Lenexa bringing back many community events this year but altered by COVID-19

Lenexa's outdoor concerts and other community events are returning for the first half of this year. Above, participants at an outdoor concert last year. Photo credit Reba Matlock.

Lenexa is planning multiple community events through July to bring people together safely this year.

The “City of Festivals” has brought back many of its events for the first half of this year, although many of them have been reformatted for COVID-19 mitigation protocols.

Logan Wagler, director of parks and recreation for Lenexa, said his team is excited to bring the community together again. At the same time, health and wellness of the community remains a top priority.

“Given the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and public health orders we have had to reimagine how we can continue to provide our services safely,” Wagler said. “It’s important to understand that large events require lots of advanced planning and coordination to be successful. Because the pandemic has been a very fluid situation, decisions for all of our programs, services, and events can only be made on the information that is currently available.”

Lenexa has also canceled only one event so far this year — the annual Lenexa Art Fair — but fine artists’ work will instead be featured in the art gallery at Lenexa City Hall and at the farmers market.

“Beyond the events scheduled for July 4, no decisions have been made, and we are really hopeful that we can hold our fall events as close to normal as possible,” Wagler added.

Lenexa will adhere to any health and safety requirements from the county on COVID-19 mitigation, such as requiring masks whenever physical distancing cannot occur. Here’s what to look forward to in Lenexa:

Lenexa Farmers Market, outdoor concerts and pickleball

Lenexa’s pickleball fundraiser is returning. Photo credit Bill Harrison.

The Lenexa Farmers Market returns for a winter market event this Saturday morning. Thereafter, the farmers market’s regular season will be Saturday mornings from April through October, and Tuesday mornings from June through August at the civic campus.

Plus the city’s Outdoor Concert Series will be Sunday evenings at the Grand Pavilion in Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. Concerts are lined up from May 16 to June 13. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket.

And the city is also bringing back its Swingin’ for a Scholarship Pickleball Tournament Fundraiser. The two-day tourney takes place May 7-8 on the new courts at Bois D’Arc Park.

Pickleball players can sign up to play and support the city’s parks and recreation scholarship program. Registration is open through April 26.

Great Lenexa BBQ Battle and other events get new format

Lenexa has reformatted several events to protect the health and safety of participants.

The Great Lenexa BBQ Battle on June 25-26 is open only to the returning teams who signed up to participate in the canceled 2020 barbecue contest. Attendance is limited to teams, judges and essential staff.

Plus, the city will host two drive-in movies at the Freedom Fields south parking lot, as well as the Youth Fishing Derby in June at Black Hoof Park. Registration is required for the fishing derby.

Finally, the city’s Independence Day festivities will return, though they’ll look different. The Freedom Run will take place on July 3, although staggered start times and other modifications are expected.

And the Community Days Porch Parade — a “reverse-style” parade where families and businesses decorate their properties and people can drive by and enjoy them. The porch parade replaced the city’s annual July 4 parade last year and will come back again in July.