As beloved annual events like the Waldo Fall Festival return to Kansas City’s calendar, that’s reason enough to celebrate.
Yet after one of the most challenging periods in history, Waldo businesses, residents, and visitors have even more to celebrate when the festival returns on Saturday, Sept. 18.
For example? In the last year, the Waldo Area Business District grew by more than 20 (yes, twenty!) businesses, an incredible feat.
And for many of those businesses, the Waldo Fall Festival is a chance to say thank you to the community that kept them going.
“The Waldo community and Kansas Citians at large have been supportive and thoughtful in their shopping and how they support local businesses throughout the pandemic,” says Julia Hiles, owner of Hiles Two, a longtime Waldo décor, gifts, and children’s clothing retailer that’s been open nearly 38 years. “Our customers were calling and emailing us to shop and support us while everything remained so uncertain. I’m forever grateful for the incredible support from this community.”
Waldo Fall Festival activities kick off at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Sept. 18, in the parking lot off of the Trolley Trail at E. Gregory and Wornall Rd. This year’s festival — the 29th in Waldo’s history—is all about “The Spirit of Waldo.” Highlights include:
- A local artist and maker pop-up, produced in partnership with The Strawberry Swing
- Special offers available at participating Waldo businesses, including Hagoyah, Pilates 1901, and Marco Polo Selections, among others
- On-site vendors for easy shopping, including Emilie’s French Teas, Hawthorne & Ivy, Mantooth Creative, Pickleman’s, The Classic Cookie, Waldo Greenhouse, and more
Charlie Schloegel, CR, UDCP, is co-owner of Schloegel Design and Remodel, which has called Waldo home for more than 35 years. Schloegel Design and Remodel is this year’s Waldo Fall Festival sponsor, and Schloegel says the opportunity is more appreciated than ever.
“Participating in the Waldo Fall Festival is just one way for us to support the community back,” he says. “Through the past year and a half, we’ve all come to value our amazing community even more than we did before. This wonderfully diverse neighborhood and its amazing residents have allowed us to grow into the business we are today.”
While you explore the festival and the surrounding Waldo neighborhood, keep your eyes peeled for fun surprises, including the unveiling of this year’s Fall Festival T-shirt, designed by Mantooth Creative. Co-owners Ashley Mantooth and Katie Mantooth are newer members of the Waldo business community and are excited to participate.
“We’re looking forward to spending time with the community,” Ashley says. “We love doing our interactive portrait sessions and we know Waldo shows up for the small businesses.”
Adds Katie, “Check out our portrait station at the Waldo Fall Festival! We’re also rolling out a new Waldo design that we think will make locals smile.”
Although this year’s Waldo Fall Festival is a multi-faceted celebration, event organizers also continue to prioritize safety at the outdoor event, including following all Kansas City and CDC guidelines. Vendors, attendees, and volunteers are encouraged to wear a mask or stand six feet apart. Masks are required indoors for attendees visiting Waldo businesses.
Connect with the Waldo Fall Festival online at WaldoKC.org for an up-to-date list of vendors. More details are available on Waldo’s social media channels, @everythingwaldo. Follow The Strawberry Swing on social media, @StrawberrySwingKC, for a full list of makers featured at the Waldo Fall Festival pop-up.
It’s fall, y’all! This might just be the best time of year to appreciate all things Kansas City. And the fun starts Sept. 18 at the Waldo Fall Festival. See you there!