By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Other | Issue: September 2007
Headliner Ricky Skaggs is scheduled to perform the evening of Friday, September 7.
Bluegrass and chili is a hard-to-beat combination. Mark your calendars now for the 28th Annual Bluegrass and Chili Festival in Claremore, the host city of the event for the past seven years. Thousands of people from Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas will travel to Rogers County for the fun, food, music and entertainment of the event. Set to kick off at the Claremore Expo on Friday, September 7, the festival will continue through Saturday, September 8.
Three stages at the event will provide for a variety of performers and entertainment. Headliner Ricky Skaggs will be in concert Friday evening. Again, a hot hit with the annual festival, there will be lots of chili cooking and tasting going on. Taster kits will be sold by local sorority members, and proceeds will benefit scholarship programs. Civic groups, including the Optimist and Rotary Clubs, in addition to Claremore Main Street, will be helping with directing visitors to parking spots. “A lot is given back to our community by those who sponsor and volunteer in making the festival a reality,” says Dell Davis, CEO and president of the Claremore Chamber of Commerce.
Favorites from past events will be brought back for this year’s festival, and some exciting, new attractions will be added, as well. The car show, hosted by the Classic Chevy Club, will display 150 entries from 44 classes. The Lowe’s Team, defending 2006 champions, will be on hand to compete in the Great Chili Pepper Factor. This event has teams taste very hot concoctions, chase greased pigs and more. Indoor attractions will also take place at the Bluegrass and Chili Festival, including arts, crafts, and a quilt show hosted by the Country Fare Quilters Guild of Claremore. Kids will surely enjoy the Kiddie Korral, a free children’s area.
Jim Gatling’s school quilt collection from Morrilton, Arkansas, will be a feature attraction at this year’s event. The collection has never traveled out of Arkansas and will be exhibited in its entirety for the first time ever. It includes 60 quilts crafted by seventh through twelfth grade students in Gatling’s needlework classes. Each student selected a theme requiring research, drafting, fabric choices and constructing blocks. Stitching had to meet Gatling’s high standards of needlework. Each quilt is a work of art that offers a glimpse of history, as well. Gatling himself will be available at the exhibit to answer questions and guide visitors through the collection.
The Grascals will provide entertainment at this year’s Bluegrass and Chili Festival.
Many sponsors have helped put together this year’s Bluegrass and Chili Festival in many different aspects. Sponsors include: Cherokee Casino at Will Rogers Downs, RCB Bank, Cox Communications, 1st Bank Oklahoma, KOTV The News on 6, Thomas Kwik Kar, KVOO 98.5, City of Claremore, Claremore Chamber of Commerce, the Grand River Dam Authority, Suburban Chevrolet, IBC Bank, Air Products, Oklahoma Natural Gas, Wal-Mart, US Cellular, the Guitar House of Tulsa, Sonic, Air Evac, Big Country 99.5, McDonald’s and the Optimist Club of Claremore.
Over 300 volunteers, led by Tanya Andrews, volunteer coordinator for the event, have put in hundreds of hours to ensure the festival’s success. Davis gives credit to the event’s wonderful sponsors and volunteers. “Without them there simply would not be a Bluegrass and Chili Festival,” she says.
Stop by the Claremore Expo from 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday, September 7, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, September 8, for this fun-filled, entertaining and educational event. With so many different activities to partake in, exhibits to see and chili to taste, the Bluegrass and Chili Festival is an event not to miss. For more information, contact the Claremore Chamber of Commerce at (918) 341-8688 or visit www.claremore.org.
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.