The 47th annual Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival opens at noon today around the Independence Square, featuring hundreds of vendors. It’s expected to welcome about 300,000 visitors over Labor Day weekend.
The festival runs until 11 p.m. today, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. The carnival, run by Wade Shows in the parking lot bounded by Kansas, Liberty, Walnut and Osage, is open until midnight tonight, Saturday and Sunday and is open until 5 p.m. Monday. There is a cost for carnival rides; all-day arm bands are available.
The Square is blocked off to traffic during the festival. The Truman Courthouse on the Square is closed today.
To headline the festival's entertainment, the Independence Chamber of Commerce secured Wynonna, the younger half of the famous mother-daughter country music duo The Judds, and her band The Big Noise to play at 9:30 tonight on the main stage. Whitey Morgan and the 78's, also in the midst of a national tour and a festival headliner in his own right, organizers said, will be the headline act at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Other musical acts performing at the Main Stage and Community Stage include The Brad Cunningham Band, Big Time Grain Co., Hudson Drive, Edge of Forever, The Rippers, Special Forces, Almost KISS, Sequoia Newland, Alex Sons, The Trace, Julia Reynolds, Jesse Kinch, Fools Gold Country Review and Prairie Moon.
The Main Street 1849 Experience returns to Santa-Cali-Gon, including blacksmiths, gold panning, an old-time photo booth, a one-room schoolhouse and games and toys and crafts, and there will be plenty of food options available around the Square.
Off-site parking is available in the large lots at the Community of Christ Auditorium at 1001 W. Walnut Ave. Shuttle rides to the Square are $1 per person (handicap accessible shuttles available).