Arts & Culture

12 fun things to do in the Wichita area this weekend (Aug. 26-28)

Lead singer Mark Woods from the band Lakeside performs for the crowd during the Grub and Groove Festival at Jabara Airport last year.
Lead singer Mark Woods from the band Lakeside performs for the crowd during the Grub and Groove Festival at Jabara Airport last year. File photo

Welcoming home an Olympian, celebrating a local brewery’s 1-year anniversary, to a free movie for the family at New Market Square.

The first weekend of the school year is packed with fun activities for you and your family – some of which are even free.

You can’t rule out the possibility of storms this weekend, especially on Friday night, but don’t let that chance cancel your plans. A lot of events are more fun in the rain anyway.

If you’ve not yet made your weekend plans, here are a few suggestions of what to do in Wichita this weekend:

Wichita's Nico Hernandez arrived at Eisenhower National Airport to a cheering crowd on Tuesday after he won a bronze medal in boxing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. (Video by Travis Heying and Jaime Green/The Wichita Eagle)

FREE: Party with an Olympian

It’s no Olympic Village, but in Wichita, it’s about as close as you’re going to get. Nico Hernandez, the 20-year-old bronze medalist boxer, was welcomed home earlier this week at Wichita’s Eisenhower Airport. But Saturday is really when the fun starts. The city of Wichita is hosting a parade in north Wichita starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. The parade will start at NoMar Plaza and go to 13th and Waco, near Wichita North High School, the school where Hernandez graduated in 2014. After the parade, there will be a community celebration in the North High gymnasium starting at 11 a.m. Later Saturday evening, there will be a “Welcome Home Nico Hernandez” party at Cortez Mexican Restaurant from 8 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. All ages are welcome until midnight, after which attendance is limited to those 21 and older. Alcohol will be served only to those with ID (which, unfortunately, excludes the Olympian himself). Three DJs will be playing at the party.

FREE: Go to a Final Friday block party

To celebrate moving into its new headquarters at 1520 E. Douglas, Builders Plus Construction is hosting a Final Friday block party, complete with two live bands, food trucks, and the Xclusive Events Booze Truck. Linnabary Wine (that’s a band name, not alcohol) and Mountain Deer Revival will play in the parking lot at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively. Noble House Hawaiian Plate Lunch and Charlie's PizzaTaco will be on-scene as well. Unless you’re in the construction business, this will most likely be your only chance to see the new building, and that’s always a fun thing to do.

FREE: Fill Your Mug with KMUW

Start your weekend off right with coffee, frozen custard and live music – all for free. KMUW, Wichita’s National Public Radio station, is hosting its annual “Fill Your Mug” event from 5 to 8 p.m. at Public at the Brickyard, 129 N. Rock Island. The “listener appreciation event” is open to the general public, though KMUW members are invited to bring the custom mugs typically given away when one becomes a member of the station. Freddy’s will provide frozen custard, and Espresso to Go Go will be serving coffee. Jenny Wood and the Watchers will perform.

Celebrate one year of local craft beers

To much anticipation, Central Standard Brewing is hosting its one-year anniversary party for the majority of the day Saturday. There will be bands, food trucks, a dunk tank, giveaways and exclusive beer tappings from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. Noble House and Uno Mas will be there with food trucks and Herd of the Huntress, Bad Mother Hubbard and Ryan Windham will play. If you haven’t been to Central Standard yet, Saturday’s the perfect time to get a taste of what it’s like – though expect to see a massive crowd.

The brewery at 156 S. Greenwood is the only craft brewery in Kansas that has the on-site canner. (Oct. 29, 2015)

Buy locally made jeans

FNL Denim, which is run by Maize High grads Frank Hopkins and Levi Fitzmier, will open its storefront at 106 S. Emporia, just south of Douglas, on Saturday. The denim shop will have a grand opening ceremony from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, complete with food available for purchase from The Flying Stove from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The store, which will sell jeans, T-shirts and hats, is offering an $85 jean special, where people will be measured for a custom-fitting pair of jeans. Starting at $136, the store allows you to pick your denim type, thread color in addition to the custom fit.

