Kansas City Connection: Dance festival, Big Picnic, Van Halen make braving summer heat worth it

The Kansas City Dance Festival will be held Friday and Saturday at the Folly Theater.

Temperatures have been unbearably hot lately (at least from what I hear — I haven’t been outside in days), but anyone willing to brave the heat will find a number of fun activities, concerts and sporting events this week in Kansas City.

This Friday and Saturday, the third annual Kansas City Dance Festival will be held at the Folly Theater with performances at 7:30 p.m.

The Dance Festival features over a dozen dancers from different companies across the United States and a rare opportunity to see them all perform in one place.

Tickets start at $25 each and are available online at kcdancefestival.com.

The biggest picnic in the city is happening from 4 to 7 p.m. this afternoon when Kansas City’s Big Picnic takes over the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art as part of the annual Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park Celebration.

The picnic is free for guests of all ages, including pets on a leash, and will include music from Victor & Penny, a food truck, puppets, a red-and-white blanket, plein air painters and a giant adirondack chair for photo opportunities. The Big Picnic will be held rain or shine.

As previewed in last week’s column, Fringe Festival Kansas City continues through this weekend.

If you aren’t able to see many of the performances, Sunday, July 26 is dedicated to presenting highlights from the show throughout the day, as encore performances of the week’s best attended and most acclaimed shows will take place starting at 1:30 p.m. and running through 6 p.m. Details are online at kcfringe.org.

At Starlight Theatre, a production of the classic musical “Mary Poppins” begins Friday, with performances running nightly at 8 p.m. through Aug. 2 (except for July 27, when there is no show). Tickets are $14 and up at KCStarlight.com.

Summer is the right season for a visit from California duo Cayucas, who will play at the Riot Room (4048 Broadway) on Wednesday night. With pleasantly upbeat rhythms and melodic, echoey choruses, Cayucas is cotton candy for indie-pop fans, and the small stage at the Riot Room should create a fun, intimate atmosphere. Tickets are $10 for this 8 p.m. show, which is 21 and over.

Also visiting Kansas City on Wednesday night is a little group named Van Halen. David Lee Roth and the brothers Van Halen will be at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in Bonner Springs for a 7:30 p.m. show.

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band opens. Tickets are $26 and up at ticketmaster.comticketmaster.com.

On Tuesday, Sporting Kansas City host rival club Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park in a quarterfinal matchup of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which Sporting last won in 2012.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. matchup are for sale at sportingkc.com, with general admission seats starting at $32.

Following their impressive representation in the 2015 All-Star Game, the Royals return to the K on Monday for a homestand against the Pittsburgh Pirates, followed by a weekend series with the Houston Astros. Tickets are for sale at royals.mlb.com.

If you’re planning to drink a beer at the game, drop by the Craft & Draft bar in the upper left field seats. Craft & Draft, which opened this season, offers 75 varieties of beer in bottles, cans and on tap, all for $10 each, as well as tasty gastro pub fare and a nice (if distant) view of the field.

The way I see it, if you’re paying ballpark prices, you might as well get some quality suds. At least that’s what I told myself after looking at my bank statement following a recent game.

— Lucas Wetzel is a writer and editor from Kansas City, Mo. Know of an upcoming event in Kansas City you’d like to see featured in Kansas City Connection? Email us about it at kcconnection@ljworld.com.