Chiefs are Super Bowl Bound…time to LIV it up!

It’s been 50 years since Chiefs fans have felt this type of hype. The entire city is red, EVERYONE is excited about the big game, and the way this community is coming together is magical! From photo ops at Union Station to spirit week in the local schools and businesses, special Mahomes burgers across the local pub scene and so many more Chiefs celebratory events, Kansas City is on fire about Super Bowl LIV.

Football fans really know how to party when it comes to the Super Bowl. Whether you’re celebrating at home, hitting up a local bar, or you’re one of the lucky ones to head south to Miami, one thing is for sure– there’s no shortage of Super Bowl spirit across Kansas City.

Right here in Merriam, take a look at the Super Bowl LIV events and activities:

Eat, drink and be merry!

  • Did somebody say doughnuts? On Super Bowl Sunday, Merriam’s Krispy Kreme will sell limited quantities of a special KC Chiefs football doughnut. Grab a dozen before they sell out at 8805 Shawnee Mission Parkway.
  • Fight for your right to party at Bilski’s Super Bowl Party & Potluck on Sunday starting at 4:00 p.m.
  • Chiefs Super Bowl in the Allie is another happening game day spot on Merriam Drive! Come cheer the Chiefs on to victory–and sing Happy Birthday to Allie!

Help the fur babies!

  • Find a furever friend at Baron BMW & Mini’s Saturday adoption event in partnership with Midwest Animal Resq from 11-2:00 p.m. Get an oil change, adopt an animal and hang out with 101 the Fox!
  • Paws Up KC is in the spirit of helping the animals too and will be hosting a Operation TAILgate on Super Bowl Sunday ALL DAY LONG in the parking lot of Pegah’s (corner of Antioch & SMP).

Say cheese!

  • Snap a pic with Merriam’s resident bears, all dressed up in Chiefs gear for the big game! 6304 E. Frontage Road at Merriam Historic Plaza. #ExploreMerriam #GoChiefs

Gear Up!

  • Make a statement in new swag–Dick’s Sporting Goods in Merriam has all the AFC gear, jerseys, hats and more! 49ers fans–get yours elsewhere.
  • Merriam’s favorite box curator has some cute Chiefs socks to keep your footsies warm during the big game! Check ’em out at Kansas City Box.

At home hosting?

  • Jenn from Peas and Crayons posted this yummy jalapeno football cheese ball. I made it for the AFC Championship game, so in true superstitious behavior, it will be make a reappearance on Sunday.
  • If sweets are more your style, check out this Two Sisters pin Kansas City Game Day Treats.
  • No tailgate, watch party of any other day of the week makes sense without good ol’ KC barbecue! We really like Woodyard on Merriam Drive!

No matter where you watch, how you celebrate or what team you’re rooting for (but if you’re rooting for the 49ers, you are just wrong), Kansas City is our hometown and we are proud to call ourselves Chiefs Kingdom!

Third Shot’s a Charm…

If you had asked me a year ago what pickleball was, I would have said something to do with throwing pickles. Fast forward to today, and I’ve got a whole new level of pickleball appreciation, thanks to a local guy named Mickey Collins who happened upon my office one day!

Merriam just finished up a 3-day inaugural pickleball festival called “Third Shot’s a Charm” which came to pass mainly because the Facebook Pickleball Forum mentioned how cool it would be to host an event once the forum gained 10,000 followers. Well, if you know anything about pickleball, you know it spreads like wildfire and it took very little time to hit that 10K mark. After it did, Mickey began talks with a California pickleballer named Aspen Kern who also helped coordinate efforts for the festival. Due to our affordable and convenient (and super friendly) midwestern location, Merriam was the clear choice for hosting  TSAC, and with only three months to plan (which is like four minutes to a CVB), we went to work.

What I didn’t  expect was the immediate outpouring of volunteer support and comments that quickly began circulating about how excited people were to meet in person after only connecting through the online forum for months. News traveled fast about the inaugural meet-up, and soon we began receiving requests for visitor guides. Franklin Sports reached out to see how they could help and things began to come together. Although I don’t personally play pickleball (yet), I was allowed into the forum and could see the buzz surrounding this event. I knew then, this group of people will be fun to host in Merriam.

Where in the Pickleball Are You From?

I was right! From the gate, people began filing in early on Friday morning, ready to play.  We setup a little welcome booth with our local Povitica dessert bread (which I claimed to be a “carb” boost before taking the court), we asked people to pin their pickleball home state on our map and we answered questions about where to dine, shop and explore. All day long, people came and went, but the courts were NEVER empty. I heard from event organizers that the lights had to be turned out for people to realize it was time to put the paddles (and themselves) to rest for the night.

The evening opening reception was a blast too…there was dancing and wine tasting and socializing, Kansas City BBQ, local entertainment, prizes and more—everyone just seemed to be thrilled to be together. I was in awe of how connected these people were, some having met in person for the first time just hours ago across a net.

