The first Fringe Festival was ih Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1947. The KC version debuted in 2005 and is catching on - big time. Like the other Fringe events held around the country and the world, it's one big feast of arts performances lasting several days in multiple venues around town, all at affordable prices. Professional and amateur artists commingle on a show schedule that festivalgoers must figure out like a new semester's list of classes. It's hard to fit everything in, given the competing time slots and disparate locations, so deciding can be tough. Every show can't be seen. Word of mouth and critics' picks might help separate the good and the worthwhile from the noble failures and the time-wasting stinkers, but no one knows for sure what will happen on a stage until showtime. That's part of the attraction of seeing original work, by both local artists and those who arrive from all over the country, looking for audiences for their play, film, stand-up, dance performance, spoken word or burlesque show. In KC, it's summer's best buffet.