Arts & Culture

10 fun things to do in the Wichita area this Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-5)

The Lake Afton Public Observatory will officially reopen to the public on Friday.
The Lake Afton Public Observatory will officially reopen to the public on Friday. (File photo)

Finally, Labor Day weekend has arrived.

All those long weeks since the Fourth of July have been building up to this weekend, the first major holiday since.

Start your September off right by trying a few of these fun options in the Wichita area this (extended) weekend:

FREE: Party at Whole Foods

There’s a lot of fun, free stuff going on at Whole Foods Market in the Waterfront on Friday and Saturday. For yoga aficionados, lululemon athletica is opening in the shopping center on the northwest corner of 13th and Webb. To celebrate that (and Whole Foods’ second anniversary in Wichita), there will be a DJ dance party and fashion show from Pink Saloon and lululemon from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday. Xclusive Bartending will be on-scene creating “signature cocktails,” which you have to pay for. Then, on Saturday, come for a free adult yoga session at 9 a.m., a kids’ yoga session at 10 a.m. and a birthday party at 11 a.m. with free face-painting, Sno-cones and cake. You can also buy a burger or roasted veggies for $6, the proceeds of which go to Kidzcope (which is hosting its Good Grief 5K on Monday at Whole Foods). Jenny Wood will play live on the patio during the party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Help break in the Lake Afton telescope again

This Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to unwind and just look at the stars. The Lake Afton Public Observatory is officially reopening on Friday night, and will be open every night through Sunday for public viewing. The observatory, at 25000 W. 39th St. S. in Goddard, will be open from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $8 for ages 13 and up, $4 for ages 6-12, and free for ages younger than 6. Entire families (two adults and all children) get in for $20. Cash and credit accepted.

Camp out overnight at the zoo

If your kids have ever wanted to spend an entire night at the Sedgwick County Zoo, this could be the event for them. The Sedgwick County Zoo is hosting a “creature campout” starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday and going until 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Cost of attendance is $30 for members and $35 for non-members. Campers need to bring their own sleeping bags/tents, though the zoo will provide dinner, a guided tour, activities, animal encounters, bedtime snacks, and continental breakfast in the morning. All participants must be at least 5 years old, and anyone under 18 has to be accompanied by an adult. Call the zoo to register for the campout at 316-266-8213.

Catch views of Tanganyika animals, catch Pokemon on phone

It’s been a while since there’s been a major “Pokemon Go”-related event, since the initial frenzy over the game (which launched around mid-July) has subsided a bit. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still legions of people out playing the game. Tanganyika Wildlife Park, 1000 S. Hawkins Lane in Goddard, is hosting a “Poke-Palooza” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. What, exactly, is a Poke-Palooza, you ask? It’s an event where people can come into the park, catch as many Pokemon as possible and battle to see which team can maintain the most gyms for the longest. Admission to the park is $20, and you can buy a team shirt – Mystic, Valor or Instinct – for $15. The park will have lures set throughout the night at the various Poke Stops at Tanganyika. There will be prizes for rarest catch, catch with the highest CP, and most catches.

FREE: Harvest grapes at a winery

Two different wineries in the area are doing harvests on Saturday morning: Wheat State Wine Co. in Winfield and Prairie Hill Vineyard at Stockemer Farm in Colwich. The grape harvest in Winfield will begin at 8 a.m. Volunteers receive a free “harvest crew T-shirt,” free lunch and free wine and sangria. To RSVP to volunteer, email In Colwich, the grape harvest (and crush at the end of hte day) begins at 9 a.m. and runs to 4 p.m. The vineyard will provide bottled water and snacks. For more information, call the vineyard at 316-461-1732.

Draw chalk art for charity

Towne West Square is trying a new sort of event Saturday morning, called “Chalk It Up 4 Charity.” The event, which is a fundraiser for Make-a-Wish Kansas, takes place in the northwest parking lot near Dick’s Sporting Goods and runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Essentially, a $5 donation will get you a parking spot, which you are supposed to then decorate with chalk art. There will be prizes awarded to the best-decorated spots. The Big Apple food truck will be on scene.

Watch a lot of local rock bands perform

ICT Fest, which features 24 local and regional rock bands, will take over the Walnut Street Gallery, 112 S. Walnut, Friday and Saturday evening. The 30-minute set lists begin Friday at 5:30 p.m. and run until midnight. On Saturday, the shows begin at 6 p.m. and last until midnight. ICT Fest is an all-ages event. Tickets are $12 for one day and $20 for the entire weekend. Youth 12 and under get in free. For more information, visit www.facebook/ICTFest.

Check out the new Club Bounce

Club Bounce, which I wrote about last week for its 25-and-over admission rule for guys, is hosting its first major event on Sunday. Called the “Layback Labor Day Bash,” the event will be hosted by Sky from the popular VH1 show, “Black Ink.” Admission is $20 at the door, $15 in advance (at for general admission. VIP tickets are $40. The event will run from 9 p.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. Monday. The club is at 115 N. Rock Island.

Club Bounce, a new bar that recently opened in the old Pandora Night Club space, is using a Latin theme and a higher age restriction for entry to try and deter trouble. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)

FREE: Unwind on Sunday with bluegrass at Central Standard

I list this event as “free,” but you’re definitely going to want to partake in a couple of Central Standard Brewing’s well-made beers while you’re there. The Haymakers, a local country/folk/bluegrass band, will play at the brewery, 156 S. Greenwood, from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday. The Lolo’s Crepes food truck will be there providing unique crepes for your eating pleasure.

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

Last chance to see ‘Dinosaurs in Motion’

Labor Day is your last chance to see the traveling “Dinosaurs in Motion” exhibit at Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean. “Dinosaurs in Motion” is comprised of many metal sculptures – some moveable by hand and others motorized. The exhibit is designed to show people how dinosaurs moved, and teach principles of kinetic energy (the “motion” part of the exhibit). Admission to Exploration Place is $9.50 for adults (12-64), $6 for youth (3-11) and $8 for seniors (65+). The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Monday. On Sunday, it is open from noon to 5 p.m.