Top Events and Festivals in Kansas
Explore this selection of the top annual events and festivals, fairs and celebrations (listed in calendar priority) in the State of Kansas
Please note: Top Events USA does not include every single event on offer in Kansas – only those recognized as the best by residents of Kansas, visitors to the "Sunflower State", the team of travel writers working for Top Events USA and officials of Kansas too.
Kansas is known as the “Sunflower State”, a nickname used in recognition of the state flower.
Messiah Festival of Music & Art
Celebrating over 127 seasons, the Messiah Festival of Music & Art presents Handel's Messiah and Bach's St. Matthew Passion. All performances take place in Presser Hall on the Bethany College campus. The festival also includes a juried student art exhibition and performances by the Bethany College Symphonic Band as well as recitals and theatre productions.
For more information about the Messiah Festival of Music & Art in Lindsborg visit:
Tulip Time Festival
early to late April
Topeka / Shawnee County, Kansas
Featuring over 50,000 tulips and 7,000 daffodils, the Tulip Time event also highlights other features of the botanical garden at Old Prairie Town, such as a 50-yard cascading rock rivulet, 500 varieties of trees and shrubs in the 2½-acre garden, 1,500 feet of walk ways and even historic building tours. Also part of the event is Doran Rock Garden that features 12,000 tulips and daffodils as well as an 80-year old rock garden with stone walkways and a stone bridge. The Ted Ensley Gardens at Lake Shawnee shows off more than 85,000 tulips and daffodils in the spring, surrounded by a covered bridge, rock gardens, gazebo, pergola, waterfalls, streams and several ponds.
For more information about Tulip Time in Topeka / Shawnee County visit:
Brookside Art Annual
Brookside – Kansas City, Kansas
A major Kansas event for over 27 years, attracting close to 80,000 visitors each year, and showcasing the work of almost 200 exhibiting artists, the Brookside Art Annual is one of the top 25 art shows in the USA according to Art Source, and has become one of the most important art events for artists and fans alike.
For more information about the Brookside Art Annual visit:
Beef Empire Days
late May - early June
Garden City, Kansas
Celebrating the beef industry, Beef Empire Days, a popular event for almost half a century, salutes the pioneers of the beef industry and includes the ever favorite Cattle Working Contest, the Black Hills Energy - Beef Empire Days Parade, Cattle Feeder Challenge, Ranch Rodeo, team roping and barrel racing, as well as all sorts of sporting events, square dances, drag races, tractor pulls, beef trivia, prospect steer show, bike races, talent contests, midget races, movies, treasure hunts, pancake feeds, skate board contests, ice cream socials, air shows, cowboy poetry and stock dog contests.
For more information about Beef Empire Days in Garden City visit:
late May - early June
Celebrating its 42nd anniversary in 2013, Riverfest is one of the longest-continuous-running festivals in Kansas. A 9-day event with over 60 events to enjoy including great musical entertainment, fireworks displays, sporting events, traveling exhibits, children’s activities, cultural events, river events, a parade, food courts and shopping. Featuring more than 100 hours of musical entertainment, performed by more than 40 bands, Riverfest is the only event of its size held in the Midwest during May.
For more information about the Wichita Riverfest visit:
Grassland Heritage Festival
first full week of June
A popular event for more than 13 years, and nominated as one of the top 100 Events by the American Bus Association, the Grassland Heritage Festival is a family event starting with a fishing derby, several meals with entertainment, a children’s day with hands on events at the Morton County Historical Society Museum, and an old fashioned church service with a circuit riding preacher.
For more information about the Grassland Heritage Festival visit:
Smoky Hill River Festival
2nd full weekend of June
First and foremost a festival of the arts, the Smoky Hill River Festival features fine arts, crafts, and music with art being demonstrated, for sale and on exhibit. More features of this popular event include the food, children's activities, and special features like the Big Band Dance, runs, etc.
For more information about the Smoky Hill River Festival take a look at:
or visit: http://www.riverfestival.com
Symphony in the Flint Hills
(Location changes each year) Kansas
Each spring there is a gathering, a coming together of art, nature and the kindred souls who appreciate them both. For one evening, the meadowlark’s song is joined by a Symphony in the Flint Hills. Each year moving the symphony concert to different sites, traveling from county to county, Kansas honors its tallgrass prairie and plains heritage with music. In addition to the concert, educational activities are available onsite including an afternoon full of opportunities to learn about and experience grassland culture and heritage.
For more information about Symphony in the Flint Hills visit:
Thanks for the opportunity. Please delete the Peace Treaty Pageant, though it is a fabulous event it doesn’t happen again until 2015. Please consider adding the Amelia Earhart Festival, info at this link:
Jazz in the Woods
Corporate Woods – Kansas City, Kansas
Known as Kansa City’s largest free music festival, and going strong for more than 23 years, the family-orientated Jazz in the Woods event attracts over 40,000 visitors each year, and offers a wide variety of music including traditional jazz and ragtime, as well as blues, Zydeco, fusion, smooth, Latin and contemporary jazz. There is also the increasingly popular Jazz in the Woods 5L/10K run and a wide selection of food vendors.
