Two popular Kansas City festivals taking new forms this weekend

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BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. — Two popular events normally happening this weekend, the Plaza Art Fair and the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, were canceled this summer.

But now each is taking place on site in scaled-down modified versions. 

At the Plaza, Art Fair streets are usually blocked off and the area is filled with tents full or art, food and drinks. Now most of the art is now safely behind the glass of store fronts.

Meanwhile, about 175,000 people enjoy performances, costumes and, of course, the food at Renaissance Fest over the 16-day period each year. This year, like most big events, management decided to cancel because of health and safety concerns.

But then they came up with an idea: What if festival goers stayed in their cars, or shall we say steel chariots? 

“We thought it would be a great opportunity for us to provide a safe environment for patrons to come out and still get a taste of the show,” said Roger Clements, property manager for the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. 

We drove the FOX4 jeep the 1.5-mile route through the realm to see how the reimagined Renaissance Festival Parade will work. It will be drastically scaled back from the normal 2,000 people who take part in the annual event. 

“We will have a lot of our main characters out here that people would see the minute they walked through the gate. There’s a little bit of royalty, a little bit of peasantry, a whole lot of laughter.” 

But in the four weekend days between Sept. 26 and Oct. 4, people will still get a taste of the Renaissance. Don’t worry, by “taste” they do mean those popular giant turkey legs and other medieval faire. 

But the Renaissance isn’t the only place where cars have suddenly dropped in. A Lexus being painted at Country Club Plaza caught the attention of art lovers and shoppers alike Friday night.

It’s part of a handful of pop-ups this weekend celebrating art in a much different way than people are used to at the Plaza Art Fair.

“I haven’t participated in an art fair since last year because of COVID, and that’s not normal,” artist Jenny Meyer McCall said. “So it’s really uplifting and encouraging to see people that enjoy art people who I don’t even know are kind of participating in a way because they are sharing what they see and how they feel about it. It’s really encouraging.”

The work of 20 local and regional artists will be part of storefronts throughout the Plaza through Oct. 5. QR codes next to artwork in storefronts allows people to learn more about the artist and possibly purchase their work. 

Over at the Renaissance Fest, you’ll get photos of what vendors are selling to help keep people in their cars.

You have to book your parade time in hour blocks in advance online. Tickets are $20. 

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