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by William Crum

The year was 2004 when the Fringe Festival started in the Kansas City area. Referred to by many as the new vaudeville, the Fringe Festival has gotten bigger and better every year.

This year it has 100 artists and groups in more than 422 performances in 18 venues from the Crossroads area to the University of Missouri at Kansas City. The performances range from dance to comedy and the visual arts.

The price for each event ranges from $10 to $15 and the tickets can be purchased at the venues 30 minutes before show time. Tickets for children 12 and under are $5 and are available at box office for shows that are rated family friendly.

One of the participants in the Fringe Festival is Heidi Van Middlesworth, who is known at the festival as Heidi Van. She is a 1996 graduate of Bishop Ward High School who now is the owner of the Fish Tank, a place where a new playwright can get a chance to show off his work.

Heidi started acting at a very young age; her mother was involved with the Theater League and they would have plays where children who are young get a chance to act.

“I really had fun doing these plays as a child,” she said. “As I got older my love for the theater has become a major part of my life. I really enjoy teaching acting to young people. This is how the Fish Tank came about,” Heidi said.

Another participant in this year’s festival is Wendy Wood, who performs with a group called Skin. She goes by the stage name of Emery. This is a Las Vegas-style ensemble that when you see it you think you’re right there in downtown Vegas, a group that Wayne Newton would have on stage with him. This performance is for adults.

Wendy Wood, a resident of Wyandotte County, appears in this year’s Fringe Festival. (Photo by William Crum)


Wendy lives here in Wyandotte County. Wendy is a graduate of Schlagle High School in Kansas City, Kan., and has relatives who live in Bonner Springs, Kan., and Edwardsville, Kan. Like Heidi, she started off at a very young age and both Heidi and Wendy are proud of their roots in Wyandotte County.

“Eventually I plan to move back to Wyandotte County and bring the Fish Tank along with me. Especially with the redevelopment of Minnesota Avenue,” Heidi said.

There are lots of residents from Wyandotte County who really enjoy the Fringe Festival and every year they try to attend various performances. Two people who enjoy the festival are State Sen. David Haley and State Rep. Pam Curtis. “I tried to attend as many of the performances I can even though I have a very busy schedule,” said Sen. David Haley.

“Eventually we want to go to the Wyandotte County area, but nothing for me yet. They have been talking to the Alcott Center but nothing is firm yet. As soon as we close this year you start getting ready for next year immediately,” said Cheryl Kimmi, the executive director.

The Fringe Festival started July 17 and runs through Sunday, July 27, at 20 places in Kansas City, Mo. For more information about the performances of the Kansas City Fringe Festival go to the website, www.kcfringe.org.

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Former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green is scheduled to be a VIP master of ceremonies at the Theater in the Park performance of “Tom Sawyer” on Wednesday, July 23.

The performance is at 8:30 p.m., with Green’s appearance at 7 p.m. to sign autographs.

The play is based on Mark Twain’s classic book set in the 1840s in small-town Missouri.

The Trent Green Family Foundation is one of the creators of the HIKE program, which enhances reading skills among low-income children.

The theater is in Shawnee Mission Park at 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee. For more information, including directions, visit www.theatreinthepark.org.

Speedway to hold Swap Meet July 19
Looking for something automotive? Or maybe an antique? Look no further than Kansas Speedway on July 19 as the Speedway holds its first swap meet. The swap meet, which will have over 1,200 automotive related spaces, will take place in the Kansas Speedway infield from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 19. Kansas Speedway’s Garage C will have craft and collectible items. A car corral will be available with cars in the corral available for purchase on the day of the event. Tickets for each day are $5 per car and will be available on July 19. Richard Petty Driving Experience will be on track and concessions will be available in Sprint FanWalk. For more information, visit www.kansasspeedway.com.

Legendary 5K Run-Walk planned
The Legendary 5K Run-Walk is planned at 8 a.m. July 19 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kan.

Central Avenue Market Art Fair planned
The La Placita Central Avenue Market Art Fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 19 at Bethany Park, 1100 Central Ave., Kansas City, Kan. There will be exhibits, booths, food vendors, music and dancing.

Democrats to meet July 19
The Wyandotte County Third Saturday Democratic Breakfast will meet Saturday, July 19, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Eisenhower Room, 520 Minnesota Ave. Speakers will be Democratic primary candidates, including candidates for Congress and the open county judge position. The breakfast buffet begins at 8:15 a.m. and the forum begins at 9:15 a.m. The cost of the breakfast buffet is $10; or $7 for students and those on limited income. The meeting is open to Democrats. Reservations are requested, but not required, by Friday, July 18. To make reservations, email scottmackey08@yahoo.com.

‘Zoo to You’ program planned
The Kansas City Zoo’s program, “Zoo to You,” will be presented at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at the Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Schlagle Environmental Library at Wyandotte County Lake Park, 4051 West Drive. Zoo educators, animal ambassadors and touchable artifacts are included in this program. The park entrance is at 91st and Leavenworth Road.

Church plans ice cream social
Grinter Chapel Methodist Church, 7819 Swartz Road, is planning an ice cream social from 1 to 4 p.m. July 19. Ice cream, a cookie or a brownie will be served. A donation of $4 for adults and $2 for children 10 and younger will be requested.

Church holds rummage sale

Stony Point Christian Church, 149 S. 78th, is planning a rummage sale from 9 a.m. to noon July 19. The sale may include clothing, household items and tools.

Strawberry Hill Museum plans garage sale
The Strawberry Hill Museum, 720 N. 4th St., is planning a garage sale from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 19. Money raised from the sale will go toward the museum’s new roof.

LA Galaxy to visit Sporting KC today in KCK
Sporting Kansas City will play cross conference foe LA Galaxy at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 19, at Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. The match will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes and also available for listeners on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340 AM. A limited number of tickets may be available via Ticketmaster.com, including standing room only tickets beginning at $20.

T-Bones to present concert before game Saturday, July 19
At the T-Bones game Saturday, July 19, will be a pregame concert by country recording artist Logan Mize presented by the Kansas City, Kan., Convention and Visitors Bureau. First Responders Night presented by American Family Insurance and Verizon. Boy Scout Campout Night presented by Verizon. Postgame fireworks presented by Verizon. Game at 7:05 p.m. against Winnipeg at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, Kansas City Kan.

Live at Legends free concert to be July 19
The Legends Outlets, I-70 and I-435, will sponsor free family friendly concerts on some Saturday evenings during July and August in front of the center courtyard fountain. Funk Mama and Mr. Stinky Feet will perform from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 19. The Live at the Legends summer concert series will feature local and regional talent performing popular pop, classic rock and country hits from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and today. The concert series will take place at the center of the Civic Courtyard Fountain in front of Phoenix Theaters Legends 14.

Summer concert to be July 19 at Legends
Dave and Buster’s Summer Concert Series will continue at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 19, on the rooftop patio at The Legends Outlets. The Mickey Finn Band will perform from 9 p.m. to close July 19. Different bands will play on Saturdays through September.

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