Best of September

2017 Edition

Celebrate autumn with apples, pumpkins, the American Royal and Fall Festivals for the entire Family. Discover our Top Picks for Family Fun in September as Kansas City welcomes apples, train rides, Disney on Ice and more!

SUNFLOWER TIP: Starting Labor Day Weekend, you can take photos in the Sunflower Fields at Grinter Farms (24154 Stillwell Rd. Lawrence, KS). It is expected that the sunflowers will be in bloom at this Kansas Landmark over Labor Day Weekend. See tremendous fields of gigantic sunflowers in full bloom - perfect for unforgettable memories and photos.

Apple Picking

Details: Read our local Apple Picking Guide for locations.

Why We LOVE It: It's apple picking season!  Each of the u-pick Apple Farms on our list is a locally owned family operation designed to provide the best in healthy produce and a great family outing. So, grab the camera and the cooler and take the kids on a trip they won’t forget! KC Apple Picking Guide.




American Royal BBQ

Details: American Royal BBQ Aug. 31- Sept. 3 at Kansas Speedway (400 Speedway Blvd Kansas City, KS).

Why We Love It: The American Royal World Series of Barbecue® is a longstanding tradition in Kansas City. 2017 will mark the 38th year of fire and smoke! Competitors from around the world join in the world’s largest barbecue competition to be crowned the grand champion in the Invitational Competition, Open Competition, Sides Competition and Kids Que! Labor Day weekend will host the largest and most pristine barbecue competition in the world. The American Royal is excited to bring the biggest and best party in Kansas City back to the Kansas Speedway. This year’s event will not only feature the largest barbecue competition in the world, but also offer new public programming including: opportunity to taste great BBQ from Kansas City restaurants, buy BBQ merchandise, enjoy a family-friendly carnival, and relax in a beer/cocktail garden while listening to local bands perform on Friday and Saturday. The Barbecue is the place to be Labor Day weekend. Mark your calendars and we'll see you at the speedway for a smoky finish to summer! Get ready for a smoky finish to the summer - The 2017 American Royal World Series of Barbecue® will be held Labor Day weekend at the Kansas Speedway. Close out your summer the best way Kansas City knows how: with friends, family, great food and drink, and a cloud of smoke rising over the party.

Between the Lines

Details: Between the Lines Sept. 8 - Oct. 1 at Spencer Theatre with KC Rep

Why We Love It: The KC Rep is one of our favorite parents' date night and moms' night out venues. Their next show, BETWEEN THE LINES is the story of seventeen-year-old Delilah McPhee, whose life is turned upside down by her parents’ divorce. Forced to move to a new town and start a different school, Delilah finds herself escaping into fiction, developing a literary crush on a handsome prince whose circumstances really… speak to her. This empowering new musical based on the bestselling book by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer asks: what happens when the line between fiction and fantasy becomes blurred with reality? Is it possible to live the story you want, if it’s not the story you’re in?





Parent Summit

Details: Parent Summit it Sept. 9 at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church.

Why We Love It: Your parenting situation is not unique. You, as a parent, are incredibly unique, and that’s how God made you. However, the situation you are in today as a parent is not unique. Someone else is, or has been, through the same struggles that you are going through.

When we experience those fiercely exhausting moments we need healthy, transparent, and authentic connection! We need someone to talk to and connect with. However, as a parent there are times we don't feel equipped to connect with others. Especially to the parents down the street who appear to have it all together. 

At Pleasant Valley, one of our values is seeing families strengthened. To better equip parents to lead their families in an increasingly difficult context, PV is hosting a parent conference on September 9 and 10, 2017. The Parent Weekend will bring national speakers to PV to help parents grow in raising their children. Whether you are a parent or are thinking about becoming a parent, this conference is for you!




Disney on Ice presents: Dream Big

Details: Disney on Ice presents Dream Big at the Sprint Center, Sept. 14-17. 

