Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mardi Gras Followup

 
  Well Mardi Gras is still alive and kicking in Kansas City. As I stated in my previous post, we take time to celebrate this annual event at Holyfield Winery. It has become tradition for the Doghouse Daddies to provide the musical entertainment, and this year they did not disappoint. This band can really get the crowd engaged, and the dance floor soon becomes way too small.
 
 
  Another tradition is for the annual march around the winery. At Michelle's request the band strikes up "When the Saints Go Marching In", and the crowd knows exactly what to do. The line swells, and heads out the side door for a brisk dance around the front of the building. Soon they reappear through another door and make their way back to the dance floor. Everyone finishes off the song and heads back to their tables for some refreshments. 



  Michelle keeps the crowd involved, while her father Les oversees the festivities. This duo has turned Holyfield into a destination winery with a myriad of unique events. Next weekend they will host a Valentine's event complete with dueling pianos. We expect it will be  just as popular as Mardi Gras. During the summer they host a series of outdoor musical concerts, which offer a great way to view the vines on the grounds. They also host some Murder Mystery events throughout the year. Michelle does a great job of posting pictures from events on their Facebook page, so everyone has a chance to see all of the fun that was had.

 
  So if you are looking for something to do, and a chance to be added to the Holyfield Winery Facebook Wall of Fame, be sure to check out their upcoming events. You can also find them at www.holyfieldwinery.com. We hope to see you there. Until we meet again, Cheers!
 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Laissez les bons temps rouler!


  We made it through January fairly unscathed in Kansas City, and now we are one month closer to Spring. February can often be one of the closet months in the year, as winter strives to retain its icy grip on the area. To battle this, it is best to find some more indoor recreation to enjoy on the cold winter days. Of course one big annual celebration that occurs in February is Mardi Gras. Just the name brings to mind music, parades, floats, and revelry. Participants wear costumes of gold, green, and purple, while adorning themselves with strands of beads.

   Mardi Gras refers to the events of Carnival, which begins on or after the feast of Epiphany (Three King’s Day). It culminates on Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is actually French for Fat Tuesday, which is the last night of revelry before the start of Lenten season. In some cities the parties grow to an unbelievable level, before abruptly ending until the next year. Here in Kansas City we are a little quieter in our celebrations, but we still enjoy marking the occasion.    


  One of our favorite ways to celebrate is to visit our hometown winery, and yes we do visit it quite often. Holyfield Winery in Basehor, Ks. has an annual Mardi Gras Party, which is usually held the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. This year it will fall on February 6th from 1:00 – 5;00 p.m. It’s a great opportunity to break out your beads and masks, and have some fun. The Doghouse Daddies, a local band, will be playing their signature blues, which is perfect for dancing, singing along or just tapping your toes. Every year there is a march through the winery, as the band plays “When the Saints Come Marching In”. It is always entertaining for participants, as well as those who just choose to watch.

   The admission price is $5.00 per person with children 12 & under getting in for free. There is usually at least one food truck on site, and this year it will be the Cajun Cabin. Guests are also allowed to bring their own food and snacks, but all wine must be purchased from the winery. This is not a deal breaker, since the wines at Holyfield are delicious. The banquet hall fills up fast, so be sure to get there early. However you choose to celebrate the occasion just remember to “Let the Good Times Roll”.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cheers! Happy Kansas Day!



  It was 155 years ago, on January 29, 1861, that Kansas was admitted into the Union as the 34th state. It was welcomed in during a tumultuous time in our country's history. By the grit of it's citizens it was able to survive and flourish. This weekend there will be a smattering of celebrations around the state to recognize this anniversary. One of our favorite places to observe this special occasion is Holyfield Winery.

 Holyfield Winery is located at 18807 158th Street in Basehor, Kansas on Highway 24. That is just a couple of miles West of 7 Highway on the North side of the road. The winery is a family owned business ran by Les & Michelle Meyer, who are father and daughter. The fourteen acre site has more than 12,000 grape vines, and produces a variety of award winning wines. They produce about 7000 gallons of wine annually from their 10 grape varieties. 


