The Plaza Art Fair is one of the largest events in one of Kansas City’s most historic districts. Each year, crowds of more than 250,000 visit the Country Club Plaza over the course of three days. There are artists, concerts and restaurant booths set up on every corner, not to mention the hundreds of stores open year-round on the Plaza.
This annual festival is typically held in late September, when the leaves are just beginning to turn and residents of Kansas City are breaking out their Chiefs’ gear. Spirits are up across the city as the weather cools, making the Plaza Art Fair a great way to welcome the fall season to town.
There are a hundred things you could (and should!) see when you visit the KC Plaza Art Fair. The variety is part of what makes the event so special. From the shops to the artists to the concerts and the food; there’s something good around every corner. And as you’re planning your day at the Plaza Art Fair, we hope you’ll visit our corner: Ward Parkway and Jefferson Street. That’s where you’ll find Parkway Social Kitchen — a can’t-miss food stop for anyone at the Kansas City Plaza Art Fair.
Named the Best Booth at the 2018 Plaza Art Fair, we’re serving up something you’ll love to chow down. You can stop into our brick-and-mortar location or our award-winning food booth. As you’ll see, Parkway embodies the essence of the Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City, Missouri.
History of the Plaza Art Fair
The Kansas City Plaza Art Fair is going on 90 years running. It began in the fall of 1932, during the heart of the Great Depression. From 1929–1931, residents of Kansas City watched as America’s most trusted institutions collapsed one after another. By the beginning of the ‘30s, the general population feared the worst. So, they stopped spending. And Kansas City businesses suffered the losses.
Companies across the city were failing as potential customers tightened their grip on their wallets. The Plaza, already a budding retail district, knew it needed a way to get people out of their homes and into the shopping center. It also knew that deals alone couldn’t fix this. People were scared, and they needed more than a good price. They needed a community.
The Plaza Art Fair was conceived to bring people together to celebrate art, Kansas City and each other. In a time dominated by fear and financial anxiety, the art fair was a beacon of light for Kansas City residents. At the first annual KC Plaza Art Fair in 1932, there were 90 artists selling paintings.
Since then, the Country Club Plaza Art Fair has expanded along with the district itself. Today, you can find more than 200 artists each year displaying much more than just paintings.
As the Plaza Art Fair’s website says, “The Plaza Art Fair has impressively become a top-ranked national art event. But, perhaps even more impressively, it continues to be a week of people simply celebrating art and each other, as well as Kansas City’s unofficial welcome to the fall season.”
Parkway at the Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City, Mo.
Parkway’s mission is food with a sense of community. Just like the original intention of the Plaza Art Fair, we exist as a gathering space. Life can be hard, work can be weary and weeks can be long. We wanted a space to refuel and relax, to have great food and even better company; so we built that place. Much like the Plaza Art Fair, Parkway is a place for people to celebrate each other.
There are a couple places you can find Parkway during the Plaza Art Fair KC.
- Jefferson Street and Ward Parkway: Look for the restaurant that is kind of shaped like a triangle on this heavily trafficked corner. You can’t miss us. The open-air dining area and bar make for a perfect September Saturday. Come enjoy our take on elevated comfort foods in a setting built for conversation. Or, if you’re looking for something different, head downstairs to The Lounge, our concert and event space.
- The Plaza Art Fair Booth: Aside from the amazing artists on display, there are also more than 20 restaurant booths around the district for the Plaza Art Fair. Parkway’s booth was a huge hit in 2018, and we were awarded the prize of best booth by the art fair. We serve a limited menu of Parkway’s biggest hits, as well as beer, wine and cocktails. Check back for our specific booth location as the Kansas City Plaza Art Fair gets closer.
- The After Party: The Plaza Art Fair shuts down at 10, but you don’t have to go home just yet. Parkway hosts a 10 p.m.–midnight after party on Friday and Saturday after the fair. Swing by for drinks, late-night snacks and music. It’s the perfect way to end a great day seeing art and experiencing the best of KC community.
Make a Reservation for the KC Plaza Art Fair
If you’re planning your day at the Plaza Art Fair and know that Parkway will be one of your stops, we’d love to see you at our booth or at the Ward Parkway location. You can call in or make a reservation online for a sit-down meal. It’ll be a busy weekend, so make sure you have a seat!