The festival that celebrates Independence as the gateway of America’s westward expansion is making some changes to its music lineup this year, as well as introducing some new events.
The 42nd annual Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival runs Aug. 29 through Sept. 1 on the Historic Independence Square. The festival unofficially begins Thursday, Aug. 28, with a carnival preview from 6 p.m. to midnight. Friday’s hours are from noon to midnight and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight. The last day of Santa-Cali-Gon, Monday, runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is free to attend the festival, however, the carnival portion requires the purchase of a $22 wristband in order to ride the attractions. The wristbands are only valid for one day of the festival. No carnival coupons will be provided this year. One dollar shuttle rides will run every 15 minutes during festival hours, at the William Chrisman High School parking lot, 1223 N. Noland Road, to the Main Stage area and the free parking area at the Community of Christ Auditorium, 1000 W. Walnut, to the Osage and Lexington Street intersection vendor tents. Parking near the festival grounds will generally run $10 to $15 per day. Also, the William Chrisman shuttle will not run on Friday.
Instead of strictly having country western musical acts on the Main Stage this year, each night of the festival will feature a themed concert series. Friday will be Blues Night, featuring Samantha Fish at 7 p.m. and Trampled Under Foot at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, it’s the standard Country Night with three acts: Outlaw Junkies at 5:30 p.m., Travis Marvin at 7 p.m. and LoCash Cowboys at 8:30 p.m. Tribute Night is slated for Sunday with Bad Disposition, who perform alternative rock covers, at 5:30 p.m.; Rock Paper Scissors, an accoustic/vocal trio that performs pop/rock/R&B classics of the 1960s and '70s, plays at 7 p.m.; the winner of the Three Trails Songwriter Competition at 8 p.m. and Liverpool, a Beatles tribute band, at 8:30 p.m. Local Favorites Day will be Monday with Jason Vivone and The Billy Bats starting at noon, The Clementines at 1 p.m. and Saucy Jack concluding the Santa-Cali-Gon series of concerts at 2 p.m. All these performances are free.
Also new this year is the first Santa-Cali-Gon 5k Run/Walk. The new addition will be held, Monday, Sept. 1, starting at the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 313 W. Pacific Ave. The race starts at 8 a.m. and check-in and registration is at 7 a.m. The route of the Santa-Cali-Gon 5k will circle around the festival grounds and end at the Bingham-Waggoner. To preregister for the 5k, visit https://enter2run.com/Register/?event=28510&smt=fb . Preregistration is $30 and registration on the morning of the event is $35. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Community Services League and former Truman High School coach Steve Broughton, who is battling pancreatic cancer. Before and after the 5k, food from Nature’s Pantry, music and stretching led by Studio On Main will be provided.
This year’s Santa-Cali-Gon will also feature free wi-fi service for all festivalgoers by Comcast Xfinity, plus a comfort zone located at the Main and Lexington streets intersection, where attendees can have a seat to rest and drink free water. The Gospel Stage will be held inside at an undetermined building this year as well. Information about the stage’s relocation will be posted throughout the festival grounds.
As usual, a little over 500 arts and crafts booths and food vendors will be at the four-day festival.
“People should attend Santa-Cali-Gon because it is one of the largest festivals in the Midwest,” said Alex Colley of the Independence Chamber of Commerce. “It will be tons of fun to check out the new music, eat some good food and visit vendors. Plus not to mention this weekend’s weather is supposed to cool down.”