By Kevin Collison
Six years after launching at a hot, dusty parking lot in the West Bottoms, Boulevardia is moving up to Crown Center next June, occupying the same user-friendly territory that’s made Irish Fest a major entertainment event.
Organizers say the decision to relocate the street festival that’s become a regular Father’s Day weekend destination, it draws an average of 40,000-45,000 people, was a relatively easy one to make.
“The importance of making it more convenient was a number one factor,” said Keli O’Neill Wenzel. “One of the problems in the Bottoms was ride sharing. It’s very easy here. People also can walk and take the streetcar.”
And O’Neill, who’s firm also produces Irish Fest, said organizers realize the importance of keeping the original atmosphere that made Boulevardia fun and funky.
“Creating the grit and edge is on us to produce that,” she said. “We morph with the environment to create the fun, funky element.
And yes, the popular Taps & Taste event, which features dozens of craft breweries from around the country along with food from local restaurants, will return.
O’Neill said Boulevardia is looking at holding the Taps event at the large event hall at the Sheraton.
Having the amenities of Crown Center close at hand, particularly its big hotels, is expected to make Boulevardia grow in popularity.
“One of the driving factors for us selecting Crown Center is that space,” O’Nelll said. “We’re finalizing ticket packages and hotel packages to take advantage of that.”
Anne Deuschle, integrated marketing manager at Crown Center, said hosting Boulevardia builds on its successful experience holding the Irish Fest and Oktoberfest festivals.
“It’s one of the big appeals of Crown Center,” she said. “We’re hoping it sells more hotel rooms and brings more attention to our area.”
The festival, which will be held June 19-20, will take place on Grand Boulevard, and throughout Crown Center and Washington Square Park.
And yes, there will be a ferris wheel and other carnival rides to go along with the live music featuring national and regional acts that’s made Boulevardia popular. The Maker’s Market also will return.
“We are excited to bring Boulevardia to a different part of the Kansas City community for its seventh year,” Trever Frickey, Boulevardia vice president, said in a statement.
“Each year we challenge ourselves to reimagine elements of the festival and feel confident that we can bring a fresh new flavor of Boulevardia to this venue.”
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