Levi Fitzmier and Frank Hopkins explain the work that goes into their FNL Denim and why they need a Kickstarter campaign. (Sept. 17, 2015)

Get your groove on

If you like soul food or soul music, have I got a deal for you: the 2nd annual Grub and Groove Festival returns to the Col. James Jabara Airport field Saturday evening after drawing hundreds last year. The Zapp Band, Rose Royce, S.O.S Band, The Gap Experience and Angela Winbush will perform. The gates open at 3 p.m. and the shows start at 5 p.m. Last year, former mayor Carl Brewer brought his BBQ operation to the festival and if you haven’t had it, it’s worth a taste. For more information, visit

FREE: Check out cool comics and sci-fi

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, you can attend the ICT Comic-Con and Science Fiction Expo at the Sedgwick County Extension Center at 21st and Ridge. There are a variety of presentations that will be given throughout the day, and a cosplay contest starts at 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free to the expo. For more information, visit

Listen to The Travel Guide at Lucky’s

The Travel Guide, a Wichita band that recently returned from a three-week tour on the East Coast, will be performing at Lucky’s Everyday, 1217 E. Douglas, on Saturday. Fellow local rock acts Kill Vargas and Vehicles will be supporting. The show is for people 21 and older. Doors open at 9 p.m., and there is a $7 cover charge.

FREE: Watch a movie with the kids at NewMarket Square

Free outdoor movies are back at NewMarket Square. From 7:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, bring a blanket and a couple of lawn chairs to the New Market Square plaza at 21st and Maize to watch a free screening of “Kung Fu Panda 3.” The plaza can be found in front of Old Navy and Maurice’s, at the entrance by Panera Bread and TGI Fridays.

Watch local rock bands duke it out (musically)

For many up-and-coming rock bands in Wichita, Saturday night could be the beginning on their road to fame and fortune. Barleycorn’s, 608 E. Douglas, is hosting preliminary rounds of a “Battle of the Bands” competition starting at 8 p.m. Saturday. Seven bands will face off for the opportunity to play at the Cotillion in October before national acts such as Trapt, Alien Ant Farm and Saving Abel stop by. Tickets are $5.

See rarely seen airplanes

The Kansas Aviation Museum, 3350 S. George Washington Blvd., is taking multiple planes that normally sit in storage out on Saturday for an event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is regular admission to the museum: $9.50 for adults; $8.60 for senior adults age 65 and over; $7.50 for children ages 4 through 12; and free for children ages 3 and younger. The planes: a Stearman Navy Trainer, a Stearman Ariel Model B, an Allied A-2, the Pretty Prairie Special III, a Monnett Sonerai II-L (1984), a Melton Sport, and a B-52. For more information, call the museum at 316-683-9242.

FREE: Food Trucks at the Fountain

It’s always tempting to sleep in on Sundays, but the promise of fresh-cooked food truck food should be reason enough to get you out of bed this weekend. Food Trucks at the Fountain returns to the WaterWalk from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday with a wide variety of food trucks, and live music from two area musicians. Food trucks scheduled to be there: B.S. Sandwich Press, The Brown Box Bakery, Big Chill Ice Cream, Xclusive Booze Truck, Bade Truck, Blue Baboon Books, Charlie's Pizza Taco Wichita, Chino's Parrilla - Food on the go, Falling Star Concessions, Funky Monkey Munchies, Funky Monkeys Shaved Ice, Hot-2-Trot Gourmet Hotdogs, Hopperoni Express, Hit the Spot, The Kamayan Truck, Let'm Eat Bräts, Lynn's Curbside Cookout, Noble House Hawaiian Plate Lunch, Sunflower Espresso Wichita, UNO MAS ICT, U-Hungry TRUCK and The Flying Stove.