Today is officially the first day of summer, and we’re kicking off the season with an evolving list, in no particular order, of entertaining things to do. Below are dozens of suggestions to get you started, and we hope you’ll add more in the comments section below the story.
You have until 11 tonight to get your fill of enchiladas, tamales, tostadas and more at the St. John’s Mexican Fiesta, 1234 Kentucky St. Plus: live music, the St. John’s Fiesta Dancers and carnival games for the kids.
See Summer Youth Theater’s production of “Twelfth Night” Sunday at the Lawrence Arts Center.
See Theatre Lawrence’s production of “The King and I,” through next Sunday, 785-843-7469 for tickets.
If the theater bug bites while you’re there, audition July 27 or 28 for “Little Shop of Horrors,” which will be staged in September and October.
Visit Lecompton during Historic Lecompton Territorial Days June 27-28.
Block out some serious time to spend at the Free State Festival, Wednesday through June 29. It’s the Lawrence Arts Center’s celebration of film, music, art and ideas. (Coming Sunday, a special section and full previews in A&E.)
Follow the Twitter re-enactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which led to World War I, from 9:30 a.m. to noon June 28. #KU_WWI
Check out the inaugural Summer Fest in South Park, an arts and crafts event with food vendors and live music, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 28.
Pack a picnic and take it to Overlook Park at Clinton Lake, where you can watch the sunset with your sweetheart or your family.
Get your exercise before the heat sets in at the morning session of Red Dog’s Dog Days workout, 6 a.m. Monday-Thursday in South Park.
Spend an afternoon relaxing in the Chi Omega fountain on the KU campus.
Get ice cream at Sylas and Maddy’s Home Made Ice Cream, then walk up and down Massachusetts Street people watching.
Head to Campanile hill at KU, set up a hammock and read.
Try ziplining at Adventure Zip KC in Bonner Springs (12829 Loring Road), where participants get a view of the Kansas River and the downtown Kansas City skyline before they descend into the treetops.
Catch a Sporting KC game.
Cool off at Tad’s Shaved Ice just south of Ninth and Iowa streets.
Oooo and ahhh at the Lawrence fireworks display, 9:45 p.m. July 4 at Watson and Burcham parks, Seventh and Kentucky streets and 200 Indiana St.
Lawrence Parks and Recreation puts on noon-hour concerts every summer Thursday in front of US Bank, 900 Massachusetts St. A good one to catch: Lonnie Ray’s Blues Band July 10.
Enjoy fine wine and help Cottonwood Inc. by attending Salute! A Festival of Wine and Food July 11 and July 12. Salutewinefest.com for more information.
Read books, win prizes. That’s the idea behind the Lawrence Public Library’s Summer in the City reading program. See lawrence.lib.ks.us for more information.
Get Fido or Puff microchipped at the Lawrence Humane Society’s clinic June 29-July 3. Chips are $10 each or $15 for two. Call 843-6835 for more information.
Watch world-class cyclists at the Tour of Lawrence June 27-29, a USA Cycling sanctioned event. The kids can participate in their own bike race downtown Sunday morning, and Friday night features music from Hearts of Darkness.
Spend Saturday, July 26, at the grand opening celebration for the library’s new building. Want to play a bigger part? The first 150 people to sign up will stand in a line from the temporary location, 700 New Hampshire St., and pass the final book to the new building, 707 Vermont St. in a community book-passing relay. Call 843-3833, ext. 123, for more information.
Go kayaking and camping at Lone Star Lake.
Hike the trails at Prairie Park Nature Center.
Visit the Spencer Museum of Art, making time to enjoy Personal Geometry: Quilts by Yoshiko Jinzenji and Virginia Jean Cox Mitchell, on display through Aug. 3.
Float down the Kaw (Kansas River and National Water Trail) with Up a Creek Canoe and Kayak Rental.
Visit the 34th Annual Kansas State Fiddling & Picking Championships Aug. 24, mostly at South Park.
Everyone’s going to Kansas City for the big new water slide. Beat the crowds and go to the Tonganoxie Water Park, with its own nifty slide and other amenities.
Make the Lawrence Farmers’ Market a Saturday morning routine. Vary the stands you purchase from each week.
Take July 17 off from work so you’re free to get up at the crack of dawn for the Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale, now in its 55th year.
Take a blanket and refreshments to South Park for a Lawrence City Band concert. A popular choice is the season’s grand finale, 8 p.m. July 16, featuring the “1812 Overture.”
Do a northeast Kansas wine tour, stopping at wineries including Crooked Post Winery & Vineyard in Ozawkie and Holy-Field Vineyard and Winery in Basehor.
Take a train ride on the historic Midland Railway in Baldwin City.
Start planning now to make sure you have time to see all you want to at the Douglas County Fair, July 25-Aug. 3. The popular demolition derby is Aug. 1.
Rent bikes at the Gaslight, 317 N. Second St., for a ride on the levee followed by a cold beer in the “biergarten.”
Catch your favorite acts at the Busker Festival, downtown Aug. 22-24.
Take a self-guided tour of Civil War and Quantrill’s Raid sites (brochures found at visitlawrence.com). Or, on Aug. 16, take a guided walking or bus tour of the sites and participate in other events commemorating the raid. Contact Watkins Museum for more information.
Become a volunteer dog walker for the Lawrence Humane Society. You can take an adoptable dog downtown, to the Farmer’s Market, on a hike, or just to your house to hang out for a few hours.
Take a ride with Bike and Beer Wednesday (find them on Facebook).