For more information about Jazz in the Woods in Kansas City visit:
Amelia Earhart Festival
Honoring and celebrating the great aviatrix Amelia Earhart, the Amelia Earhart Festival features everything including a downtown music and a star-filled outdoor concert on the picturesque Riverfront, aerobatic performances, a carnival, food and crafts fair, children’s activities, and the very popular “Concert in the Sky” fireworks show.
For more information about the Amelia Earhart Festival visit:
A popular out-door event for more than 78 years, Topeka's 5-day Fiesta Mexicana demonstrates the beauty and culture of the Hispanic Heritage in Topeka and features a popular parade, professional carnival, three stages featuring free, local and international stars of Latin music, vendors of all types, arts & crafts booths and contests of all kinds.
For more information about Fiesta Mexicana in Topeka visit:
Dodge City Days
late July - early August
Dodge City, Kansas
This 10-day celebration of Kansas’ Western heritage attracts more than 100,000 people each year to experience the top-rated Dodge City Days Rodeo with the crowning of Miss Rodeo Kansas and Miss Rodeo Kansas Princess, a two-day craft show featuring more than 200 artists, a professional barbecue contest and western parade, along with many other events and activities.
For more information about Dodge City Days take a look at:
or visit: http://www.dodgecitydays.com
Downtown Park – Paola, Kansas
Attracting more than 9,000 people every year, the 2-day Roots Festival presents a wide variety of the best local and national roots musicians performing their live music, ethnic dancers, arts & crafts, food vendors, a State Championship BBQ Cook-off and plenty of activities for children, from games, fun rides and even a creative sidewalk chalk contest.
For more information about the Roots Festival in Paola visit :
Kansas City Renaissance Festival
7 themed weekends from Labor Day weekend to mid-October, including Columbus Day
Bonner Springs, Kansas
A fun event for the whole family, the Kansas City Renaissance Festival features over 16 stages of continuous entertainment from hypnotists and troubadours to harpists, jugglers, pipers and psychics and more, as well as live armored jousting, over 100 artisan booths, food and drink “fit for a King” and more.
For more information about the Kansas City Renaissance Festival visit:
Kansas State Fair
early - mid September
For 10 days each September, Hutchinson is home to the largest event in Kansas – the Kansas State Fair featuring over 280-acres of the best of Kansas' agriculture, livestock and commerce, as well as live entertainment. Popular Fair attractions include an animal birthing center and an exotic animal petting zoo. Concerts range from country to pop at the 10,000-seat grandstand and three other stages throughout the grounds.
For more information about the Kansas State Fair visit: http://www.kansasstatefair.com
McPherson Scottish Festival
The McPherson Scottish Festival is a weekend of traditional Scottish activities, including massed pipe bands, Celtic music, Scottish and Irish dance, Highland athletic competitions, and demonstrations of all kinds. A clan fire ceremony plus Scottish folk music and a free Scottish themed movie kick off the celebrations. Throughout the weekend, guests can watch Highland athletes turn the caber, or listen to musicians. Visitors can shop for reproduction swords, handmade walking sticks, imported tartans and Celtic jewelry, and enjoy delicious Scottish food. An indoor evening concert combines with a Scottish country dance gala to cap Saturday's events.
For more information about the McPherson Scottish Festival visit: http://www.macfestival.org
Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz or The Wizard of OZ on stage, Oztoberfest is a weekend filled with activities for everyone. Munchkins from the original movie are on hand to sign autographs, and visitors can catch a production of The Wizard of Oz at The Columbian Theatre and visit The Oz Museum. There is a Munchkinland inflatable play area for kids, along with food and craft vendors. Favorites include the Flying Monkey Toss, Yellow Brick Road Cupcake walk, pin the heart on the Tin Man, face painting, and much more.
For more information about OZtoberfest in Wamego visit: http://www.oztoberfest.com
mid - late October
The oldest and largest annual festival in Kansas, Neewollah Festival (Halloween spelled backwards) attracts more than 65,000 visitors in the final days of the 10-day celebration. Originally begun in 1919, today's festival now includes three parades, a Chili Cook-off, a hometown musical and queen's pageant. The main downtown is filled with 30 plus food vendors, a large carnival and bandstand for nightly entertainment. The Arts and Craft show, Great Pumpkin contest along with the Band Competition, Fun Run and Bike Ride provide activities for everyone. A Children's show and Professional Saturday night Entertainment bring a conclusion to the diligent efforts of over 500 community volunteers.
For more information about the Neewollah Festival in Independence visit: http://www.Neewollah.com
Downtown Lawrence Old Fashioned Christmas Parade
The Downtown Lawrence Old Fashioned Christmas Parade features exclusively horse-drawn carriages, wagons, coaches and riders decorated for the season. More than 300 horses from eight states are expected to follow the route, which begins at 7th & Massachusetts streets and continues south down Massachusetts through Downtown to 13th Street. The parade, which takes place the first Saturday in December at 11am, has always featured a variety of horses and wagons, stagecoaches, carts, riding groups and sleighs. Santa on his sleigh is the parade's grand finale.
For more information about the Downtown Lawrence Old Fashioned Christmas Parade visit: http://www.lawrencechristmasparade.org