Daily Destination: Mission, Kan.

Christy Karras
Christy Karras

Mission, an old-fashioned little town near Overland Park, southwest of Kansas City, is setting up for its 10th annual Arts & Eats Festival (Sept. 13-14 this year). As the name implies, the event celebrates the arts in many forms, with craft booths and activities aimed at getting kids interested in art. But for many, the eats are the big draw.

Although all of the greater Kansas City area is known for its love affair with barbecue, it was Mission that in 2007 hosted the first sanctioned state championship barbecue contest, the Battle of the Brisket. (Despite the name, contestants can also enter pork dishes, desserts and sides).

It’s safe to say that folks here take their meats seriously (the band performing on Friday night is called Four Fried Chickens and a Coke). About 75 teams bring their rubs, smokers and sauces for a night of preparation before the next day’s judging.

Visitors might be wise to walk off some of those calories on the trails in nearby Shawnee Mission Park, a 1,600-acre recreational area surrounding a lake.