Why We Love It: Enter a world where adventure is awaiting and courage leads the way at Disney On Ice presents Dream Big. Through enchanted pixie-dust, Tinker Bell takes you on a journey of beloved Disney tales LIVE ON ICE. Make a splash with the fearless dreamer Ariel as she yearns to explore life above the waves. Watch Rapunzel, Cinderella and Belle as they learn about the power to make their own magic. Travel to the wintry world of Arendelle with sisters Anna and Elsa, and the hilarious Olaf from Disney’s Frozen as they learn that true love is the greatest magic of all. Be there to discover a whole new world with the daring Jasmine, and join Snow White, Aurora and Tiana as they remind you to always be strong, kind and fearless. High-flying jumps, daring acrobatics, breathtaking skating and lovable Disney friends make this an experience your family will never forget.


JCCC Performing Arts Series

Details: JCCC Performing Arts Series Shows.

Why We LOVE It: JCCC brings a wide variety of shows and programs to local audiences all season long. September marks the beginning of the new season. Enjoy these upcoming shows: Danielle Nicole concert, Sept. 1 on Nerman Museum Lawn, Recital Series-Fall 2017 Noon on Mondays and Tuesdays, Sept. 18 - Nov. 7, 2017 at Recital Hall in the Carlsen Center, New Dance Partners / The Ultimate Collaboration, Sept. 22-23 at Yardley Hall, and Kansas Cowboy Jubilee on Sept. 30 at Yardley Hall.


Gardens of Myth 

Details: Gardens of Myth thru October 22, 2017 at Powell Gardens.

Why We LOVE It: Goblins and fairies and trolls, oh my!  See these and other mythical creatures this summer as part of Gardens of Myth, which is making its garden debut at Powell Gardens! The exhibition is a collection of incredibly realistic sculptures depicting creatures of myth from around the world. They range in size from tiny fairies to an incredible 25-foot dragon! Each sculpture is hand made and painted by artist Kendall R. Hart and his team.  Sponsored by J.B. Reynolds Foundation.


Mummies of the World: The Exhibition at Union Station

When, Where, What: Mummies of the World: The Exhibition at Union Station

Why We Love It: The latest exhibit at Union Station allows visitors a unique opportunity to come face to face with the largest exhibition of real mummies and related artifacts ever assembled. The exhibit provides a window into the lives of ancient people from every region of the world including Europe, South America and Ancient Egypt, offering unprecedented insights into past cultures and civilizations. With over 1.6 million nationwide visitors experiencing Mummies of the World to date, the display at Union Station Kansas City is the regional premiere!




Belton Train Rides

Details: Regular rides Sat & Sun at 2pm thru Oct aboard the Belton, Grandview & KC Railroad Co. (502 Walnut, Belton, MO). The Belton, Grandview and Kansas City Railroad Co. is a short line passenger railroad and demonstration museum in Belton, Missouri, just south on US Hwy. 71 from the Kansas City Metro Area. The BG&KC offers excursions on our line running south from Belton on a 5 mile, 45 minute round trip. This is an all volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving rail travel and railroading. Tickets $10/regular train ride, $12/ice cream train. 2 and under ride free.

Why We LOVE It: All Aboard! The young, and the young-at-heart, LOVE trains... the charm, the fun memories and nostalgia. This summer, ride the rails with the Belton, Grandview & Kansas City Railroad. The organization is a non-profit volunteer organization run by volunteers like John, who happily tells every visitor his pay is the smile on the kids' faces... and do they ever smile!

Special Events at the Kansas City Zoo

Kansas City Zoo Penguin

Details: The Kansas City Zoo is open year-round. (6800 Zoo Dr., KCMO. 816.513.5800

Why We LOVE It: The Kansas City Zoo ( has introduced amazing improvements every year for the past several years, including Polar Bear Passage, Tiger Trail, Orangutan Canopy, the Tropics, the Helzberg Penguin Plaza, the African Sky Safari and more. The latest addition is one of the most playful and interactive. This spring, the zoo opened the brand new Billy Goats Gruff Yard. More than 20 goats inhabit this interactive, goat-friendly playground.

