Every Year Kansas City Builds Boulevardia, Its Very Own Nation Filled With Beer, Food, Music, and More Beer

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Kansas City has a long history of being — how do we put it? — exceptionally good at a lot of things. It's home to world-class barbecue of its own style and craft cocktails that are nothing short of an art form. The city is and always has been a musical hub — the foundation for jazz in the Midwest and home to greats like Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and Pat Metheny. And if that isn't enough talent for one city, it goes without saying (for anyone that knows even a lick about Kansas City) that it's also pretty darn great at brewing beer. Once a year, the whole city comes together to celebrate this passion and build what they call a "nation filled with beer, food, music and ... more beer."

A Beer Lover's Dream

Kansas City's craft beer scene has exploded in the last decade, boasting now as many as 20 breweries across the city. But KC's love of beer actually began long before that. In 1988, John McDonald was a young man with a plan and a palate for craft brews. He had just returned from a vacation in Europe and fallen hard for Belgian beers. Upon returning home to Kansas City, John sold his house and raised some money to start what would later become the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest, Boulevard Brewing Co.

Today, Boulevard acknowledges that at the heart of its success is a city and a powerful sense of community that deserves to be celebrated. And the celebration they've chosen? Boulevardia - an annual two-day urban festival hosted by Boulevard in the city's Stockyards District. This "small country with big ambitions," is billed as a pseudo-nation featuring not only a whole lot of beer but also local, regional, and national musical acts, delicious Kansas City foods, and a makers market dedicated to the city's many artisans.

The Ultimate Festival

Boulevardia takes place every year over Father's Day weekend. Highlights of the festival include "Taps & Tastes," a three-hour event that showcases more than 50 national breweries and delicious food from local chefs, as well as Vineborough, the acoustic stage that Boulevardia calls your personal backyard, a quiet corner away from the crowds with wine tastings and mellow music. But if it's more of a concert scene that you're into, Boulevardia offers over 40 national and local acts performing on three stages throughout the course of the festival. There's definitely no shortage of musical options.

For locals and tourists who have yet to experience this festival treasure, make a trip to the next Boulevardia (June 15-16, 2018) and see for yourself that it really is the city's own pop-up nation full of booze, music, and everything Kansas City. You don't even need to bring your passport.

If you can't make it to this year's Boulevardia, check out some of these other popular Kansas City festivals happening throughout the year.

Middle of the Map Festival - This annual festival celebrates the unique arts and creative culture of the Midwest, featuring music and film.

Maker Faire - This festival offers Kansas City "makers" a showcase to display their creativity and projects in the arts, sciences, crafts, engineering, and more.

Ethnic Enrichment Festival - This festival promotes awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity featuring more than 60 different cultures selling native foods and artwork, plus performing arts, music and dance.

KC PrideFest - Held at Berkley Riverfront Park, this weekend festival celebrates diversity, inclusion, and LGBT pride with live music and performances.

KC on KC: Craft Beer

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Written by Ashley Gabriel May 9, 2018
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