New location announced for Kansas City’s Independence Day weekend fireworks

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 9:09 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - For the first time since KC RiverFest began 19 years ago, it will not be at Berkley Riverfront Park.

KC RiverFest board member Stefan White said organizers sought a new location because of ongoing development on the Riverfront. On Wednesday the city announced the celebration will be at the National WWI Museum and Memorial on July 2nd. It will conclude with the city’s largest fireworks display.

In the years since KC RiverFest began, the riverfront has changed. You can find the beloved Bar K dog park, bar and restaurant. There are luxury apartments and more under construction. White said RiverFest needed a spot with more space. The National WWI Museum and Memorial was the first place they called.

“For years people would call us saying, ‘When do the fireworks start?’” remarked National WWI Museum and Memorial President and CEO Matthew Naylor, “So the expectation was already there.”

In 2021 the museum and memorial was had a smaller scale Independence Day event with fireworks called the Stars and Stripes Picnic. It was the first year they did it. Now, the Stars and Stripes Picnic will be much bigger with the budget of RiverFest in the mix.

The fireworks set up is on the reverse side of what they do Memorial Day weekend. The area on the south lawn offers even more space for a crowd.

“People are able to picnic on the southeast lawn, the southwest lawn, even spilling out into Penn Valley Park on that beautiful hillside, in the baseball fields,” described Naylor. “We’ll have food trucks set up, stages here in front of the memorial, and then the fireworks then lit off on the north side over the memorial as a really spectacular view.”

There will live music and DJs and kids activities. Strawberry Swing will have a maker faire of handmade goods.

White described this year’s location as RiverFest’s “temporary new home” but added that he’d like to see the National WWI Museum and Memorial as the long-term site for the city’s official Independence Day weekend fireworks and celebration.

As the riverfront continues to develop, including plans for the KC Current’s new stadium and a streetcar line extension, RiverFest hopes to eventually re-brand itself as a multi-day festival unrelated to Independence Day.

This year’s celebration will be on Saturday, July 2nd. The picnic starts at 3 p.m. The fireworks will begin shortly after 9:30 p.m.

The musical headliner this year is Casi Joy. Beverage vendors will sell alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. BYOB will also be allowed. Bring a folding lawn chair or picnic blanket!

Due to the large crowd expected, organizers recommend parking on the northern portion of the streetcar route and take the streetcar to the event. There is paid parking available.

The full entertainment lineup can be found on the Stars and Stripes Picnic website, which also includes important information about road closures and parking suggestions.

Related coverage:

Kansas City announces official Independence Day celebration plans