For July’s “Up Next!” we asked what was BEYOND fireworks in July. If I’m being honest … I think Brent confused most of the guests with the question. We tried to spotlight what to do after the fourth of July firework celebrations were over … but most of our invitees only could look at the sparkling display and politely declined our inquiries (as many of them enjoy the quiet of home). (That said, we thank our contributors — they’re awesome people and do awesome things.)

He: If these blog posts aren’t on point, that’s on us … not you.

Not familiar with “Up Next!”? We pose a question to people we like, respect and admire. And we ask them to answer in 100 words or so (plus share a little about what they have going on).

Up Next! Sizzle

This month, fireworks pepper the sky. So we asked our contributors where they love to see fireworks. But there’s SO MUCH more to July than fireworks.

Want to know what to do this July? There’s a little of something for everyone. Anything marginally “fun” was accepted, as Brent would argue that anything can be made to be fun.

Q: What’s Your Favorite Fireworks Spot AND What Beyond Fireworks is Happening in July?

This is what they said for “Up Next!” …

Chad Beland — The Hump! Show

Chad Beland is co-host of The Hump! Show … your show about how to get one over in this thing called life. He is also the Chairman of the Board of DGAF. While drinking beer, he posts on Instagram to cmbkc1, and recounts his travel exploits at webelandingsoon.

Our girls are older and don’t show a great deal of interest in waiting out a display these days.

We don’t live to far from Corporate Woods so when we do plan on watching the show, it’s our “go to” — you can almost see the display from our backyard.

We’ll often venture out a couple of blocks for a good view of that nearby display.

Western Auto Building lighting ceremony (July 13)
Credit: Western Auto Lofts.

Even though we live down south — you can count us as downtown dwellers for the first year of One Light’s existence — my wife and I have enjoyed the city’s renaissance. Restoring the light to the iconic Western Auto Building seems like cherry on top of the first phase of KC resurgence. We’ll be there when the lights go on, ready to celebrate … and take in what the city does next.

He & She note: But see if he’ll buy one of the burned out bulbs. You can often find out on The Hump! LIVE  7 p.m. CST each Wednesday on Facebook.

Tony Botello — Kansas City Community Journalist 

Tony’s Kansas City (TKC) is a blog community, creative outlet, news experiment and FREE SPEECH FORUM. For more than a decade author Tony Botello and TKC have led the online discourse in Kansas City. 

I live in Midtown and I’m always in a rush. The only way I ever see fireworks is by accident which is true for a lot of urban core denizens. You see a few bursts of light in the sky and then pull over randomly and (hopefully) safely as everyone with a soul does the same.

Let’s call it “the Kansas City Fireworks rendezvous” to make it sound classy.  It’s my favorite Kansas City fireworks tradition. It’s kind of like a hookup but with very little of the risk.

Sparks fly, you quickly look for an opportunity take a brief respite from the daily grind. There are explosions, glowing eyes, loud booming sounds that echo through your chest, maybe some music, awe, relaxation and smiles. It’s a good time had by all and then the moment is over just as quickly as it started. You get back in your car, slowly drive away and get back to the life that you’ve made for yourself.

Again, the bright side is that watching fireworks on the fly rarely involves checking for a rash a few weeks later.

He: We totally get the hook up metaphor. There’s a lot of build up for something that lasts all of 10 minutes and after it’s all over there’s smoke and little fanfare. And, as my buddy Chad says, “I’m tired and want to go to sleep.”

Credit: kccrossroads.org
Beyond fireworks . . . It’s concert season!!! Yeah, the Sprint Center is fine and there are so many wonderful washed up musicians coming to town this Summer. But there’s also a lot of worthwhile local bands to witness. Example: Free Fridays @ Crossroads KC offers a glimpse of some of the greatest talents in Kansas City doing their very best to escape this town by way of their impressive talents.

Erin Leigh Frederick — Lake Tahoe-based Adventurer

Credit: Tahoe South.
Erin Leigh Frederick is an east coast native that now resides in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. She is the marketing manager at Riva Grill in Lake Tahoe and owns Adventurette Tahoe, a company that plans adventure focused bachelor and bachelorette parties. She and her companies can be found on social media at @agirlcalledfred, @AdventuretteTahoe and @rivagrill.

