It was all monkey business around Independence Saturday for the first ever Miss Able's Summer Blastoff Festival which began with a Blastoff Breakfast at the Independence Historical Museum and Art Center and activities continued throughout the day.

Breakfast attendees joined Miss Able as she dined on banana pancakes, solar sausages and booster juice, and all enjoyed coloring the special placentas made special for the day. The Miss Able Quilt and Stuff Monkey raffles were held at 4 p.m. with winners to be announced.

The Morning Monkey Run held at the Riverside Park Oval was well-attended with Miss Able cutting the ribbon to signify the start of the race. Independence Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Wilson welcomed run participants and explained prizes and other activities happening during the Blastoff celebration. 

Laken Sharpe was the first runner to cross the finish line. He won a special certificate and a monkey cookie, courtesy of Laurel Street Bakery. Bottled water and bananas were available for run participants, and more monkey cookies were given to the next 11 contestants reaching the finish line. 

An inflatable Moon Bounce was well received by children and Miss Able as they jumped and screamed with joy. Miss Able joined the fun with kids at the Monkey See, Monkey Do obstacle course and free face painting. Photo ops were available as the Chamber had an Instagram frame made special for the event. Gifts for kids included orange mini monkeys, monkey bracelets, bookmarks, Dairy Queen ice cream tokens, and train and carousel tickets. Miss Able monkey buttons were available for purchase with proceeds assisting the festival. Park activities included Miss Able's Table concession stand serving cotton candy, candy bars, bottled drinks, hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream bars, slushies, chips and more. 

The festival continued in the afternoon at the Independence Science and Technology Center where activities included displays of a miniature rocket, meteor rock and a Mercury Pressure Suit. A bottle rocket demonstration was held and Anti-Gravity Simulator rides were offered.

Festival goers traveled to the Independence Public Library for "Living in Space," a Cosmosphere Exhibit sponsored by Textron Aviation. Other activities at the library included making liquid oxygen ice cream and the movie, "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian." 

The day concluded with Summer Splash Down at the Aquatic Center from 7 to 9 p.m. Activities at the center included Dive Through Saturn's Rings, Lazy River Space Race, Meteor Rock "Cannon Ball" Contest and Moon Rock Race. 

It was a wonderful day, said Wilson. 

"It was nice to see so many people out and about all over town participating in the events we had planned and celebrating Miss Able," she said with a smile. "The Monkey Run was a lot of fun and we were so happy with the participation." She mentioned the great job Riverside Park staff did setting up the obstacle course. "This is their busy season but Barb Beurskens and her staff still managed to pull off a very engaging activity."

Wilson mentioned ISTC's free admission for festival goers. "When I dropped by, lots of kids were having fun checking everything out and riding the Anti-Gravity simulator," she noted. "And a special thank you goes out to Textron Aviation for sponsoring the Kansas Cosmosphere's 'Living in Space' presentation held at the library."

She said 75 swimmers participated in the Summer Splash Down, to see pictures visit the Chamber Facebook page,

"I want to personally thank the Miss Able Summer Blastoff planning committee," she said proudly. "They met for weeks in advance to plan all of the fun, exciting and engaging activities everyone from around the area and out-of-town visitors who were able to enjoy the experience on Saturday."