  The main building holds a tasting room and gift shop, as well as a banquet hall. There is also an outdoor gazebo and deck. The banquet hall is used to host a variety of celebrations and events throughout the year. These include musical entertainment and a murder mystery series. During warmer weather the music events are moved outside to accommodate larger gatherings. 


 One of the first celebrations each year is the Kansas Day Celebration. This year it will be held on Sunday, January 31st from 2:00 to 5:00. There will be musical entertainment on the piano and a birthday cake for guests. This is a free event, and you are always welcome to bring a picnic basket of snacks.  Wine must be purchased from the winery only, but why would you want it any other way? It's a great reason to get together with friends and celebrate the history of our great state, while enjoying some delicious local wine. For more information about the winery and all of their events be sure to visit www.holyfieldwinery.com. 


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Baby It's Cold Outside


  Well the winter weather has settled into Kansas City, and now it's time to just wait it out. It's the time of year that we find ways to entertain ourselves indoor, since being outside can cause frostbite. More time is spent planning for the warmer weather ahead. Perhaps you cruise the Internet checking out warmer climate vacation options or planning some summer road trips. It's a great time to look for festivals within a days drive to add to your bucket list. Two good sources for this type of info are www.travelks.com and festivalnet.com. If your travels are taking you to Missouri then festival net will still work, and you can also add www.visitmo.com to your list. 


  As if the cold weather isn't bad enough, we obviously need snow and ice to compound the issue. No one enjoys driving in these conditions, but at least we get practice. In some parts of the country entire cities are shut down at the mere mention of snow. In a recent poll by Allstate Insurance, it was stated that drivers from Kansas City, Kansas are ranked as the Best Bad Weather Drivers in the nation. I guess we just realize that when the weather turns bad it helps to slow down. There is no reason to hurry to a wreck. So if you are driving through KCK on a snowy winter day, please slow down and drive like us residents. We all just want to make it home safely.


  Now the one part of the cold weather season that really gets to me is how it affects the temperature in our offices. I don't know about your workplace, but ours can feel like a walk-in cooler when the temperature dips below 40 degrees. I know it's not just me, because I hear the space heaters, and see others wearing sweaters in the halls. It's enough to make a person wish for early retirement. Unfortunately the bills aren't going to pay themselves, so I guess I just need to bundle up and deal with it. At least I can dream of warmer weather and being outdoors. It's time to pull out those garden catalogs, pour myself a hot cup of coffee, and wrap up in some blankets to dream of sunshine and balmy weather. Let's just hope this winter passes quickly, and leaves us all safe in the end. 




Friday, January 15, 2016

The War to End All Wars


  We’ve all seen the pictures from the Royal’s World Series rally at Union Station. Everyone remarked about how large of a crowd assembled, and how it was such an oddity. Well it was not the first time in Kansas City history that a massive crowd assembled near this site. You have to travel back to 1921 to realize it before, and it may not have been 800,000 people, but considering the travel conditions of those days it was still an impressive event. This large mass of humanity gathered to witness a once in a lifetime event commemorating the first World War Museum in the United States. 


  Kansas City has the distinct honor of being home to the National World War I Museum. The museum is dedicated to showing the war through the people who lived it. The war began in the Summer of 1914 and continued through the fall of 1918. It ended on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918. World War I took the life of more than 9 million soldiers with 21 million more wounded. Civilian casualties are estimated at around 10 million. It would later be called “The War to End All Wars” by those who lived during those years. 

  Soon after WWI ended leaders from Kansas City formed the Liberty Memorial Association with the purpose of creating a lasting monument to those who served in the war. In 1919 they raised more than $2.5 million in just 10 days. This shows the public passion for a project which commemorates the impact the war had on the entire world. 


