Community and business members gathered together Saturday evening in the Independence Country Club to celebrate the Neewollah come to pass and prepare for another on its way in a short eight months. 

2018 Neewollah Organizer Stacy Yakshaw welcomed those in the audience and gave a short speech thanking the new and old members of the Neewollah Board. 

Yakshaw gave a rundown of the costs incurred during the festival, saying Neewollah pays for the electric bill Neewollah generates, the overtime city employees garner, the usual parades, shows and sights, and this year, the board paid for a tree. 

"Our goal isn't to make money from Neewollah, but our goal is to make sure we have enough money in case Neewollah can't happen one year, that we can go ahead and have it the following year," said Yakshaw. 

After Yakshaw spoke, the cast of The Addams Family surprised attendees with a quick flashmob.

Generalissimo Keith Confer introduced Queen Neelah the 77th Emma Stoner, who told the crowd she had attended the Miss Kansas Winter Workshop earlier that day. "It was a lot, to be honest. It was overwhelming, but I know that I have a large backing here in Independence and a lot of support," said Stoner. "It will be an adventure."

Confer took the stage again and explained why he decided to focus on the last 60 years of Neewollah, when it was re-invigorated, with the Diamond Jubilee. "Yes, Neewollah is 100 years old," said Confer, "We ought to be proud of the milestone." Confer went on to say the key element of success for Neewollah was "you."

Confer thanked all those who participated in Neewollah, including the business leaders of Independence and those who sponsor the event every year. "We try to make sure those who put forward for us get recognition."

Confer thanked Mike Flood for his help with the professional show, Lisa Hugo and her crew for her help with the grand parade, Erin Shelton for her work at the band competition, Melinda Miller for her success with the craft show, Jay Jones for sanitation, John Hamlin for his work at the bandstand, Sean Clapp with security and Melissa Small with her work at the Kiddie Parade, Dooh-Dah Royalty Melissa and Zach Unruh, and Confer congratulated Erik Wolf for doing a "fabulous job" with this year's musical, to name a few of the faces and hands that help put on Neewollah.

"Our little town is largely and positively known for putting on a really nice event," said Confer. "And you guys are all apart of that, we appreciate it, and the Neewollah Board applauds you."

All past and present Neewollah Generalissimos gathered on the dance floor to welcome the 2019 Neewollah Generalissimo Anne Bertie. 

"I was born and raised in Independence and Neewollah has been a part of my upbringing as much as any other holiday we celebrate," said Bertie, and she went on to marvel at the fact Neewollah has been around for 100 years, and thanked those in attendance for their part in putting it on diligently every year. "I can't even calculate how many volunteers have worked during Neewollah over the past 100 years, I'm told it's over 500 volunteers any given year. That only happens when you have a community driven by believers."

Then, aided by music and lyrics, board members and generalissimos introduced the 2019 Musical, "Shrek." 

"Thanks for making 2018 Neewollah a jubilee for me!"