“Out in the Crossroads” exists to commemorate LGBT History Month. It also celebrates National Coming Out Day a little early. Traditionally, Coming Out Day is on Oct. 11 each year. That date was chosen because it was the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the second march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality. Out in the Crossroads seeks to be a smaller, more intimate block party showcasing the many facets of the Kansas City LGBT community.

Jeff Edmondson and Eric Cristensen, life partners and co-owners of Hamburger Mary’s, began planning Out in the Crossroads in the spring of 2013 to bring back the spirit of fall street fairs in the Kansas City LGBT community. The last one was “Out in Westport” in October 2007, in front of the former Lesbian and Gay Community Center of Kansas City. Since that time, the Lesbian and Gay Community Center changed the name to “OutFest” and held its events at Gillham Park and UMKC. The last OutFest was in October 2011; the OutFest for 2012 was canceled.

Edmondson said, “We decided to put on the Out in the Crossroads street festival because we felt like we needed to do some sort of fall event for KC’s LGBT community to rally around and celebrate. Our hope is that this year’s event will be the start of a strong, new tradition in our great city.”

Held in conjunction with the monthly Crossroads First Friday Art Walk, Out in the Crossroads will see between 4,000 and 6,000 people on Friday, Oct. 4, alone. There is no charge to come out and participate in the event. All ages are welcome, too.

Out in the Crossroads will have a full array of vendors featuring a wide variety of goods and services in the Baltimore Avenue market. Participating merchants and restaurants in the Crossroads Arts District will also be offering specials, discounts and freebies all weekend to those who have purchased age-check bracelets at the event.
Guidelines for the Weekend
Out in the Crossroads is a public event. There is no cost to anyone to enter the street festival event grounds. However, for the safety of all present and due to numerous city ordinances, Out in the Crossroads requests that attendees comply with the following guidelines:
Because this is a street event, seating will not be set up for attendees.
• For Friday night, Oct. 4, because the night will evolve into a street dance, attendees are asked not to bring in lawn chairs or other seating devices. Wheelchairs and similar mobility devices are allowed as exceptions.
• For Saturday, Oct. 5, attendees may bring in lawn chairs, folding chairs, etc., to enjoy the day’s concerts.
Weapons of any sort (guns, knives, etc.) will not be permitted anywhere on the premises. Anyone caught possessing a weapon of any sort will be immediately arrested and charges will be filed against them, unless the individual is permitted by law to possess such a weapon in a public arena.
Underage drinking of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited. Anyone caught drinking alcoholic beverages who does not possess an age-check bracelet, whether that person is of age or not, will immediately be escorted from the premises and not allowed back in.
No outside beverages, whether in marked or unmarked containers, will be allowed to be brought into the event grounds.
No outside food will be allowed to be brought into the event grounds.
Kissing is permitted. But public sexual acts and nudity are not permitted. This event is intended for people of all ages, so let’s keep it clean, please.
No one under the age of 13 will be permitted unless accompanied by an adult over the age of 21.
Street parking is available throughout the Crossroads district. However, due to the expected crowds, we recommend parking in one of these parking areas:
Two blocks away
15 W. 20th St. (Across Main Street from IMIJ Salon)
101 W. 22nd St. (behind Lidia’s and Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue)
Three blocks away
300 Southwest Blvd. (Paid parking in front of Lulu’s)
30 W. Pershing Rd. (Paid parking at Union Station. Use the sky walk from inside Union Station to cross the railroad tracks for fastest access to the festival.)
Mass Transit
The Main Street MAX bus line will take you within two blocks of the festival. It runs all day until about 11 p.m. Friday and midnight on Saturday (depending on your pickup location). Fares are only $1.50, including transfers. You can plan your route from anywhere in the metro at www.kcata.org.

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Photo by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash

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