Mark your calendar for these fun events at the Zoo:  Dollar Days - September 2-4, Chiefs Day at the Zoo -  September 9. Zootastik Learning Fest: Butterfly Bonanza - September 9-10. Grandparents Day - September 10. Volunteer Open House - September 10. Artists for the Animals - September 16. Cheetah Run - September 16-17. Kansas City Zoo Run - September 23. Species Spotlight: Pachyderms - September 23-24. Humboldt Penguin March - September 23-24.  And more on the Zoo Calendar!


September Festivals

Fall Festival Season is here. There are dozens of festivals to enjoy for every interest. These are our top picks for fairs and festivals in Kansas City in September. Read our complete KC Fall Festival Guide here.


American Royal BBQ Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at Kansas Speedway, 400 Speedway Blvd, Kansas City, MO. Competitors from around the world join in the world’s largest barbecue competition to be crowned the grand champion in the Invitational Competition, Open Competition, Sides Competition and Kids Que! This year’s event will not only feature the largest barbecue competition in the world, but also offer new public programming including: opportunity to taste great BBQ from Kansas City restaurants, buy BBQ merchandise, enjoy a family-friendly carnival, and relax in a beer/cocktail garden while listening to local bands perform on Friday and Saturday. On Sat., Sept. 2 enjoy the Cowtown Family Fun Fest at the Royal! The Cerner Cowtown Family Fun Fest is a kid-friendly festival that gives families a place to have loads of fun during the popular World Series of Barbecue®. The Fun Fest will be held in the Speedway Fan Walk, located in the center of the infield, on Saturday, September 2, 2017 from 11:00am - 3:00pm. Activities will include: Sporting KC Soccer Field, Building center presented by JE Dunn, Mechanical Bull, Inflatable Obstacle Course, Face Painting/Airbrush Tattoos, Milking Station, Balloon Artist, Pony Rides, Petting Zoo, Entertainment from Drum Safari and Mr. Stinky Feet, Magic acts, and more. Come down for fun and entertainment for the entire family! All persons on the ground will need to have a ticket into the grounds at the event. Kid’s tickets are available online and kids under 5 are free. There is no additional ticket needed to enter the Cowtown Family Fun Fest.

Kansas City Renaissance Festival Sept. 2 - Oct. 15 - WEEKENDS at Kansas City Renaissance Festival, 633 N. 130th St., Bonner Springs. Travel back in time and partake in a Kansas City Tradition since 1977 exploring the enchanted 16-acre village. Pay heed to the exploits of Jousting Knights on thundering steeds, roam the village shops for unique crafts, delight in comedy, music, magic and more on our 20 stages of non-stop entertainment, and feast on delicious food and drinks from the far reaches of the globe! 

PNC kidFEST Sept. 2 at Science City, 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City. All ages welcome; Geared towards early childhood. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. FREE WITH SCIENCE CITY ADMISSION | SPECIAL PRICING FOR KIDS 3-12 ($7). A one of a kind family-friendly day full of science play geared toward early childhood learning!

Johnson County Old Settlers Days Sept. 7-9 in Downtown Olathe, Olathe. Crafts, carnival, live entertainment, food vendors and more.

Kansas State Fair Sept. 8-17 at Kansas State Fairgrounds, Hutchinson, KS. The Fair offers tremendous opportunities for commerce with over 1,000 commercial vendor locations; for competition, with close to 30,000 entries in various competitive exhibit departments; for education, through its Kansas’ Largest Classroom field trip program; and for entertainment with strolling and stage entertainment in addition to the national acts performing at the Nex-Tech Wireless Grandstand. 

Belton Fall Festival Sept. 8 & 9 at Olde Towne Belton, Main Street, Belton, MO. This is a family-friendly event with activities for all ages! There will be live music and entertainment, train rides, craft and vendor booths, food, wine and beer garden, and much more. The Belton Grandview, and Kansas City Railroad will give rides at a reduced price.

