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Navigate the 88th Annual Plaza Art Fair

Experience a Quintessential Kansas City Experience with Local Food, Music and Artists

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Article by Chelsey Derks Modde

Kansas City’s favorite weekend is quickly approaching.  

Okay, maybe it’s not *everyone’s* absolute favorite weekend, but the Plaza Art Fair has undoubtedly claimed a spot as one of the best weekends in KC—and rightfully so. 

Between the world class creations from more than 240 artists, three stages that will host a variety of musical talent throughout the weekend, and more than 20 local restaurants that serve up their most popular sips and snacks, the event is a quintessential Kansas City experience and the city’s unofficial welcome to fall. 

How It All Got Started

This September marks the 88th edition of the street fair, which will take over nine blocks of the Country Club Plaza and host more than 250,000 guests. It has quite the impressive history, making its debut during the Great Depression as a way to attract shoppers and lift spirits when 90 artists set up shop in the southwest corner of Nichols Road and Central, where Tiffany & Co. now sits. 

While it has evolved into a nationally-ranked fair over the decades, it’s kept its local charm and the heart of its purpose: to bring together a community as we celebrate the arts, the city, and that delicious Kansas City flavor. 

Even during our brief stint in Atlanta, I made a point to be back in KC every year for this weekend. It has the unique ability to be the perfect setting for a date night, a family outing with little ones, or a get together with friends (both traditional and the furry variety—it’s dog-friendly.) Few events can truly claim to be “fun for all” and live up to the hype, but The Plaza Art Fair really does have a little something for everyone to enjoy. 

If You Go

  • The hours this season are: 
    Friday, September 20:  5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
    Saturday, September 21: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
    Sunday, September 22: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
     
  • It is completely free to enter.
  • It’ll go on rain or shine (or snow, or wind, or sleet…we are in the Midwest, after all.)
  • If your schedule doesn’t allow you to hang out all weekend (a girl can dream, right?), make sure to plan around your favorites. Check out the music schedule, the list of artists and restaurant information. Keep in mind some of the city’s most prestigious eateries offer budget-friendly samplings of their top-rated items, so bring your appetite. 
     
  • While parking can get tricky, it’s not nearly as unbearable as you’d imagine. All of the Country Club Plaza parking garages are open and free to the public. View the parking map
     
  • There is a special area for little ones that features interactive, creative, and age-appropriate projects. If you’re bringing your whole crew, make sure to stop by the Pembroke Hill Children’s Art Booth (on the Broadway block between 47th Street and Nichols Road). 
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Follow Chelsey Derks Modde @chelsderks

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