Welcome to Merriam!

After three days of pickleballin’ in Merriam, Kansas, it was time to pack up and say goodbye. Rob Noonan from Sioux Falls, SD, best summarized the event in a video he made walking back to the courts, and his sentiment was echoed by everyone. A week later, the forum is still chatting about how much fun they had, when will we plan another, etc. etc. I can tell you one thing–these pickleballers are welcome in Merriam anytime. I had absolutely the most amazing time meeting and greeting this group!

Franklin Sports came too, all the way from Boston!

While Merriam may not be big enough to accommodate large sporting events or headliner concerts, the Pickleball Forum was Just Right and we are so pleased to have been your host. Come see us again next year!

Spring Break on a Budget!

spring break image, books, appleNothing is better than a mid-March dash to a sunny spot along the coast for Spring Break.  Unless you’re broke.

Well, very soon, schools all over the United States will pause for the highly anticipated annual Spring Break. This little respite gives students and teachers a smidgen of rest before the last quarter, which is typically full of approaching exams, banquets, spring sports and activities. While many high school and college kids will head to warmer destinations, not everyone can jet off for a tropical party on the beach. Many students stay in town for sport practices, jobs or other commitments and others just can’t afford a mini-vacation.

In our house, we would love to get away for some fun in the sun, but there’s just too much on the calendar, so we’ll be spring breaking at home this year. If you’re in the same boat, don’t despair–rather, think about all of the things to do and places to see in your own destination (or nearby). Even if you can only explore for a day, there’s a ton of options out there if you plan ahead and set aside a small budget to fund your in-town travels.

Right here in metro Kansas City, I could probably build an entire week’s worth of activities and places our family has yet to visit and we’ve lived here since the early 90’s. But, if planning ahead isn’t your thing, you’re in luck! Take a look at the Top 10 Spring Break on a Budget suggestions below to kick-off your upcoming itinerary:

  1. For the foodies–enjoy a dining day out; pick three restaurants you’ve never been to before and plan to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner between the three.
  2. Sports enthusiasts can make a day out of zip lining, disc golf, indoor skydiving or biking the local trails for an adventure packed outing.
  3. If history is more your speed, many area museums are FREE and even if you’ve been before, traveling exhibits rotate frequently, so pick a couple to revisit and appreciate.
  4. Take a road trip in your state. Rather than jumping on the interstate, travel the back roads and make a few stops in tiny towns along the way to your destination. Some of those places have the best kept secrets including places to eat and one-of-kind attractions.
  5. Capture the moments and #hash tag them. Your entire spring break could be a cool insta-hop from attraction to attraction. Sharing your memories with friends and followers is fun and also provides a digital collection of your favorite memories.
  6. Families can stick to a budget by incorporating traditionally free attractions like parks and outdoor recreation. Check with your local parks department to ask about programs and events during your spring break week.
  7. Take an art stroll around town; from sculptures to permanent or rotating gallery exhibits, finding the vast collection in your destination could be a fun and new learning experience.
  8.  Volunteer! Did you know there are entire groups of students who forego a break altogether in favor of helping others? If you’re interested in giving back during your free time, there are dozens of options from organizations who need your help.
  9. Get out and play! Not everyone is amazing at a sport, but if you wrangle up a group of friends and make a day out of bowling, arcade games, mini-golf or group games, you can create a fun day for all–without the need for competitiveness or highly skilled athletes. Wrap it up with a BBQ in the park or a bonfire in the country.
  10. Contact the local convention and visitors bureau to see what’s going on in your community! The CVB is always a great resource and oftentimes, the staff has insider tips, recommendations and destination referrals.

Spring breaking in KC? Check out this one-day itinerary of CVB picks for budget-friendly fun across the metro!

  • Start the day with a delicious slice of povitica from Merriam’s local Strawberry Hill Povitica bakery or try breakfast at a restaurant you’ve never been to. I love the chicken and waffles with jalapeno gravy at McCoy’s Public House in Westport (but FYI, brunch is only available Sat/Sun).
  • Head over to the FREE Nelson Atkins Museum of Art (Voted Yelp’s Best U.S. Museum) to check out the exhibits.
  • Just a few blocks away, spend the rest of the morning on a scavenger hunt  through the Country Club Plaza or do some light shopping among the bunnies.
  • There’s no doubt that you’ve added 10,000+ steps on your fitness tracker by now, so maybe it’s time to slow down and take in a movie at Cinetopia (135th & Lamar) in Overland Park. From comfy, living room seating to a fully accessible restaurant and bar, this place is the ultimate movie-goers experience.
  • To finish off the day, round-up your buddies for a little Frisbee in a local park or play baseball at a nearby diamond. En route home, stop by Anita’s Cuisine in Merriam for the very best pupusas around, but be sure to arrive before closing (Mon-Sat, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

Happy Spring from the Merriam Visitors Bureau!