Greek Festival Sept. 8-10 at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 120th and Wornall, Kansas City, MO. The 56th Annual Greek Festival features live entertainment, music and delicious food.

Topeka Huff 'n Puff Balloon Festival Sept. 8-10 at Tinman Circle, Lake Shawnee, Topeka, KS. Vendors, activities, hot air balloons and fun.

Art Westport Sept. 8-10 at Historic Westport, Kansas City, MO. Top artists from around the Metro will line the streets of Westport showcasing their original art, unique jewelry, fine crafts and much more.

Kansas Book Festival Sept. 9, Kansas State Capitol, SW 8th Street and SW Van Buren St, Topeka, KS. The presenting authors will be inside the Capitol building, and our vendors/entertainment/children’s activities/book signings will be set up outside the Capitol, on the North side by the new Visitor’s Center.

Winefest: Independence Uncorked Sept. 9 at Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 313 W Pacific Ave, Independence, MO. Independence Uncorked will be one of the largest Missouri wine festivals in the state featuring over 20 Missouri wineries sampling several of their wines, a guest spirits distiller and 2400 attendees. The day will also feature art, music, beer, food booths and wine classes. The cost will be $25 in advance and $35 at the door and will include a wine glass and wine bag (bag for the first 1800 people) and the tastings. Bring your lawn chairs and spend the afternoon.

Kansas City Chalk & Walk Festival Sept. 9-10 at Crown Center Square, 25th & Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO. Artists start with empty squares of asphalt and by the end of the weekend, these squares will be transformed into magnificent pieces of artwork. 

Spinach Festival Sept. 9 at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, 87th Street Parkway and Lackman Road, Lenexa, KS. Free admission to event. Free satellite parking and free shuttle to and from event. Lenexa was hailed as the Spinach Capital of the World during the 1930s. It’s a fun-filled day of food, music, entertainment, arts and antique vendors. Experience the World’s Largest Spinach Salad, learn about our history, let your kids enjoy a variety of children’s activities or submit your favorite dish to our recipe contest - there’s plenty to do for everyone in the family!

Lenexa Spinach FestivalJewish Culture Fest Sept. 10 at The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, 5801 W 115th St, Overland Park, KS. Child $3 / Adult $6. For our 10th event, we're shaking things up a bit. It's all your favorite things about the Jewish Arts Festival, now with even more "Jewish."

Feast of Fountains: A Food Truck Fest Sept. 14 at The Concourse Fountain in Kessler Park, Benton Boulevard & St. John Ave., Kansas City, MO. Feast on delicious food offerings from KC’s favorite food trucks, enjoy live music from local popular bands, and other activities for the whole family. 

The Great Pumpkin Fest at Worlds of Fun Sept. 16 - Oct. 29 at Worlds of Fun, 4545 Worlds of Fun Dr., KC, MO. This family-friendly event is all treats and no tricks and features special Halloween-themed activities plus PEANUTS-themed rides and attractions in Planet Snoopy!

Hero Fest Sept. 16 at Linden Square, 602 NE 70th St., Gladstone, MO. There will be live music, food trucks, bounce houses and more. The City of Gladstone, in conjunction with the non-profit AKA ~ A Kind Act, wants to honor an area hero. The Hero Fest committee is currently taking applications for the Spc. Joel L. Bertoldie Hero Fest Award. Spc. Joel L. Bertoldie served in Kuwait and Iraq. He lost his life at age 20 when his convoy got hit by a road side bomb. Bertoldie’s family wants to carry on the memory of their fallen hero by honoring a hero in this community. Anyone who has risked their own life or safety to help another or shown consistent acts of selflessness qualifies for this award. The nominee can be a member of the military, police, EMS, fire department or a civilian. Nomination forms can be found at Entries are due by Aug. 15. The award recipient will be honored during the 2017 Hero Fest on Sept. 16.

