The towns of Dallas and Independence will have a variety of events this weekend — enough family fun that one may forget it’s mid-September.

The action starts Friday night in both Dallas and Independence. In Dallas, the cast of characters will take the stage at Pressed Coffee & Wine Bar for some karaoke fun. Be warned: the community members who have taken on these roles have dedicated themselves to their dark characters.

In Independence, be prepared for a ghostly good time with Marilyn Morton and her ghost host volunteers as they give hundreds — 1,500 last year — tours around downtown along with stories of history and hauntings.

Saturday, Dallas Downtown Association will host its second annual Murder Mystery, which kicks off at 10 a.m. and wraps up at 4 p.m. Those participating won’t want to miss the skits throughout the day, starting with a funeral for Drew Golden — the unfortunate murder-victim from last year’s production — and culminating with a reveal. The Itemizer-Observer got in on the fun, printing the first volume of The Dallas Daily, a “newspaper” with all the dirt on the suspects.

In Independence, the Independence Downtown Association has taken back the Hop & Heritage festival, framing it again as a block party. The streets downtown will be closed off and filled with music, vendors and food carts. A passport will give participants beer tastings, and a beer tent will open later as a benefit for IDA, the organization also behind the downtown flower baskets all summer, the annual light parade in December, and other downtown events and activities.

Adjacent to the block party, Polk County CERT will host its first Emergency Preparedness Expo in Riverview Park, the perfect opportunity to learn more about being prepared for disaster — or anything, really — as well as how to volunteer.

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