2014 Waldo Fall Festival on Saturday

Ah, September…a favorite month for outdoor festivals in Kansas City.  This Saturday, Sept 20 is the 22cd Annual Waldo Fall Festival from 10am-5pm at 75th and Wornall Road.

waldoI enjoy this event so much because it is very family friendly and neighborhood oriented. All ages have a good time here–there are so many things to do:

Live music, including a performance by Mr Stinky Feet; food trucks; dance show; KC Zoo Zoomobile; a rock wall and scavenger hunt; merchant booths; dog show and rides plus so much more.

Walk the Trolley Track Trail and wind up at the Waldo Fall Festival at 75th and Wornall on Saturday!

Wornall Road Closing Disrupts Traffic Through Brookside

road closed two

(Updated: Although the KCMO press release stated the street closure would be as described below, the south end of the closure is actually Wornall at 63rd. Found this out while driving by–get your facts straight KCMO!)


In Brookside…today is the first day of the Wornall Road closure from 58th St south to Huntington, in conjunction with the sewer and storm water pipe installation.  You’ve probably noticed the huge digging equipment along the sides of the road lately.  Supposedly this section of Wornall will reopen on Tuesday Sept 23, 2014 if all work is completed.

Note the Plaza Art Fair is happening this weekend, so there will be hundreds of cars trying to access the Fair by travelling along Wornall Road–then trying to find alternate routes due to the street closure.  

Also on Sunday Sept 21, Wayside Waifs is hosting the annual Strutt with Your Mutt event in Brookside.  Parts of Brookside Boulevard and Oak St (north of 63rd) will be closed Sunday morning for the walk and race.

Neighbors, be prepared for these street closures and plan alternate routes for the next several days!

What’s For Lunch or Dinner? Try This New Waldo Spot

Let’s be frank:  it’s a daily, often boring chore to plan and prepare fresh and healthy meals for one person or a family of five, even if you enjoy cooking.  My daughter used to work at Cosentino’s Brookside Market as a ‘utility clerk’ (she bagged groceries), watching busy, suited singles and parents with hungry kids rush in, grab whatever from the prepared food section and dash out. We want convenience!! When my family is scattered and it’s just me at 6pm–I’m fine with eating a bowl of cereal or steaming some edamame to munch on with a side of grapes.

bite logoThere’s a new Waldo ‘grab and go’ spot that’s a tasty and nutritious  alternative to the usual grocery store salad bar or pizza delivery.  Called Can I Have  A Bite?, owner Kathy Hale is preparing fresh food daily for your convenience with an emphasis on using local meat and produce.  (Longtime KC residents may remember her 1990s vegetarian restaurant called The Daily Bread).  But don’t think all the choices are vegetarian–what’s different here is Kathy offers four versions of her food:  “real” meaning no dietary restrictions; vegan, vegetarian and paleo.  Here’s a sample of the menu items when I stopped by last week:  vegan lasagna (one of her more popular dishes), chicken aioli wrap, a kale-apple-almond salad , lemon lentil soup, cashew meatloaf and pizza, plus a selection of spreads and desserts.  She also offers a couple of breakfast items each day and partners with Red Headed Philosopher Coffee (also local) for beverages. Note that this coffee vendor offers more than coffee, like homemade lemonade and an Iced Grasshopper drink –yummy!

Kathy Hale

Kathy Hale

Kathy wants her customers to “know the story behind your food” like she does–all of her vendors grow organic and don’t use pesticides or hormones.    She created all the recipes and cooks everything herself.  I asked her  if she had a calorie count and nutritional info for each item.  Her philosophy is not to focus on calories, but  on what you are eating–and make sure it’s fresh and free of chemical additives. Still, the portion sizes are reasonable and I don’t think any item would be unreasonable in the specific calorie count.

The point here is healthy convenience–the menu changes daily, and there are always several options.  The entrees are frozen so it’s easy to stop in, buy dinner  and heat up at home. Breakfast and lunch items are  easy to pick up prepared and ready to eat.  Check the Facebook page or website for what you want and text Kathy with your order.  Currently Can I Have A Bite? is open Tuesday through Friday from 6:30am-4:30pm, Saturday 7:30am-4:30pm and Sundays from 10am-2pm.  It’s located at 8011 Wornall (east side), across from the Autozone.  You can park right in front of the shop (easiest if you are heading north on Wornall) or turn on W. 80th Terrace for an off street spot.

