Hosted by the iconic Independence soda company Polly’s Pop, PopFest is a celebration of all things pop: soda pop, popcorn, pop music, pop quizzes … you get the idea. Come for the sweet treats, stay for the surprises that are sure to pop up.

Children having the time of their lives in the bubble pit at PopFest, a celebration of all things pop, on June 29.

By Natalie-Elizabeth Tan

Hit Independence Square in Independence on June 29 to join Polly’s Pop for PopFest, a celebration of all things that go pop! Indulge in popcorn, popsicles, and cake pops while sipping on Polly’s soda pop and listening to live pop music. There also will be a pop quiz, pop bottling show, and for those over 21, special Polly’s Pop cocktails at the bars and restaurants on Independence Square.

Polly’s Pop, a beloved craft soda company hailing from Independence, has been quenching Missourians’ thirst since 1923. The company stayed in operation till 1967, but was revived in 2016 by Ken and Cindy McClain and has been a staple of the Kansas City community since, offering flavors from classics like root beer and cream soda to imaginative variations like glazed donut and peach.

During Saturday’s event, the company will debut two new product lines—sparkling water and wait for it … barbecue sauce.

What’s the connection, you may be wondering? Well, Kansas City is renowned for their barbecue after all, and the McClains are big fans of Daniel’s Bar-B-Q Sauce, another Kansas City staple. So, they’ve collaborated to release barbecue sauces in three flavors—pineapple, peach and root beer. (Daniel himself will be at the event with his food truck.)

“We’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with the flavors just because we want to get them perfect,” says Calvin Hays, general manager. “We want them to be something that people want to keep in their house and continue to use over and over because they’re good. The peach is a little sweeter, and the pineapple is more on the spicy side. … If you ever had root beer barbecue sauce, it is a very unique taste, but it’s really good. It goes on dark meats and brisket really well.”

Polly’s Pop’s craft soda, produced in small batches, is a favorite among locals.

Besides consuming pop and treats, there is lots to see and do. Animal Wonders, yet another great Kansas City business, will be there with exotic animals and birds. Those looking to adopt a furry friend will be glad to know there will be a pop-up adoption booth with dogs you can interact with and perhaps even bring home.

Oh, a must-see is the pop show, located in Polly’s Pop’s production facility on West Maple. Learn about the heritage of this much-adored brand while watching pop be produced. Entry to this show is $2 and comes with a bottle of pop. And come evening, The School of Rock and Joey Marlow take the stage at Liberty Lounge.

After checking out the festivities on the square, end your night by popping into a bar or two to try a boozy Polly’s Pop concoction.

With so much to see and do, this event is going to be poppin’. If you’re a craft soda connoisseur or just looking for a way to spend your weekend, PopFest is the place to be.

All photos courtesy of Polly’s Pop.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.