By: Sarah Mitschke | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2007
Cari Little, administrative assistant at the Bixby Chamber of Commerce, anticipates the 2007 Bixby Green Corn Festival with her father Don Crall, president of the Bixby Optimist Club.
This year’s Bixby Green Corn Festival will be held June 28 through 30. With many types of live music, food, bingo, games, contests and over 50 arts and crafts booths, the event in downtown Bixby will be fun for all. Sponsored by the Bixby Optimist Club, the festival is an old fashioned event dating back to the 1940’s.
Known for its homegrown produce, Bixby has been called the “Garden Spot of Oklahoma.” With its location in the Arkansas Valley flood plane and fertile land, Bixby was able to provide produce for every state in the nation when shortages occurred during World War II. At that time, the Farmers Market Cooperative was open all day long and, in a three-week period, it shipped out over 21 boxcars full of Bixby golden roasting corn every 24 hours. Clyde Miller, a prominent corn grower and shipper at the time, organized a festival to commemorate a fruitful growing season. The festival included games, food and music to reward and share his good fortune with his produce employees and the people of Bixby. Thus began the yearly tradition of the Bixby Green Corn Festival.
After its establishment, the festival was dormant for many years. The Bixby Optimist Club later resurrected the event in 1975, just a year after the club’s formation. The Bixby Green Corn Festival has been going strong every year since. This year’s festival will take place mostly at Charley Young Park, while some of the activities will be held at the Bixby Community Center and surrounding outdoor areas.
The 32nd Annual Bixby Green Corn Festival will feature many fun events for the entire family. Always a crowd favorite, plenty of golden roasting ears will be given away at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Get there early to beat the long lines! Also, like last year, the popular band Rio Dosa will perform two nights of the three-day event. Bixby Optimist Club President Don Crall says, “Rio Dosa is a great band. It will highlight one night on the adult stage and another night on the youth stage.”
The Pride of Texas Carnival will be open every day of the festival for nonstop entertainment. Located near Charley Young Park, the carnival will be open Thursday, June 28, and Friday, June 29, from 6 to 10 p.m., as well as Saturday, June 30, from 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. Stop by for a ride on the ferris wheel as the sun sets.
New to the festival this year, a car show will be held Saturday morning. A parade will take place throughout downtown Bixby at 10 a.m., followed by a day full of fun games, food, music, competitions, bingo and more. A few of the contests include a watermelon seed spitting contest, balloon toss, corn throw, wheelbarrow race, frog jumping contest and a turtle race. Spectators can watch over 50 antique tractors participate in Saturday’s tractor pull, as well.
All proceeds from the 2007 Bixby Green Corn Festival will benefit the Bixby Optimist Club, as the festival is the club’s primary fundraising event each year. Crall says, “The international club is all about youth. We spend all our money on the youth in this area.” With a yearly budget of $50,000, Crall’s club conducts dozens of projects and activities each year to benefit the community’s youth and provide more “optimist” outlooks for their futures.
Over $10,000 of the budget is awarded in scholarships to high school seniors. The remainder of the budget is deemed “special support” money, allotted for the club’s special projects and for unforeseen needs of youth in the community. Eyeglasses are furnished by the Bixby Optimist Club during the year to needing students with poor eyesight, an example of special support money being put to good use.
A variety of activities are carried out by the Bixby Optimist Club to improve the lives of youth. Just to name a few, a yearly Christmas party is held for foster children each December, and a StaySAFE safety fair is put on for children and their families each spring. An Internet safety program will hopefully be implemented in classrooms by August.
The 32nd Annual Bixby Green Corn Festival is an event not to miss. With so many activities, there will be something for everyone in the family. For a complete list of events, visit the Bixby Chamber of Commerce online at www.bixbychamber.com. For more information about the event or to get involved in the Bixby Optimist Club, contact President Don Crall at (918) 906-9540 or visit the club online at www.bixbyoptimist.org.
12-128 W. Dawes Ave. | Bixby, OK