Your Guide to the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Fest
We sat down with Scott Tipton and Berto Santoro, two of the founders of Paris of the Plains Fest. The cocktail extravaganza celebrating the history of Kansas City runs from September 7-10. Get the scoop on can't miss events, classes and more:
What is POPFest?
The Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival started out as a Local Bartender Competition over 10 years ago and ultimately evolved into an entire days-long festival now in its 6th year. Featuring educational seminars presented by some of the most knowledgable industry professionals in the world, Competitions, parties and and an all-around showcase of how incredible Kansas City's Culture is. We are all so proud of this town and just want to show it off to the rest of the world.
Something else we are all really looking forward to are all the educational seminars. We locked in some of the most incredible presenters this year. Dale Degroff, Gaz Regan, Steve Olson, Don Lee, Dave Arnold, and of course our own Kansas City Treasure Doug Frost. I mean when I started really getting into bartending years ago these guys were my heroes. I had all their books and now I feel like a little kid that actually gets to hang out and learn from them. It's very exciting.
What inspired PoPFest to begin with?
The opportunity to showcase KC’s arts, music, food and of course cocktail culture locally and to the rest of the country as well. We’re insanely proud of our community here and just want to show it off to the world.
Event you're looking forward to the most?
All the events are going to be killer this year but I’m really looking forward to the BBQ and Blues Party at On Broadway. We’ve got Cadillac Flámbe playing, BBQ from 3 of the most famous BBQ places in town, and cocktails being created for this event by four local bartenders. Not to mention the view of KC on the roof of On Broadway overlooking downtown. This event epitomizes everything we want to show off about Kansas City.
Was it a challenge to get PoP fest off the ground back in the day? What makes it easier now?
Absolutely! Every year we reinvent things and try to feature new venues, new trends, and do things a little different. Every year is different and special in its own way, and the most rewarding part is seeing all of it come together thanks to our incredible teams.
Why should locals get involved?
There are some amazing educational opportunities with some of the biggest luminaries in our industry coming that haven’t been to Kansas City in a while, if ever. Dale “King of Cocktails” Degroff, Dave Arnold and Gaz Regan are coming in to present. These guys literally wrote the book(s) on cocktails. This festival is small enough for people to actually hang out and chat with these guys before and after. All music, food, and bartending talent is Kansas City based. So even if you’re not into the craft cocktail seminar thing you can grab a ticket to an evening event for almost nothing and support all things KC.
What's the farthest anyone's ever traveled for PoP?
A couple years ago one of our “PoPs” volunteers came all the way from Hong Kong.
Best-kept fest secret?
If there’s one event you probably don’t want to miss this year it’s the very last one: Holiday Cocktail Lounge from NYC will be here and it will be a riot. Songs will be sung, and there will surely be a lot of high-fives and hugs. Non-industry folks are especially encouraged to join us and celebrate the week!