Go, See, Do: St. John’s Mexican Fiesta, Akin Prairie Wildflower Walk and more

photo by: John Young

This file photo from June 27, 2015, shows six-year-old Autumn Stephens twirling under the arm of Isabel Carttar, 16, both of Lawrence, as they await their turns on stage to dance at the St. John's Mexican Fiesta. This year's fiesta will be from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Mariachi and Tejano bands, folk dancers and plenty of authentic Mexican food will return to the parking lot of St. John Catholic School for the 39th annual St. John’s Mexican Fiesta this weekend.

“It’s a party in our backyard, and we invite all the neighbors over,” said Frank Lemus Jr., the chairman of the fiesta committee.

There’s no charge to get into the fiesta, scheduled from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the school, 1234 Kentucky St., but tamales, tostadas and burritos will all be for sale. On Saturday night, enchiladas will be added to the menu.

Lemus said the fiesta began in 1981 as a small event by the parish’s Mexican-American community and has evolved over the years.

“My parents helped start it, and now my children who are in their 20s are helping. It’s multigenerational,” said Lemus.

Proceeds from the annual fundraiser go toward scholarships for students of Mexican descent in the local Catholic community and also help fund the Spanish language program at the school. For a full schedule of events, go to stjohnsfiesta.com


photo by: Mike Yoder

An Echinacea plant, also known as purple coneflower, is pictured June 2, 2018, on the Akin Prairie during the prairie’s annual wildflower walk. The 2019 walk will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 22.

Akin Prairie Wildflower Walk

Take in a variety of colorful wildflowers Saturday at the annual Akin Prairie Wildflower Walk.

The Akin Prairie, a 16-acre tract of land located near 1852 North 1150 Road, is home to about 200 plant species, according to the Akin Prairie Wildflower Walk Facebook page. The Akin family donated the land to the Kansas Land Trust in 1994 in memory of Dorothy Akin, who loved prairie wildflowers.

This year’s half-mile walk begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the prairie and will be led by Kelly Kindscher, a Kansas Land Trust founder and author of “Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie” and “Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie.”

“We will be walking in the prairie, so bring sun protection, water, and insect repellent,” said Jerry Jost, executive director of the Kansas Land Trust.


photo by: Contributed photo

2018 Mic Drop winner Anna Oliver, center stage, performs Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” with a group. The 2019 competition will be at 8 p.m. June 22 at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St.

Lawrence Mic Drop

Come watch local rock stars take the stage during the” Mic Drop lip sync competition,” at 8 p.m. Saturday, at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St.

Ten acts will be lip-syncing at Liberty Hall on Saturday for a good cause — and for a chance to win a $3,000 prize.

This is the third year for Lawrence Mic Drop, a fundraiser for the Willow Domestic Violence Center, and Willow communications director Will Averill said past events have drawn all kinds of lip-sync performances.

“Mic Drop has featured the syncing of over 30 groups in its three years, and has seen show tunes, county tunes, and hip hop,” Averill said in an email to the Journal-World.

The performers will be ranked by a panel of three judges — Perry Lockwood, who will be impersonating rock musician Bret Michaels; Lawrence Mayor Lisa Larsen; and local musician Kawehi — and the winner will take home the $3,000 prize, Averill said.

Each group of performers has to raise at least $1,000 to compete in the contest. Last year’s event raised more than $30,000 for The Willow, which serves survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking in Douglas, Franklin, and Jefferson counties.

The show starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St. General admission tickets are $20 and can be purchased at lawrencemicdrop.org or at the door.

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