Winds in the east, mist coming in, like somethin' is brewin' and bout to begin. Can't put me finger on what lies in store... But I feel what's to happen, has happened before!" These are the opening lines of the 2017 Neewollah musical,"Mary Poppins", and the perfect prelude to the introduction of our annual Neewollah celebration. As your 2017 Neewollah Generalissimo, I am excited to unveil the theme for this year's festival- "Practically Perfect In Every Way-Neewollah 2017!"
As the banners go up, the leaves begin to change, the bandstand is in place and the carnival rides and food stands arrive- Welcome to Neewollah! This festival has a little bit for everyone. From the opening night of "Disney's Mary Poppins", to the Saturday morning Fun Run, 5k and 10K and chili cook-off, to the Queens Pageant, carnival rides, food stands, bandstand, DooDah parade, Kiddie parade, Grand Parade and following up with the Bandstand Saturday night- there is so much to make this festival "Practically Perfect In Every Way!" Enjoy this time with your friends and family.
In the words of Mary Poppins, "In every job that must be done, there's an element of fun!" Thankfully, our many volunteers agree. Year after year, members from the community put in countless hours to create a celebration that is enjoyed by thousands. I want to thank in advance all those volunteers, sponsors and my family for making this year: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
I am honored to be your 2017 Generalissimo and thank you for helping keep Neewollah "Practically Perfect In Every Way!"
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.