Reduce the Stress: A Fun and Easy Way to Enjoy Pride 2006

During the weekend of June 2-4, Kansas City will be hosting it annual gay pride celebration at Liberty Memorial (more popularly known in our circle as “the %&$# in the sky”). The theme this year is “Wanna Change the World? There’s Nothing to It.” The planners of this three-day event claim that this will be the best Pride Celebration yet. The celebration will host the infamous RuPaul, the vivacious female group EnVogue, sexy Kim English, and heartthrob Eric Himan, as well as numerous local acts.
There will also be sporting events, concessions stands, adult beverages, and booths selling a little bit of everything (I still have my beads from last year). Pets are allowed if they’re kept on a leash (some exceptions will be permitted for that “dog” of a lover you’ll have in tow. But I’d still keep an eye on him). The June 2nd Street Blast, which will be just blocks from the memorial is a must-attend party event. And everything will be happening not far from the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the host hotel for the event. They’ve also extended the deadline for special Gay Pride rates.
Detailed information can be found in this special Pride Edition, or you can log on at www.kansascitypride.org.
So what’s the best way to access all of this without the headaches of parking and trying to find clubs, restaurants, and the like? We at Camp have some suggestions that may make things a little less stressful for the many of our out-of-town visitors, as well as our locals. So listen up and take it from someone who’s always looking for an easier way to enjoy this fair city I call home.
First I suggest you take advantage of our host hotel. The rates the Hyatt Regency is offering are very reasonable, service is great, and the Crown Center Shopping Center is only minutes away. In addition the hotel is strategically located three blocks east of Liberty Memorial (a five- to ten-minute walk). I stress this point because, due to the construction of the new Federal Reserve Bank just south of the Pride location, parking near the festival site is limited.
Three blocks northwest of the hotel is the site of the Street Blast. Besides the Street Blast, this area, known as the Crossroad District, is also host to First Fridays, the evening each month that the art galleries are open to the general public. With galleries offering free admission and complimentary wine to patrons, this is a great opportunity to soak up some of the artistic culture of KC (and the wine’s another reason to leave the car at the hotel). I attended both last year and it was great fun running back and forth between the two.
For those of you with shopping and sightseeing in your blood, I suggest the Country Club Plaza, with a twist: Try the city transit system. Even if gas is at an all-time high, the Plaza is great place to go shopping, sightseeing, and it does offer an array of restaurants. However, congested traffic can be a problem, as well as finding parking. This is why I suggest taking the Metro bus. At the corner of Grand Street and Pershing Road (one block east of the hotel), you can hop on the southbound MAX Express and be at the Plaza in as little as ten minutes. You save on gas, eliminate parking hassles, AND you get to experience how friendly Kansas Citians can be. The bus runs every ten to twenty minutes during peak hours and every thirty minutes during the evening. For more information, call the Metro at (816) 221-0660.
Many of the clubs are also near the hotel. Balanca’s, bar Natasha, Belle Starr Bistro, DB Warehouse, Tootsie’s, and Daddy’s Clubhouse Bar are in the Crossroads area where the Street Blast will be. Others, like Club 1020, Sidekicks Saloon, Bootleggers, Missie B’s, Sidestreets, Bistro 303, OutABounds, and NV are a few minutes by car or (better yet) cab. And let’s not forget The View on the Hill, The Fox, or Wetherbee’s. They’re well worth a drive. Just check the directory on page 40 for information and directions to the party spot of your choice.
Well, boys and girls, that’s it—a crash course in getting around Kansas City during Pride Weekend and having a gay ole time of it. Not originally being from here, I’ve always appreciated the information supplied to me by the local residents during my transition to Kansas City life. I hope the information in this article can be of some use to you. In any case, enjoy your stay and I hope to see you at the festival.

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

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