The museum, originally known as the Liberty Memorial Museum, began collecting artifacts in 1920 from all of the nations involved in the war. In 1921 more than 100,000 people gathered to witness the Allied Nations commanders dedicate the site. This would be the first time in history that these five leaders were at the same location together. Almost 100 years later the museum is home to the largest collection of WWI items.


It is the official World War I of the United States, but it tells the stories of the war in a more comprehensive fashion. Not only are all of the Allied countries represented, but also the belligerent nations, as well. The stories include battlefront and home front with items ranging from a soldier’s field supplies to national treasures, medals, and awards. The Main Gallery sits beneath the Liberty Memorial Courtyard and hold the permanent collection. There are documents, artifacts, interactive tables, and even recreated trenches to explore.

  The WWI Museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for Seniors, and $8 for children 6 to 11. The have World War Wednesdays with all tickets for just $7. Plan your visit to Kansas City’s World War I Museum to learn about this life changing time in our history. It was a different generation and a different way of life.







Thursday, January 14, 2016

Shhh! We're hunting art.



  It’s still Winter in Kansas City, which means indoor activities are favored. Just because you are stuck indoors, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. So when the kids are restless why not ask them if they want to go on a scavenger hunt. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art hosts an art scavenger hunt on the third Saturday of each month. Here kids can flex their detective skills while discovering something new about contemporary art. You can pick up a self-guided activity list at the Visitor Services Desk and then follow the clues. Children can even pick up art making activity to take home.

  
  The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is just what the name implies. You will find artwork by modern and contemporary artists from all around the globe. The museum opened in 1994, and since then the permanent collection has tripled. The Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection is the core of the museum’s permanent exhibits. The museum rotates its collection on a regular basis, so there is almost always something new to discover. 


    
  The museum is located at 4420 Warwick Blvd. in Kansas City, Missouri. They are open from 10;00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays through Sundays. They have extended hours until 9:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. They are closed on Mondays. Admission and parking are free. With all of these things going for you why not plan a visit to this unique location.



Monday, January 11, 2016

To the Moon


  The building doesn't look like much from the outside. In fact, it would be easy to drive by it numerous times, and never realize what it is. That would be a shame. This plain gray building is chocked full of fun. It sits just a few feet away from the railroad tracks in Bonner Springs, Kansas with the building mostly at or below street level, which makes it harder to notice. Most people are concentrating on the businesses that sit on the North side of K-32 highway, cruising right past this gem. Once you find it you will always remember it.


  Passing through the door you enter a building jam packed with toys of all kinds. I'm not talking about just the most recent creations, but those relics you played with during your formative years. From kites to blocks, science experiments to gag toys, and everything in between. The range of toys will work for all kids, including those who have moved into their later years. They have partitioned off an area to trial some of the marble games, since after all that is their largest draw. On any given day you will see kids so overwhelmed by the variety that they can't seem to focus on any one toy. It is certainly a toy lovers paradise.


  As you make your way through the store you eventually find yourself near the marble making area. Yes, they make marbles here. According to their website, they started out making wooden game boards and toys. When they found it difficult to obtain marbles they decided to make their own. Marble maker and owner Bruce Breslow frequently demonstrates his marble making skills. A set of bleachers hold small crowds who assemble to watch him work. He takes time to explain the multi-step process to the crowd, and most find it fascinating. He will also pepper in some marble history, as well as some general glass making information. 

   
  The store stocks machine made marbles in a wide range of colors, designs and sizes. While I never grew up playing marbles as a kid, we always were carrying some around. There is something about them that captures your attention and let's your imaginative juices flow. The store is located just West of the intersection of K-32 and 7 Highways in Bonner Springs, Kansas. You will find it on the South side of K-32 with the parking lot behind the store. The store is open from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. They are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Marble making demonstrations are given on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturdays starting around 10;30 a.m. and finishing around 3:00 p.m. Bus tours and large groups must call ahead of time to schedule a demonstration Monday thru Saturday at 913-441-1432. You can find out more at their website www.moonmarble.com. Just remember you're never too old to be a kid!