By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Other | Issue: May 2009
Members of the Lilac Festival planning committee include (L to R): Tanya Andrews, Sherry Martin, Cindy Bissett, Carolyn Peterson, Denise Lawrence and Dell Davis.
Claremore seems to have the market cornered when it comes to having good, old-fashioned family fun in the heart of the community. Come out May 2 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the city’s second annual Lilac Festival in downtown Claremore.
Sponsors of the Lilac Festival include GRDA, City of Claremore, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. (BNSF). This year’s event organizers are Claremore Main Street, Claremore Chamber of Commerce, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The May 2nd Lilac Festival falls on the heels of Relay For Life Claremore, which will be held Friday evening, May 1, through the wee hours of Saturday morning. Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society, and everyone in the community is invited to attend.
With the exception of food concessions and the children’s inflatables, everything is free at the fun-filled Lilac Festival. The event will feature an all-day stage where musicians, magicians, family variety acts and other entertainers, including the award-winning Will Rogers Jr. High Jazz Band, will be performing throughout the day and into the evening.
Lilac Festival activities will conclude with an old-time murder mystery melodrama written by Claremore’s own Mark Ogle. Dan Huey of Claremore is the director of the performance. The melodrama will commence at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. A highlight of the murder mystery will be the selection of jury members from the audience.
Vendors will be selling their wares at various arts and crafts booths on Main Street, and the Three Rivers Art Club will be displaying and selling the works of talented area artists. Additionally, BNSF is sponsoring a train station art activity center for children. This is a free-to-participate area where kids can make all types of crafts, including special projects for Mother’s Day.
BNSF will also feature the Lilac Express, an idea that started last year. Fourth grade classes from the three Claremore elementary schools have been invited to participate in painting and decorating 4-foot by 8-foot train cars that will be displayed at the festival. The intent is to add cars between the engine and caboose each year. Who knows? The train may eventually extend the entire length of Downtown Claremore’s Main Street.
Care More for Claremore is a local beautification group that will be selling lilac bushes the day of the festival. You may also preorder your lilac bushes if you like and pick them up the day of the event. Funds raised will go to local beautification projects. The Rogers County Master Gardeners will be on hand too, presenting a variety of “green” information.
In addition, the Lilac Festival will host a Cruisin’ Claremore Car & Motorcycle Show, in which car and bike enthusiasts are invited to simply park and exhibit their rides. This event has no entry fee, judging or awards. There will, however, be hourly cash drawings for anyone who pre-enters to display their car or motorcycle.
The Tulsa Garden Railroad Club will host a 50 to 60-foot display garden, complete with model trains running through it. Young and old, guys and gals, are sure to enjoy this exhibit.
Safety information stations manned by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Claremore police and fire departments will be part of the festival as well, and the American Red Cross will be conducting a blood drive in their Bloodmobile.
As you can see, this year’s Lilac Festival is loaded with entertainment and activities for everyone. And don’t forget the really great shopping opportunities at all of your Main Street merchants! Come and join your Claremore friends and neighbors, and be sure to bring your lawn chairs.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.