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Ten ways to tap into Boulevardia this weekend


When: 5-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Base of the 12th Street viaduct in the West Bottoms

Info: boulevardia.com

1: Try new beers

Tickets to Taps & Tastes Experience, Saturday’s beer- and food-tasting event, sold out minutes after they went on sale in March. But don’t freak out if you missed out: Boulevard beer will be sold at the festival all weekend, and several visiting breweries that are pouring at Taps & Tastes breweries will have tappings for the general admission crowd.

Ommegang, Boulevard’s brother brewery from Cooperstown, N.Y., taps a keg of Witte at 7 p.m. Friday. New Mexico’s Santa Fe Brewing Co. unleashes its bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Java Stout at 3 p.m. Saturday. And Mother’s Brewing Co., based in Springfield, starts pouring its port barrel-aged stout, MILF, at noon Sunday.

For a complete list of special tappings, go to boulevardia.com.

2: Ride your bike

Skip traffic and parking by cycling to Boulevardia: BikeWalkKC will provide a free bike valet station at 12th and Hickory streets.

The bike valet will be open during festival hours. Bring your own lock. Cars can park in any of a number of lots in the area of the festival.

3: Catch a show

Boulevardia’s music schedule boasts 29 bands, and many of them fall into the alternative, blues and folk categories. To keep track of the music on the two stages at the festival, attendees can download the Boulevardia app.

On Friday’s schedule: Blondfire, The Chain Gang of 1974, David George and a Crooked Mile, Hearts of Darkness, The Grisly Hand, The Latenight Callers, The Wild Feathers and Quixotic, the Kansas City-based performance art troupe.

Saturday’s lineup features Capital Cities, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Dollar Fox, Gracie Schram, Josh Berwanger Band, MarchFourth Marching Band, Me Like Bees, My Brothers & Sisters, Not A Planet, Robert DeLong, Six Percent, Starhaven Rounders, The Architects and The MGDs.

Sunday’s schedule includes BoDeans, Cadillac Flambe, Freddy Jones Band, John Velghe & The Prodigal Sons, Katy Guillen & The Girls, Maria the Mexican and Wells the Traveler.

4: Ride a Ferris wheel

Boulevardia is a family-friendly festival complete with a carnival. Sprint is sponsoring the carnival area at 11th and Mulberry streets, featuring a tea cups ride, a rock climbing wall, bungee jump pods and a Ferris wheel with great views of the West Bottoms.

5: Eat from a food truck

Look for a long line of mobile eateries on 12th Street, right next to the viaduct. Chipotle is planning a pop-up restaurant, and also on the menu are locally owned food trucks, including Little Freshie, Taco Republic, BRGR, Scimeca’s Sausage, Street Wings and The Funnel Cake Truck.

6: Sample small-batch spirits

Boulevardia isn’t just about beer. At the craft distillers festival (1-3 p.m. Sunday on the lower level of the 12th Street viaduct), you can sip cocktails made with spirits from Dark Horse Distillery, Death’s Door Distillery, North Shore Distillery, Pinckney Bend Distillery and Templeton Rye, to name a few.

The craft distillers festival is open to all Sunday general admission ticket holders. Drink samples are $4, or two tokens.

7: Pick up a few eco-friendly habits

At the festival’s Eco-Expo, Boulevardia ticket holders can learn about recycling from Ripple Glass, urban gardening from Cultivate Kansas City, biking from BikeWalkKC and environmental conservation from Friends of the Kaw.

8: Shop local

Brady Vest of Hammerpress, a Kansas City letterpress and design studio, helped organize Makers Market, Boulevardia’s artisan fair. In Makers Market, at 12th and Hickory streets, T-shirts, textiles, paper goods, jewelry, soap, toys, leather goods, furniture and art made by local craftsmen (and craftswomen) will be available.

The list of participating vendors includes Hammerpress, Wood + Salt, Scarlett Garnet, Owl + Mouse Textile Designs, Bearded Fellas, Polivka and CartWheel.

9: Explore the West Bottoms

You might have visited the West Bottoms to go to haunted houses, antique stores or the American Royal. But at Boulevardia, the neighborhood will be totally transformed. String lights will hang in alleyways, the lower level of the 12th Street viaduct will become a bar area and tents will be decked out with vintage furniture.

“That’s the beauty of this area,” Boulevardia organizer Keli O’Neill Wenzel says. “There’s a lot of nooks and crannies you can hang out in.”

The 12th Street viaduct will be open, trains will lumber by and planes will fly overhead — so you’ll still know you’re in the Bottoms.

10: Support a good cause

More than 700 people are volunteering to work at Boulevardia. Many are manning the Boulevard beer bars — in return, they get to donate a portion of the profits from beer sales and volunteers’ tips to a hometown charity.

Participating charities include KC Pet Project, Midwest Music Foundation, SocialHeart, Cultivate KC, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association and Sporting KC’s Victory Project.


A few years ago, Boulevard Brewing Co. employees started throwing around ideas for a street festival in Kansas City.

Marketing director Jeremy Ragonese envisioned the event as part beer festival, part community fair. But where would it be? The Crossroads? Downtown? In front of the brewery?

“We could have hosted a little party,” Ragonese says, “but not a big party.”

And Boulevard wanted a big party. So Ragonese and a team that included Keli O’Neill Wenzel, president of O’Neill Marketing & Event Management, kept searching for the perfect urban location. They found it after the brewery’s founder, John McDonald, suggested the West Bottoms, that warren of brick warehouses west of downtown.

That’s how Boulevardia was born. The street festival debuts Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The event offers live music on two stages, an art fair, an eco-expo, food trucks and a family-friendly carnival complete with a Ferris wheel.

Boulevardia will occupy a one-block area of the West Bottoms north of the 12th Street viaduct, roughly between Hickory and Mulberry streets. General admission tickets are $15 per day and are not expected to sell out.

The two-level 12th Street viaduct, which leads from downtown to the West Bottoms, is a major feature of Boulevardia. Look for some events on the lower level under the viaduct deck, while others will be on the ground under the viaduct. Most will be north of the structure.

Festival planners are expecting between 30,000 and 40,000 people over the course of the three-day festival. Thinking about going? Check out 10 things to do at Boulevardia.

About the Boulevardia app

Instead of printing paper maps, Boulevard opted to create a mobile app that helps Boulevardia attendees navigate the three-day festival.

The free Boulevardia app, built by Propaganda3 with help from Whiskey Design, is available for iPhone and Android. The app has a festival map, detailed info on participating breweries and beers, a music schedule with band info and a Brew Cam you can use to take, customize and share photos of beers you sample.

The app also sends notifications so you won’t miss out on a tapping or a show. Download it at boulevardia.com.

Contact enterprise reporter Sarah Gish at sgish@kcstar.com or @sarah_gish.


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