By: Jim Butcher | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2015
Jacquie Young, a Bixby Green Corn Festival volunteer, responsible for vendors, booths and food services for more than 15 plus years believes it is all about: Kids. Family Fun and 15,000 local and area residents enjoying great music, arts and crafts, food, bingo, carnival and great games.
This will be the 40th edition of the festival which is a kick back to the good old fashioned family oriented picnics. It is always held on the fourth Thursday, Friday and Saturday of June. This year: June 25 through June 27.
Young says, “the festival continues to grow in attendance despite being limited to the downtown area of Bixby. One of the reasons why I think this festival is so special is because it has remained the same since 1975. Charley Young Park is the site of the Gazebo stage, and games, surrounded by about 60 food and crafts booths. A talent show to highlight area youth is held on Friday at the Community Center and the annual Green Corn Parade entertains the masses on Saturday morning. Also on Saturday, cool off during the heat of the day by joining in a few rounds of bingo at the Community Center.
What could be more traditional than an afternoon or evening in the bright summer sun, with lemonade to sip, an array of crafts and gifts to purchase, music to enjoy listening to, with your friends all around? Only a ride on the ferris wheel as the sun sets and the sounds of carnival music drift up in the evening air. The Street Dance is also very popular.
The Bixby area is known for its fine home-grown produce and has the reputation for being the garden spot of Oklahoma. Its location in the Arkansas Valley flood plane contributes to its rich fertile bottom land.
Bixby gained nation-wide reputation as the garden spot during World War II when it shipped produce to every state. The old Farmers Market Co-Operative on the east side of Memorial Drive was in full swing during this time, operating 24 hours a day and shipping corn out by the box car.
It was during this time that the late Clyde Miller, who was a prominent grower and shipper, decided after a very fruitful season, to reward and share his good fortune with his pickers and packers. He organized a festival, which included food, games and music for their enjoyment. His efforts were well received by not only his employees but the town’s people as well. Thus, the idea of the Bixby Green Corn Festival was born.
Over the years, the festival had been sponsored by several different civic organizations and had been an on-again off-again affair until the Optimist Club of Bixby resurrected it in 1975.
The Optimist Club added a new dimension to the festival in 1980 with the sponsorship of the Miss Bixby Scholarship Pageant. The pageant provided a new method of selecting a Miss Bixby and a young lady to represent Bixby. The objective of the Club in sponsoring the festival is to provide an atmosphere in which the citizens of Bixby and their friends can meet and renew old friendships. Young says it is a delight to watch the kids grow and enjoy the wide variety of “non-electronic” games.
Young said everything the Green Corn Festival generates goes back to the kids in the community. She singled out the Fishing Derby event with 160 kids participating last year as one example. Thursday and Friday are evening events. Saturday is all day.
Jim Butcher is a retired, award-winning newspaperman who continues to write as a freelance writer and photographer. He owned the Tulsa Front Page weekly and was executive editor to Neighbor Newspapers' 13 metro newspapers. Currently, he writes for Value News and has become a paid assignment screenwriter, along with a University of Oklahoma professor who wrote Brad Pitt's first feature film. His award-winning screenplay is on the historical Osage Indian Murders of the 1920s.