By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: February 2010
(L to R): Kellie Vann, marketing manager, Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs; Myrtle Prather, vice president of business development, RCB Bank; and Tanya Andrews, executive director, Claremore Convention & Visitors Bureau.
She was “a kid from Oklahoma who never wanted to be a singer, but was told I could sing.” Patti Page, born in Claremore, Oklahoma as Clara Ann Fowler, was singing on a KTUL live radio program for the Page Milk Company when a dance band manager, who was visiting from Chicago, just happened to turn on his radio. This discovery started Patti Page on a rise to fame that took her to the top of the record label charts – and far from her hometown and state.
But Patti Page never forgot where she came from. And she will be returning in April to participate in “Destination Claremore,” a weeklong event sponsored by the Claremore Convention & Visitors Bureau and presented by RCB Bank and Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs, scheduled to take place April 23 through May 1.
“This event is all about our history,” says Tanya Andrews, executive director of the Claremore Convention & Visitors Bureau. “And Patti Page is one of Claremore’s legends.”
This will be the first year for Destination Claremore, an event designed to highlight and celebrate some of the many attractions Claremore and its surrounding areas have to offer. “About a year ago, we asked the Oklahoma Department of Tourism to help us brainstorm and pull together a tagline that helped represent the whole of Claremore,” Tanya recounts. “In the tourism industry, you’re either identified by a tagline or one particular attraction.”
Tanya goes on to explain that since the Claremore area has so many attractions – Will Rogers Hotel, Will Rogers Memorial, J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum, Route 66 – and several famous people who called the town home – Will Rogers, Patti Page, and Lynn Riggs, playwright who wrote the basics for Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" – that it was impossible to focus on just one area. So the tagline “Claremore! Oklahoma’s Cast of Legends” was born, and fits perfectly.
Several great events are planned the week of Destination Claremore, including Western Trader Days at Will Rogers Memorial and Birthplace Ranch and at the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum. J.M. Davis Museum and Will Rogers Memorial will also be individually highlighted with their own evening events on April 26 and 27, respectively. On April 28, Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs will host “An Evening Gala in Honor of Miss Patti Page.” Then on April 29, Robson Performing Arts Center will host “Patti Page Returns to Claremore.” Also on the morning of that date, Patti Page will be on hand for “Conversations,” an assembly event for local students, sponsored by RCIDA and Oklahoma Natural Gas. April 30 will bring “Taste of Claremore,” a progressive dinner featuring Claremore’s local favorites. The event will wrap up on May 1 with the “Lilac Festival” in historic downtown and “Derby Day” at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs.
Several sponsors in addition to RCB and Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs have joined forces to make this event possible, including 1st Bank Oklahoma and Grand Bank. Media sponsors include Value News, Inc. and Travel Host of Northeast Oklahoma. The event is hosted by Robson PAC and Claremore Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“We want our community to embrace our history and legends through this event,” says Tanya. “And to understand what these legends mean not only to Claremore, but to the state of Oklahoma as well.”