Stop by and try something from Can I Have A Bite?. Spread the word to your friends who are on restricted diets.  Thank you for supporting locally owned Waldo and Brookside businesses!

It’s Outdoor Festival Time in Kansas City!

The Labor Day weekend traditionally kicks off a month of large, annual outdoor events in Kansas City. It is amazing how many options there are  — truly something for everyone, at all ages.   So if you are weary of spending the weekend cooling off at the pool or chilling inside a movie theatre–read on for some good alternatives happening over the next several weeks:

irish festKC Irish Fest, Aug 29-31 at Crown Center.  This party has grown so large in just twelve years, and that is a direct result of the local Irish community and volunteers who have made this event one of KC’s best outdoor parties.  Seven stages of entertainment, lots of children’s activities, a costume contest, Irish Fest Bingo and so much more.  I suggest taking the Max bus to avoid parking hassles.  Buy advance tickets online or at Hy-Vee.

Santa Cali Gon Days, Aug 29-Sept 1 at Independence Square.  This festival is in it’s 42cd year and offers a good, old fashioned county fair atmosphere.  There is a farmer’s market, lots of arts and crafts for sale, music, food–and it’s free!

The Kansas City Renaissance Festival opens August 30 and continues every weekend through October 13 in Bonner Springs.  Bring the kids and enjoy the various street theatre and medieval entertainment, interaction with the characters, animal rides; browse the craft booths and of course you gotta eat a turkey leg and caramel apples! There are also special packages for purchase, such as a Pub Crawl.  A great value for the price.

Two outdoor music events are happening September 6:  you can rock on with local bands at the 10th Annual Crossroads Music Festival at Crossroads KC or opt for a more mellow vibe at the Prairie Village Jazz Festival, starting at 2pm at Harmon Park, 77th and Mission Road.  Both have admission fees.

artwestport2014_westportsiteheader-1Now in it’s 35th year, the Westport Art Fair is Sept 5-7.  I love shopping at these booths because they showcase artists from the Kansas City area and I find the art more affordable (for my budget!) than  other art fairs.

The annual Fiesta Hispana happens downtown at Barney Allis Plaza Sept 12-14.  You’ll find great food here, local and national musical acts and a boxing tournament!

And finally..Kansas City’s biggest outdoor Fall event (unless the Royals win the World Series this year!) is the Plaza Art Fair.  It’s all here–art, music, food booths, usually perfect weather and the chance to chat with long lost friends you run into while strolling the streets.

Every weekend in September–low cost, local celebrations of interest to all ages, residents and visitors.  Why not experience one you haven’t been to before–there are so many choices! Finally, a special thank you to all the volunteers and local leaders work so hard to make these parties happen.  Our friendly Midwestern hospitality really shines at every event.

Neopolitan Style Pizza Comes to Waldo-Pizza Manifesto

I’ve been wanting to stop by this new pizza shop in Waldo, Pizza Manifesto, as it has been open a few months now.  Finally ate there last week,  along with my teen daughter and another (college aged) friend.  It was  Wednesday night, we arrived just after 6:30pm and we were the only people there during our stay.  There was one guy working behind the counter.  I expected to be busy during the dinner hour; perhaps it was just an off night!


Pizza Manifesto in Waldo

Pizza Manifesto in Waldo

Pizza Manifesto is Neapolitan style pizza–very different from a more traditional place  like Waldo Pizza  across the street.  The menu boasts “quality Naples-milled flour” and only water, yeast and sea salt are added to create the thin, chewy crust.  Ordering your pie is similar to the Chipotle concept:  you pick a base sauce of marinara, pesto or olive oil–and then customize your toppings from the display in front of you.  There is fresh and shredded mozzarella, various meats, veggies and several cheeses.  An average price for a pie with two toppings would cost $7.50–and there are a couple of specialty pizzas.  Two salads are available, and a selection of gelato, plus beverages.

The pizza is baked in under two minutes, in a very hot oven–so watch that first bite, it can burn  the inside of your mouth!  Most ingredients  are fresh and very basic and simple , as a Neapolitan pizza should be.  The décor is minimalist as well–concrete floors, metal chairs, small pictures on the wall, bags of flour on display.

