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Boulevardia returns to Kansas City

Boulevardia returns to Kansas City
Posted at 11:29 AM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 12:29:26-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — After being canceled for the past two years because of COVID-19, Boulevardia is back.

Organizers say the festival is expected to draw in pre-pandemic crowd numbers while bringing an economic boost to its new downtown location.

"We decided to come and look at moving to Crown Center in 2020. We thought this was a great place, and there's a lot of reasons why we made that move. One is the convenience of parking and a lot of rideshares, which makes it more convenient, the streetcar and the hotels," said Keli O'Neill Wenzel, executive producer of Boulevardia.

O'Neill Wenzel expects attendance numbers near 40,000.

"The impact is huge," she said. "When we did a study of pre-pandemic, we were thinking we are about a 1.3 million in economic impact over those two days."

It's a highly anticipated event not just for ticket holders but businesses that are making sure they have enough product for the weekend, like Emily Bordner who founded EB Co. on the Country Club Plaza.

"We've been prepping for about six to eight weeks on getting the products ordered and prepped, priced, all of that," Bordner said.

Bordner will have a booth at Boulevardia filled with retro shades, flashy fanny packs, eye-catching earrings and a variety of butterfly clips. This being her fourth year attending Boulevardia, she says the event also allows her to spread awareness of her business.

"There's just so many awesome opportunities to meet our customers in the wild and giving them things that they actually need in that moment," Bordner said.

She's not the only one who's been waiting for Boulevardia to come back.

Staff at the Westin and Sheraton hotels are ready to greet the crowds, nearing completion of any final touches.

Shane Somers, director of sales and marketing for the Westin and Sheraton, said hotel rooms are sold out for Boulevardia's first night and 2022 was the first time partnering with the festival to host beer and food vendors along with offering hotel packages.

"With gas prices, people are wanting to stay local," Somers said. "They're wanting to do events that they don't have to travel very far for. So Boulevardia is one of those events for people that are able to do that here locally, without going too far away."

Heat will play a major factor during the festival. Water stations will be scattered throughout, and attendees can bring in water bottles.