When a city’s beloved homegrown brewery throws a party, it’s a big deal. Add in samples from dozens of fellow breweries across the country and a weekend packed with concerts, and that’s Boulevardia– “A Nation Rich in Beer, Food, Music and Beer.” This three-day urban street festival created by Boulevard Brewing Company drew 35,000 “citizens” to a four-block radius in Kansas City’s historic West Bottoms area in its inaugural run in the summer of 2014, featuring headliners such as Capital Cities, BoDeans and Freddie Jones Band. This year’s event, scheduled to take place June 19-21 in and around the iconic, multi-leveled 12th Street viaduct will include a craft beer and food sampling experience, music from local, regional and national acts as well as family activities, entertainment, shopping and eco-education in a unique urban setting.
“Boulevardia is a festival unlike any other in Kansas City,” explains Julie Weeks, communications manager, Boulevard Brewing Company, “that elevates and combines the best aspects of beer, food and music in an urban environment. It’s the perfect weekend for discovery and appreciation of all things KC.” Boulevardia’s activities include local, regional and national music acts, a beer festival with more than 40 breweries participating from across the country, a makers market full of unique goods, a ferris wheel, and even a bacon eating contest.
“This year we’ll be ramping up activities,” Weeks said, “to include a Father’s Day Brunch, VIP experiences on an urban bridge, even more food trucks, activities and beers to enjoy. And stay tuned for music announcements in the coming weeks.”
Exemplifying the healthy marriage between beer and bikes, Boulevardia also provides a bike valet for any festival goer arriving on two wheels, and there’s even an organized bike ride – Ride 2 Boulevardia – that Saturday that raises funds for Cancer Action and Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
An avid cyclist on the streets and trails around town, Weeks’ hobbies mirror the festival’s love for outdoor activities. “I’m also a frequent user of several local dog parks thanks to my two pooches, and especially Shawnee Mission Dog Park is one of my happiest spots on earth. First Fridays is a super fun way to enjoy the outdoors in the artsy Crossroads district of Kansas City. You can enjoy food, drinks and some great weather all while taking in local art.”
Leave it to the brewery employee to sum up Kansas City with a hint of libation. “Kansas City is vibrant,” Weeks said.“It is a place of positivity and offers all of the benefits of a big city life with Midwestern hospitality. It is our nation’s hidden gem in the center of the country and a place you get intoxicated with the charm and creativity that is generated within its city limits.”