A Note from the 2016 Generalissimo
I want to thank everyone for coming to Independence and "Being Part of our World" this week! As I rode through the Grand Parade Saturday, I was in awe at the number of people that were gathered to watch the parade. I know the weather plays a big role in Neewollah and what a great run we had! However, many things helped maintain the integrity of the Neewollah that those before us created for the good of Independence. One thing is the merchants and their understanding, compassion, and respect for the festival, we appreciate your continued support in maintaining the growth and future of the festival. Another integrity builder is the support we receive from our sponsors, we could not have the Neewollah we have without your help. Then there is our over 400 volunteers, our police department and city workers, all of our parade participants, our children and the parents. The list could go on, but I simply want to say Thank You for a memorable year, I had a great time and enjoyed being part of the Neewollah world, I hope you enjoyed the festival and I'll see you downtown next year!
Queen Neelah LXXV
Sponsored by: O'Malley Equipment
Welcome to Neewollah 2016!!
"Be Part of Our World!"
From the opening night of the musical "Disney's The Little Mermaid" to the Saturday morning Grand Parade and Saturday evening band stand, come Be Part of Our Neewollah World. Neewollah has something for everyone and however you celebrate the festival, we are happy to have you involved in Neewollah. Our festival is successful because of all the volunteers, sponsors, carnival riders, parade goers, food junkies, queen contestants, 5K & 10K runners, and chili lovers!
I am honored to be your Generalissimo and I hope you enjoy Neewollah this year, and thank you for Being Part of Our World!
Stacey Yakshaw, Generalissimo 2016
Neewollah celebration (Halloween spelled backwards) began in 1919 as an effort to provide positive activities for kids of all ages in place of the typical Halloween pranks that occurred in the community of Independence, Kansas. In the beginning the events centered on parades, morning, afternoon, and night on October 31. The parades consisted mainly of decorated cars and carriages. Queens and princesses from area festivals rode in the parades, along with our own Queen Neelah who was selected based on votes bought at a penny each. The Great Depression and World War II interrupted the Neewollah celebration but in 1958 four businessmen revived and elaborated on the Neewollah theme bringing it back as a 3-day celebration.
Today Neewollah is the largest annual celebration in Kansas. The city of Independence will grow from a town of just under 10,000 inhabitants to 75,000 in the final days of the now 10-day celebration. Today's celebration now includes 3 parades, a Doo Dah Parade (adult Kiddie Parade), a Kiddies Parade and a Grand Parade. Chili Cook-off, a hometown musical and queen's pageant also add to the festival activities. The main downtown is filled with 30 plus food vendors, a large carnival and bandstand for nightly entertainment. The Arts and Craft show, Great Pumpkin contest along with the Band Competition, Fun Run and Chili Cookoff provide activities for everyone. Great Bandstand Entertainment bring a conclusion to the diligent efforts of over 500 community volunteers.