Mike Elder, a Kansas City native and the three-time undefeated champion of TLC's Ultimate Cake Off, founded KC CakeFest to capitalize on the boom in reality cake shows and to generate proceeds for The Whole Person, a nonprofit program dedicated to helping people with disabilities lead independent lives. Attracting talent ranging from Elder's fellow contestants on Ultimate Cake Off to the batter wranglers on Next Great Baker, KC CakeFest's crowning events are its celebrity cake battles, which pit teams of confection architects against one another for the merriment of onlookers and for the judgment of cake expert Leigh Grode. Other attractions include displays by national cake artists and free demos on topics such as how to resist eating a whole cake, cake dives, and cupcake chucks. Furthering revelry, rockabilly band The Rumblejetts will play a live set during each intermission.
Cellar and Loft—which happens to be owned by former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Eddie Kennison—doesn't just pour its visitors glasses of wine or beer and leave it at that. Instead, it keeps a staff of experts on hand to enlighten sippers on the nuances of their chosen drinks, such as the grapes involved in a citrus-tinged sauvignon blanc or the types of malts that flavor an imperial IPA. Age is a much-respected quality in the world of wine, and Cellar and Loft even infuses that truism into their ambience—it's housed a building that's 140 years old and has enough exposed-brick charm to attract an 18th-century masonry guild. In addition to making visitors feel welcome in the tasting rooms, the staff also invites them to travel on wine trips or join wine, beer, cheese, or scotch clubs. These groups indulge members in monthly bottles of a chosen beverage, a newsletter subscription, and weekend tastings with the California Raisins.
GNC's Smoothie Bars blend up a healthy variety of fruit and supplement-infused frozen beverages with 15 flavorful concoctions in its smoothie lineup. Sip from one of GNC's fruit-filled smoothies, such as the sweet Cherry Baby, a synthesis of cherries, pineapple, strawberries, and banana, or indulge in a creamy creation, such as the Peanut Butter Surprise, a medley of peanut butter, banana, and milk. An early Shot of NRG, pumped with ginseng and guarana, provides a healthy alternative to one's usual donuts-and-cotton-candy morning routine, and smoothies such as the strawberry- and banana-assisted Popular Vote can replace calorie-laden afternoon snacks.
The Garment District collective represents a convergence of fashion expertise, gathering the styles of 10 Kansas City boutiques into one refined locale. Wares from such brands as Fortune Denim, William Rast, and Affliction tempt shoppers, who can browse during casual errands or group events—the district gamely hosts bachelorette parties and 'girl's night' outings. In-the-know staff members patrol the wares, leading personal shopping jaunts and delivering recommendations via dressing room telegrams. Meanwhile, seasonal martinis and cocktails at the Garment District Bar serve up tangy sips between outfit changes.
At its new location in the vibrant Power and Light District, Lovebird drapes patrons in denim, dresses, tops, and vintage accessories for women. Show spring solidarity with an empire-waist floral top ($48) from Tulle or transport your ensemble to the world of chic in the sleek spaceship of a slimming skinny tee ($22), available in an array of colors.