By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2009
Bixby Optimist Club members display this year’s Green Corn Festival artwork, created by Bixby High School sophomore Mavis Blanchard. (L to R) Parade Marshal Bill Pittman, Vic Bell, Susan Bevard, President Judy Evans, Dr. Tom Outhier, Curtis Evans and Dale Boatmun.
The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and everyone has a summer smile on their face – June is the perfect time to spend the day outside enjoying a picnic with loved ones. Bixby will soon be hosting its annual tribute to the good old-fashioned family picnic, the Green Corn Festival. Taking place Friday through Sunday, June 25-27 at Charley Young Park in downtown Bixby, the event will include entertainment, arts and crafts, food, carnival rides, games and contests for the young and young at heart, and, of course, as much succulent corn on the cob as you can eat.
Thursday is gospel night and will feature the musical stylings of Forgiven and several local church groups. A talent show to highlight area youth will be held Friday, and the annual Green Corn Parade will entertain the masses on Saturday morning.
From the classic car show to the hog calling contest to the antique tractor pull, you’ll feel as if you stepped back in time to the days when Bixby was still a new town. Since 1975, the festival has been hosted by the Bixby Optimist Club, offering something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Festival games will include a nail driving contest, horseshoe pitching, frog and turtle races, a hula hoop contest, three-legged sack races, limbo and bingo, to name a few. You can even vie for top honors in the corn or watermelon eating contests. “This festival is filled with old-fashioned family fun in the park,” said Judy Evans, Bixby Optimist Club president. “The kids really love the games, especially the frog and turtle races. It’s so much fun to watch them participate and cheer for their critters.”
The Bixby Green Corn Parade is a favorite for many and will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. They are still accepting floats, and businesses interested in participating in the parade may call Susan Bevard at (918) 366-0215.
This year’s parade marshal is Bill Pittman, also known as “Mr. Bixby.” Since retiring from Midwestern Geophysical Laboratories in 1991, Bill has spent most of his spare time on local civic activities. He is a charter member of the Optimist Club, as well as a member of the Bixby Chamber of Commerce, the Bixby Historical Society, and the Friends of Irving Foundation, which he helped found. He and his wife Susie are also active in supporting the First United Methodist Church, the Miss Bixby Scholarship Pageant, and the Daily Family YMCA.
Proceeds of the Green Corn Festival go to the Bixby Optimist Club’s scholarship programs, the Childhood Cancer Campaign and various other youth-oriented programs throughout the year, including the Miss Bixby Scholarship Pageant. Known for “bringing out the best in youth,” the club provides six $1,500 scholarships each year to area high school students, organizes an annual fishing derby for children, hosts a leadership luncheon for top students of the Bixby senior class, and sponsors essay and oratorical contests for students. The MidFirst Bank Coin Van will be on hand at the festival for visitors to drop off their spare change, which goes directly to the Optimist’s scholarship fund. All proceeds from the bingo games will help send a local 15-year-old cancer patient to Texas for treatment.
Each year the Bixby Optimist Club also honors a pioneer family that has lived in and contributed to the community for a long period of time. The 2009 honorees are the J.H. “Harve” and Harriet Butler family. They traveled by covered wagon with their eight children from southern Illinois to Indian Territory in 1898. The Butlers were farmers, businessmen and laborers who worked hard to make a living and help the town of Bixby grow. To learn more about the Butler family and the descendants of Harve and Harriet, you are invited to attend the Pioneer Family of the Year Breakfast on Friday, June 26 at 8 a.m. at the Crossroads Fellowship Family Center.
Don’t miss out on the delicious aroma and taste of roasted corn, loads of entertainment, carnival rides, games, contests and thrills at the Bixby Green Corn Festival, June 25-27. Charley Young Park is located in downtown Bixby, south and east of 151st and Memorial. Call (918) 366-3424 or visit www.bixbyoptimist.com for more information.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.