Pizza SienaDaughter and friend enjoyed their selections–fresh mozzarella, chicken, arugula for the toppings. I liked my simple topping of plum tomatoes and mushrooms. I certainly felt this pizza was ‘healthier’ than a typical D’Bronx or Minsky’s slice–and they are totally different styles and flavor profiles. The pies are cut into four slices, and it’s easy to eat two and save two for lunch the next day.   The service was friendly and quick.  It seemed a little odd there weren’t more people in the place, and hopefully business is good overall as I understand it’s a locally owned spot. Reviews are generally  very positive on Yelp! and Urban Spoon.

Pizza ChristinaPizza Manifesto is located at 505 W 75th St, just west of Wornall and is open seven days a week.  Stop by and try it for yourself!  Thank you for supporting locally owned Brookside/Waldo businesses.

Armour Hills (Brookside) Home Sales Stats-July 2014

Time to check home sales stats for July in the Brookside subdivision of Armour Hills.  There was a drop in the median sales price … read on for my reasoning as to why that happened.  No need to panic fellow Armour Hills neighbors!  Let’s look at the specific statistics:

In July 2014, seven homes sold with a median sales price of $195,000 and 129 days on market.  The highest sale (the highest for this year so far) was $440,000.  With four of the seven homes sold below $200K, the average price drops way down.  This is unusual for our area–the median price is usually between $230-$260K most months.   

In July  2013, nine homes sold with a median sales price of $290,000 and 20 days on market.  The highest sales price that month was $410,000.

Now let’s compare year-to-date figures:

For the first seven months of 2014, 41 homes sold with a median price of $234,000 and 64 days on market.

For the first seven months of 2013, 49 homes sold with a median price of $250,000 and 66 days on the market.

We are falling behind in the number of homes sold this year compared to last, and prices are dropping. As has been the pattern this year, there is a lack of well priced, updated homes in Armour Hills–those sell the fastest.  When homes sit for a long time, the price continues to drop until a buyer feels the house is priced correctly and makes an offer.  I think prices will edge back up as we head towards the end of the year.

Currently there are 17 homes for sale in Armour Hills, with the lowest list price at $175K and the highest at $315K.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed)

Brookside Home Sales Report – July 2014

Now that we are into the second half of the year, home sales will slow down..as is the usual pattern.  Most sellers put their home on the market in the spring, and move in the summer.  If you are looking for a home now, you may notice a lack of move in ready, well priced homes in the area (unless you are looking at homes priced over $500K).  We’ve had a shortage of inventory all year–not enough move-in ready properties.    Let’s look at the specific numbers..these are single family home sales from July 2014 in the Brookside zip code of 64113:

In July 2014, 32 homes sold.  Median sales price was $320,000 and 76 days on  market.  The lowest sales price was $166,000 and the highest was $707,500.  

In July 2013,  36 homes sold.  The  median sales price was $335,000 and 65 days on market.   The lowest sales price was $165,000 and the highest was $1.475 million.

The drop in median sales price can be attributed to the fact that this year, twelve homes sold at $350K or higher.  In July 2013, eighteen homes sold over $350,000.  When the more of the higher dollar homes sell, average prices are pushed up.

Checking year to date figures:

From Jan-July  2014, 163 homes sold at a median sales price of $300,000 and 74 days on market.

From Jan-July  2013, 187  homes sold at a median sales price of $295,000 and 88 days on market.  

Note the lack of inventory means fewer homes have sold.  The median prices is virtually the same.  Overall, I think we will end the year with an increase in average sales price for Brookside homes. Fewer homes sold indicates the lack of inventory for picky buyers–they will wait until they see what they want.   The fewer days on market reflects the desire for updated, well maintained and median priced homes–they always sell quickly. I still believe that overall, prices are up for Brookside compared to last year.

Currently there are 93 single family homes for sale in the Brookside zip code of 64113 with a median list  price of $377,000.  Most of the homes for sale – 57 out of 93- are priced over $350K, with 9 priced over $1million.  The strong demand for Brookside homes are those updated properties priced from $200-$350 to $400K.  

(All figures taken from Heartland MLS and deemed reliable but not guaranteed).