42nd annual Friends of Shawnee Town Arts & Crafts Fair & Fall Festival Sept. 16 at Shawnee Town 1929 Museum, 11600 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS. Tickets / $1.00. Enjoy over 120 vendors, showcasing their hand made, homemade and re-purposed items. 

JCPRD's Park Palooza Sept. 17 at The Theatre in the Park, 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS. Ev­eryone is invited to the first ever Park Palooza at Shawnee Mission Park to enjoy family-fun, food, and entertainment! Taking center stage at The Theatre in the Park will be live local bands including Liverpool and Victor & Penny with the Loose Change Or­chestra. Exciting children’s performers such as Mr. Stinky Feet, H3TV, and Drum Safari will fill The Pavilion at TTIP with plenty of kid-friend­ly fun! 

The 86th Annual Plaza Art Fair Sept. 22-24, Country Club Plaza, 47th & Wyandotte, Kansas City, MO. The Plaza Art Fair encompasses nine city blocks and welcomes a crowd of over 250,000. Featuring 240 artists, the Plaza Art Fair is a top-ranked, national art event with three live music stages and over 25 featured restaurant booths.

Lee's Summit Oktoberfest Sept. 22-24, Downtown Lee's Summit, MO. Grab your lederhosen and dirndl and join 70,000 festival goers for this festival. Enjoy Kids Street, arts and crafts, German meals, beer and brat tents, the Biergarten, carnival, the Sportzelt, live entertainment, contests, a Rootbiergarten, home brew tasting, German dancers and much more. 

Wild West Days Sept. 23 - 24, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm, 1200 E. KANSAS CITY RD, OLATHE, KS.Entertainment from the Whip Guy, the Wicked Liars and more! Sample delicious food from the chuckwagons and vote for your favorite (Saturday only). Other activities may include: Visiting Cowboy Camps, Visiting Buffalo Soldiers, Take a stagecoach ride, Roping, Playing 1860s games, All live entertainment. Activities requiring an extra fee: Gold Panning, Branding, Leather Stamping, Learn to drive from Rocking M Miniatures,  Air-gun shooting gallery (ages 8 & up), Making an 'S' hook in the blacksmith shop (ages 8 & up).Saturday only: the Santa Fe Trail Rotary Club hosts Omelet Fest in the Heritage Center. Cost includes admission to Wild West Days. Admission is $5/person ages 5 & up; some activities require an extra fee. 

 Ciderfest Weekends Sept. 23 - Oct. 1, 14730 Highway K-68, Louisburg, KS. Here in Louisburg, Kansas, for two exciting weekends every autumn, Louisburg Cider Mill brings you some good old-fashioned apple cider fun. Activities begin with the Louisburg Lions Pancake Breakfast, 8:30am – 11am. Other activities such as pony rides, inflatable slide, cider and donut-making and craft booths are ongoing throughout the day until 6 pm. Naturally, the first course of the Ciderfest is watching how apples are freshly pressed into 100% pure apple cider — from initial washing to the actual press. You can buy a cup of fresh hot or cold cider, munch on a cider doughnut, try a freshly dipped caramel apple, be there for the pancake breakfast, or sample a Lost Trail Root Beer — one of the soda treats that Louisburg Cider Mill has become famous for. We hope visitors will tap their toes to live music with a bluegrass or country flare, seek out homemade kettle corn and other unique fare like fried pickles. A wide variety of arts and craft booths abound where you can find gifts such as original candles and home crafted furniture or homemade toys for the kids!

Overland Park Fall Festival Sept. 23 at Santa Fe Commons Park, 8045 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS. The Overland Park Fall Festival features a hometown parade through Downtown Overland Park, the county’s best arts and crafts fair, the state’s best farmers’ market, three stages of concerts, fantastic food and much more! 

