Maple Avenue on the Independence Square hosted more than 500 residents June 6 during Shout Out Independence, an evening of free family entertainment.
"I would say we had 300-500 kids," said Sondra Wilson who owned and helped operate the bouncy houses throughout the event.
Bouncy houses, balloon animals, and face painters set up on Maple Avenue and Liberty street to allow families to roam safely through the Square while the band Right on Red performed in the Pharaoh Theater parking lot throughout the evening.
Shout Out Independence was an opportunity for residents to connect to local resources. The Community Resource tent housed 26 representatives from local organizations and non-profits including the Independence Regional Ennovation Center, Drumm Farm for Children, Mid-Continent Public Library, Special Neighbors, Inc. and more.
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Shout Out Independence also increased foot traffic to stores on the Square. Kelly Biggs, owner of Just Taffy LLC on N. Liberty, kept her store open throughout Shout Out Independence and had an increase in sales making cotton candy for new customers.
Shout Out Independence ended with the first free Moonlight Movie of the summer.
Shout Out Independence gave residents a lot to shout out about during the event.
“Definitely a shout out to the people,” said Megan Garrett of the Kansas City Public Library. “The people are so nice. Even people I don’t know were like ‘Awesome I’ll come see you’ [at their booth].”
“Definitely the people,” said John Navarre who represented the Legal Aid of Western Missouri in the Community Resource tent.
When asked what his favorite thing about Independence was, resident Rick Ryan said, “Firstly, it’s the home of Harry S. Truman. He was president when I was born.” In addition to Harry S. Truman, Paul Henning, creator of the “The Beverly Hillbillies” and William Chrisman High School graduate, was also a favorite part of Independence for Ryan. “If that doesn’t make you proud then what will?” asked Ryan.
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Resident Mary White cited the multicultural community events as her favorite thing about Independence. “The cultural events that reflect the community are great. We have a Samoan community and recently had a Cinco De Mayo event.”
It’s the multicultural community that is White’s favorite thing about Independence. “We all come from different backgrounds but we all realize we have the same thing in common, we all love Independence”.