Archive for Monday, October 19, 2015

Kansas City Connection: Bonner Springs balloon fest puts the helium in Halloween

October 19, 2015

After the Royals extended their playoff run last week, I thought about writing a column listing the best bars in the area to watch the MLB playoffs. But the truth is, as long as the postseason wins keep coming, you can pop your head into pretty much any watering hole in town and expect to have a good time.

Instead, we’ll seek a little balance between sports and the arts this week by looking at some exciting concerts and public events, because with a cultural calendar like this week’s, it would be a shame not to.

The most uplifting festivities will take place at the Agricultural Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, where the Great Midwest Balloon Fest, Glows and Goblins takes place on Friday and Saturday. The carnival opens at 4 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday, with a beer garden and live performers including the Alpen Spielers (polka), the Rosetta Sisters (acrobatics and comedy) and the Grand Marquis Band (rhythm and blues).

Kids can enjoy a costume contest, hay rides, a kid zone, bouncy house and crafts. Tethered balloon rides start at 4:30 p.m. each day and cost $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Tickets aren’t available until 15 minutes before launch, as wind conditions must be monitored closely.

Untethered 50-minute balloon rides cost $235 and can be purchased by calling Jason Jones at 913-338-2628. Find more information at

Festa Italiana

At the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Kansas City Symphony and conductor Michael Stern will join the 160 voices of the Symphony Chorus, led by Charles Bruffy, in a series of excerpts from a dozen of the most famous Italian operas by Rossini, Puccini, Verdi and others.

Festa Italiana will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at

On stage

On the same dates, Owen/Cox Dance premieres “What Keeps Mankind Alive” at Crown Center’s Musical Heritage Theater.

The performance fuses dance with the music of Kurt Weill and the words of Bertholt Brecht as performed by the Kansas City tango ensemble Tango Lorca with vocalist Lucas Pherigo.

Tickets start at $27 at One child aged 16 or under is admitted free for each adult ticket, but must be reserved in advance by calling the box office at 816-221-6987.

There are two exciting options for fans of dance and world culture taking place Friday.

At 8 p.m. at Yardley Hall on the Johnson County Community College campus, the Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India present “Spirit of India,” a medley of Indian sounds incorporating modern dance with traditional Indian rhythms, instruments and spiritual traditions. Tickets are $30 to $40 for adults and $15 for those 18 and under at

At 7:30 p.m. that same night, the touring ensemble Stars of American Ballet will visit the Kauffman Center to present a program featuring selections from Jerome Robbins’ “Fancy Free,” George Balanchine’s “Tarantella” and Christopher Wheeldon’s “Liturgy.”

Stars of American Ballet features principal dancers and soloists from major American dance companies and will be a great chance for dance enthusiasts or beginners to see a lot of talent in one place. Tickets are $25 and up at

Run the Jewels

Tickets are going fast for Thursday night’s concert by Run the Jewels, one of hip-hop’s most dynamic duos and the force between last year’s “Run the Jewels” and this year’s follow-up, “RTJ2.”

Doors open at 7 p.m. for the all-ages show at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, which features opener Boots. More information is online at, and tickets are also for sale at third-party outlets.

Sporting KC

And if you want a break from baseball, or simply can’t get enough local sports excitement and want to keep busy during an ALCS off day, check out red-hot Sporting KC in action at home against the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday or at 6 p.m. Oct. 25 against perennial powerhouse LA Galaxy. Tickets are for sale for both games at

Looking for somewhere to down a few pints and fill up on quality pub grub before the Sporting match or a concert at the Midland? The national high-end sports bar and chain Yard House has locations right next to both venues at the Legends (1863 Village West Parkway) and downtown (1300 Main St.).

The menu is extensive, the burgers, salads and sandwiches are good, and the beer list includes a dozen or so regional selections as well. Visit for a full menu.

— Lucas Wetzel is a writer and editor from Kansas City, Mo. Know of an upcoming event in Kansas City you’d like to see featured in Kansas City Connection? Email us about it at


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