The 4th of July means fireworks, BBQs and fun. In Tahoe it also means, boats, beaches and one of the top fireworks displays in the country, perfectly paired up with a yearly customized soundtrack. Lake Tahoe is hands down my favorite place to celebrate the 4th of July. It is a great big party on one of the prettiest lakes in the country during the day and a lakefront fireworks display at night.

Credit: American Century Championship.

July is always a busy month in Lake Tahoe as this popular ski town is actually busier in the summer. This year, however, not only does the month kick off with 4th of July celebrations, it then leads right into the American Century Championship, the biggest celebrity golf tournament in the country.

For six days celebrities come to Lake Tahoe and to compete, have fun and blow off some steam on the pristine golf course, Edgewood Tahoe. If you’re looking for the perfect July vacation, Lake Tahoe has endless activities, attractions and great weather to keep you plenty busy.

Kusal Kularatne — Kansas City Youth Entrepreneur

Kusal Kularatne is an entrepreneur from Kansas City who loves finding new ways to shake up the worlds of finance and education. He currently works at Mycroft, the world’s first open-source artificial intelligence, and studies Engineering at KU (Rock Chalk)! Give me a follow on my Twitter: @kusal_99 or my Instagram: @kusalwin_ I’ll follow back!

My family and I love going to the Corporate Woods Fireworks show every year. I love that it’s close to where I live (Leawood) and that the environment is friendly and upbeat. Outside of fireworks, Fourth of July is also a special day for me. Exactly five years ago, on July 4th, 2013, I immigrated to the United States from Sri Lanka. It’s a special day for me, and a powerful reminder of how lucky I am to live here, and how much closer I get to achieving my version of the American Dream!

And What’s Going on With Kusal?

Right now I’m working on a blog called “Make Mad Moves,” which is targeted at folks like me – young, ambitious, self-starters who want to #MakeMadMoves in life! If you’re say, 16, 17, 18, or even a 20-something, and see yourself as someone who goes above and beyond your peers, then check out Make Mad Moves. My target topics revolve around entrepreneurs, school, and living a health​​y/balanced life, so I hope you enjoy it! Check it out on medium.com/make-mad-moves

Rachel Spear — Kansas City Marketer

Rachel Spear leads editorial and social marketing for SelectQuote Insurance Services. She’s also active with the Kansas City International Association of Business Communicators having served on the board for more than nine years. She loves taking her two children, Lila and Henry, on adventures.
Credit: Vail.net.

My family and I often skip town over the fourth. For a couple years running, we headed to the Colorado mountains for a break from the Kansas City heat and humidity. Last year, we spent time in Vail Village, caught a rainbow sighting and watched fireworks when it got dark – in jeans and a sweatshirt – not something I’d recommend in Kansas City most July days. The holiday week is a great time to get out an explore our city or a new one. 

Your Proprietors — Hmmm … What To Do in July?

We’ll spare you the bio. You can read more at About Us, if you’re so inclined.

Like Chad and Kusal, Brent and I are big fans of the Corporate Woods display. Most years, when the kids were younger, you could find us on a grassy perch between the Double Tree Hotel and Garrozzo’s buying bomb pop and playing made-up games (shooting large wooden blocks into a plastic bucket like they were basketballs was a favorite). Now that the kids are older, we’ll now stay home, visit friends in the area or travel. A couple years ago, we had a great time in Atlanta (Lake Lanier).

We have some friends in Lee’s Summit who don’t live too far from Longview Mansion and they introduced us to the Lee’s Summit display. There are several other displays of note and Visit KC does a nice job showcasing them.

For artistic fireworks later in the month, check out the 14th annual Fringe Festival KC. Not familiar with Fringe Festival? It’s where “adventurous audiences meet adventurous artists.”

The 11-day celebration of uncensored performing and visual arts features local, national and international creators and performers. There are no juries. The Fringe Festival is KC’s annual oasis of free artistic expression.

Also, it’s not just for adults. Kids can get in on the act, too. Kansas City Young Audiences has partnered with the Fringe Festival to provide companion programming for Kansas City-area teenagers.

And before you go, tell us in the comments what to do this summer …


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