By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: May 2009
Kathy Reynolds, vice president of programs for the Broken Arrow Area Chamber of Commerce, has been helping organize Rooster Days since 1996.
Now in its 78th year, Broken Arrow’s Rooster Days is Oklahoma’s oldest annual festival. This year’s Rooster Days event, which runs from Thursday, May 7 to Sunday, May 10 (Mother’s Day weekend, as always), features arts and crafts, carnival rides, food and drinks, a petting zoo, and a lot more.
The Rooster Days festival began in 1931, in the days when groceries traded staple goods and clothing for fresh eggs. A preponderance of roosters was inhibiting Broken Arrow’s plans to establish an infertile egg market (fertile eggs do not keep fresh as long, and in the days before electric refrigeration, this was a real problem), and the powers-that-were put together a rooster-culling day. On the first Rooster Day, over two tons of roosters were sold. In each following year, the celebration grew and began to include carnival attractions, floats, and entertainment, although the selling of roosters was eventually phased out. In 1952, Life magazine ran a story nationally on Rooster Days. Since then, it’s evolved into the mega-festival it is today.
Arts and crafts booths will be inside the community center at 1500 S. Main in Central Park. Rooster Days will also have a bigger kids’ area this year, with more inflatable attractions. The petting zoo – always a popular attraction – will include goats, sheep, cows, pigs and more. Kids will be able to feed the animals and watch chicks hatching.
Rooster Days also features the Miss Chick competition. “Miss Chick isn’t a beauty contest,” says Kathy Reynolds, vice president of the Broken Arrow Area Chamber of Commerce. “Miss Chick is an ambassador for Broken Arrow. She attends ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings, and other Chamber functions.”
Ten days prior to the start of Rooster Days begins the always popular Rooster Egg Hunt. An egg is hidden in public areas in Broken Arrow, and clues are given out every day except Sunday at egg clue outlets. The finder receives $2,500 to $5,000 in cash and prizes.
AAA Auger is the presenting sponsor for Rooster Days. They will lead the parade along with Blue Bell Ice Cream. The Rooster Days committee includes Jack Hayhurst of Hayhurst Funeral Home, who handles the parade; Judy Smith, who oversees the Miss Chick competition; chairman Scott Eudey, attorney; and Russell Parker, who handles the food. Reynolds herself has helped put Rooster Days together every year since 1996.
“There are several civic organizations that have been a big help to us,” says Reynolds. “The Broken Arrow Optimist Club helps us with the arts and crafts – their help has been a real blessing. And the Broken Arrow Rotary Club supplies the award money for the float awards. We’re very grateful to them as well.”
Rooster Days is Thursday, May 7 to Sunday, May 10. Mega-ride passes, which will let you ride all the rides on all four days of the festival, are now available for $40.
The Rooster Days parade is Saturday, May 9 at 10 a.m. This event has drawn upward of 40,000 people in past years, so come early to stake out your spot. The parade route runs from College to 91st on Main St. For more information, call the Broken Arrow Area Chamber of Commerce or visit www.roosterdaysfestival.com.