May, she convinced him to move to Kansas City in 2010. Together they have lived in Midtown, Waldo, the Plaza, and now Overland Park. Sarah is mom to 10-year-old, Henry, 7-year-old Clark and 5-year-old Lucy. She has her master’s in urban administration and is passionate about making Kansas City a more equitable and supportive community. In between the crazy, she likes to drink coffee, run, hike, travel as much as possible, and experience all things Kansas City!