A little history
Where did the Hop Festival come from?
The “original” Hop Festival, also known as the Hop Fiesta, began in early 1930’s. The festival grew out of the celebrations in the migrant camps at the hop fields. These celebrations marked the end of hop harvest.
The festival/fiesta in its original form continued until the mid 1950’s, missing only years when the US was most deeply involved in World War II. By the early 1950’s the hop crop began to decline. The demise of a large hop harvest also meant the end of the early festival/fiesta. Between the mid 1950’s and 2001 there was no official Hop Festival.
In 2001 Mayor John McArdle created a team and challenged them with exploring the feasibility of bringing back a hop festival to Independence. The team decided that the new incarnation needed to embrace the cultural and historic texture of the community. A date was picked: the last Saturday in September. The tragic events of September 11th happened just days before the first festival. In the spirit of Independence the Festival opened and provided a much needed community event.
In 2012 the Hop & Heritage Festival had grown and become a great community success. The festival was officially partnered with the City of Independence, run entirely by volunteers. The volunteer committee made a strategic decision to grow the festival with purpose and a vision. The committee’s hard work, ideas, and focus resulted in a clear, understandable mission and vision for the Independence Hop & Heritage Festival.
The hard work of the committee volunteers was recognized by the community when the Hop & Heritage Festival was honored with the Best Non-Profit or Organization in Monmouth and Independence. The next step for the Hop & Heritage Festival was to become a commission of the City of Independence. Now the Hop & Heritage Festival is a commission of the city. The festival grows every year, but has stayed true to its nature. On September 28, 2013, Independence was hit by Typhoon Pabuk. The festival went on, but closed early after 8+ inches of rain had drenched the festival.
There was a massive shift in how the festival was organized and set up in 2014. The festival was moved from Main Street into the Independence Riverview Park. We had many new displays, including wooden boats and a kids tent.
We’re looking forward to what this year’s festival has in store! Join us for the fun.