Put on your dancing shoes and your drinking pants for the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival, August 22nd-27th in Kansas City.
If you’ve picked up a local paper or magazine lately, you’ve probably seen some mention of the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival — and for good reason. Paris of the Plains is a week-long celebration of the Midwest’s best cocktails, including fancy cocktail parties with live music, delicious cocktails and food, educational seminars, tastings and the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition (formerly known as the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition). It’s like the South by Southwest of booze, all culminating with the Gala Celebration at the American restaurant.
Sounds cool, right? Right! But we consider ourselves semi-professional drinkers and even we were intimidated by the schedule. Plus, feed me kc is an official media sponsor (even though Emily will be at the IFBC food bloggers’ conference in Portland instead of Chris Conaster’s Horsefeather event at Grunauer). So, we asked a few of the festival’s organizers to help us navigate the process of attending and imbibing.
FMKC: The schedule intimidates me. It looks like mostly a conference for bartenders. I’m just a person who appreciates a great drink and thinks you guys are cool. Is there a place for me?
No, this is soooo not about geeks geeking with each other and non-geeks gawking at them. This is Kansas City, dammit, this is the Midwest. We are nice here. We are respectful here. We want enthusiasts to show up and ask silly questions and learn everything they want to, and most importantly, get to hang out with people who do this for a living but still love nothing better than to be with people who love great cocktails. There is no attitude in Kansas City; we leave that to other, more important cities. Instead, you will hang with the people who are on the cutting edge of mixology, but you’re as likely to have a beer with them as a twelve-ingredient, Chartreuse foam-topped cocktail garnished with precious metals. Actually, you won’t have to taste anything like that at all. – Doug Frost
So, what events do you recommend for a drink-loving Kansas Citian? Can I just get a wristband for everything?
Oh man! So many good ones! The Count Basie Tribute at the Kill Devil Club will definitely be amazing and a great tribute to our city, not to mention a sneak peek into the venue pre-opening! There’s always the Bartending Competition which is tons-o-fun and has practically every aspect of entertainment under the sun, and then of course the Gala at The American to Benefit KCPT! Live Music, amazing food, the culmination of the first ever Washington Cup Spirits Competition, and hello, of course tasty drinks.
We don’t have any fancy “VIP” all-access passes this year, BUT, if you are interested in our seminars, we are now offering an “All-In-One” ticket option, which will get you almost 40% off the individual purchase price. So that’s pretty neato. – Brandon Cummins
Dude! No worries! There’s plenty of opportunities to volunteer at the festival! We need folks to help prep ingredients, take tickets, escort bartenders, answer questions and more! So even if you might not be able to afford the ticket prices, you can always send us a volunteer request via the form on our site — be sure to let us know when you would be available, and what event you’d like to help with, and what special skills you might have (like bowstaff skills) and we’ll try and accommodate as best we can! – Brandon Cummins
Kansas City used to be pretty famous (or infamous) for our drinks (or drinking), right?
I can’t ever forget a story the legendary KC bar owner Milton Morris told me. He was (as usual) cursing me for my stupidity because I was asking him about the Pendergast days and how Kansas City was “wide open” as they used say, and I didn’t understand what he meant by the “five dollar rule”. After abusing me for a while he finally explained that when you opened a new bar in Kansas City in those days, you gave the front door key to a cabdriver along with five bucks. The idea was that the cabbie would drive as far as five bucks would get him and throw the key away. Because if you ever, EVER closed your doors, even for five minutes on a Sunday morning or whatever, WHY DID YOU EVEN BOTHER TO OPEN A BAR? Bars were open 24-7 then, no closing time, partying all day, all night, forever. That’s some serious freaky city partying. – Doug Frost