From festivals to fishing, Johnson County prepares for safe return of in-person events


LENEXA, Kan. — After a year without festivals, concerts and parades, some large events are making a comeback in Johnson County. 

Edgerton Frontier Days will return Friday, June 18, and Saturday, June 19. The two-day festival will feature art vendors, food trucks, live music and a beer garden. Last year, COVID-19 restrictions forced the shutdown of the festival.

Frontier Days President Glyn Powers said this year will be the 50th anniversary of the festival. 

“For our neighbors in Gardner, Olathe, Baldwin, Wellsville, we need everybody to come out this year and help us celebrate the 50th,” he said. 

Powers said final COVID precautions will be announced closer to the date of the festival based on state and local health guidelines.

He said in the past the festival has brought up to 3,000 people to the city. 

Logan Wagler, director of Lenexa Parks and Recreation, said the city has scheduled several large community events through July 4. 

“Lenexa is known as the city of festivals. It’s something we really pride ourselves on,” Wagler said.

Lenexa has scheduled more than a dozen community events through July 4. Wagler said his staff is putting public health front and center when it comes to reintroducing large community events. 

“Given the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and that it’s a very fluid situation, we have to take whatever information we have available at the time and try to make the best decisions around that information,” he said. 

Wagler said each event will have specific health guidelines in place. For example, the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle will continue this year but will be closed to the public. Only teams, judges and essential staff will be allowed inside the event space. 

The annual Freedom Run 5K and 10K race will take place the morning of July 4 with staggered start times. Wagler said the Independence Day parade is canceled, but people will still be able to participate in the annual porch parade. 

“It’s kind of a reverse parade. People decorate their porches, their businesses and people drive out by those locations and see the nice decorations,” Wagler said. 

For all large community events, Lenexa city staff are asking people to wear a mask and keep their distance. 

“We don’t want to spike the ball at the one-yard line. We want to make sure we get across into the end zone. Make sure everything is appropriate and safe to start bringing people back in appropriate ways,” Wagler said. 

Not every city will choose to continue festivals and events held prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. City officials may choose to host community events on a case-by-case basis.

Events scheduled for 2021 include: 

Events in Olathe

Events in Leawood

Events in Edgerton:

  • Edgerton Frontier Days

Events in Shawnee

Events in Merriam

Events in Lenexa

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