American Indian Cultural Celebration Sept. 24 at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St., Kansas City, MO. FREE and Open to the Public. Join us as Kansas City celebrates the vibrant cultural and artistic expressions of American Indians, featuring the Haskell Indian Nations University Dancers, art activities, storytelling, games, and demonstrations. ENJOY Lakota storytelling, flute performance, and Hoop Dance by Kevin Locke (Lakota and Anishinaabe) of Bloomington, Indiana. EXPERIENCE the Apache Crown Dancers from Cibecue, Arizona. LEARN with Lakota musician Ron Brave and informal discussions with representatives of the Kansas City Indian Center. 

Step Up for Down Syndrome Sept. 24 at Arrowhead Stadium - Parking Lot C, 1 Arrowhead Drive, Parking Lot C, Kansas City, MO. Tickets: $15 child - $20 adult. Please Enjoy a day of family fun, as we celebrate all individuals with Down syndrome. The Step-Up Walk will feature many family activities - mechanical rides, moonwalks, pony rides, carnival games, music, stilt walkers, dancing and so much more. 

Gladfest Sept. 29 - Oct. 1 at Linden Square, 70th Street and N. Holmes, Gladstone, MO. Live entertainment on Linden Square Stage! A Carnival will be open all three days for kids of all ages. Marketplace Tents will be located just west of Community Center and will offer valuable contacts with local businesses and civic organizations. Larger commercial vendors and the best in food and beverages will be found along 70th Street and N. Holmes. Arts and Crafts vendors will be located west of City Hall and south of the carnival.

Fall Swing Sept. 30 - Oct. 1 at KC Pumpkin Patch. Handmade & Vintage Vendors. Wine. Pumpkins. Goats. Apples. Kettle Corn. Wine. FUN! Join The Midwest's #1 Indie Craft Fair as we celebrate the handmade movement and all things fall at KC Wine Co. and KC Pumpkin Patch! We are {SO} excited! Admission to the craft fair and winery is FREE.  Admission to the Pumpkin Patch is $10.00. 

Kansas Chocolate Festival Sept. 30 at Downtown Topeka, Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS. Chocolate, baked goods and sweets from regional businesses. Stage demonstrations. The Kansas Chocolate Competition. Live music, food trucks and a children’s play area. Unique experiences provided by Mars Chocolate North America and Downtown Topeka shops. The Combat Air Museum’s Winged-Foot 5K and 10K run.

Kansas Cowboy Jubilee (Asleep at the Wheel and Hot Club of Cowtown) Sept. 30 at Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS. FREE Events (Concert $28 - $44). Before the musicians rosin up their bows, a full day of free, family-friendly fun is on tap at JCCC. Starting at 11 a.m. and running until 4 p.m. in the Carlsen Center, you will find: Kansas Studies Institute Guest Lecturers, Topics on Kansas history presented by university professors, Kansas historians, authors and Kansas ranchers. Lobby Exhibits and Vendors. Exhibits include trick roping, cowboy art and sculpture, quilts, cowboy boots, hats and saddle displays, Flint Hills Discovery Center, ranch exhibits, steer roping, art activities for the kids and the Mahaffie Stagecoach. NEW this year: cowboy memorabilia for sale! Performances and Audience Interaction – Polsky Theatre Cowboy songwriting and sing-a-longs, barn dancing, trick roping, photo-to-canvas art and cowboy sculptures. The day ends with a free performance by the Quebe Sisters, 4:30 p.m. in Polsky Theatre! And if you work up an appetite, there will be a barbecue lunch for sale.

Shawnee Fall Festival at Family Tree Nursery Sept. 30 - Oct. 1 at Family Tree Nursery, 7036 Nieman Rd., Shawnee, KS. Enjoy music, food and tons of activities for the kids! Prepare for fall with a huge selection of pumpkins, gourds and mums. Don’t miss out on Terrarium & Fairy Garden Workshops, too!

Brought to you by! Follow KC Parent Magazine on Facebook for more family fun inspiration all month long! 

Still looking for more great family fun ideas in Kansas City? Check out our Kansas City Calendar of Events and Going Places in Kansas City on

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