By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Other | Issue: June 2010
Members of the Bixby Optimist Club board of directors prepare to welcome 25,000 visitors to this year’s Green Corn Festival. (L to R): Susan Bevard, Dr. Eric Curley, Sean Spellecy, Don Crall, Dr. Cheryl Steffins, Vic Bell, Jacquie Young and Sherry Ayers.
It started in 1947 as a simple, spur-of-the moment get-together and ice cream social, when about 100 farmers and produce merchants gathered to celebrate an especially good corn crop. Now the Bixby Green Corn Festival has grown into a community-wide event that is expected to attract as many as 25,000 people from June 24th through the 26th.
Expansion, a change of season, a major drought, severe flooding and finally a hiatus marked the festival’s first 20 years. Since then, it has been an annual event that has played a major role in the community that pioneered the farmer’s market.
A carnival and bean dinner will open the three-day picnic at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 24. Free roasting ears will be available while they last. Great music, arts and crafts, food, bingo, games, contests and a big parade fill the next two days.
If some of the activities seem a little “corny,” that’s all part of the idea. Long-standing traditions are reminiscent of the good old days when times were simpler and so was the entertainment. Contests that the whole family can enjoy include nail driving, a turtle and frog race, horseshoe pitching, hog calling, a sack race, a wheelbarrow race, corn eating and watermelon eating. And perhaps nowhere else will people be applauded for tossing eggs and corn, and spitting watermelon seeds. That’s in contest, of course.
Two stages will showcase musical entertainment of all genres, as well as local talent shows. Youngsters will have their own dedicated stage. Dance performances range everywhere from square dancing to a limbo contest. The Green Corn Parade on Saturday morning follows a 5K run sponsored by the YMCA. A big street dance closes the event that ends at midnight.
The Bixby Green Corn Festival is sponsored by the Bixby Optimist Club, a community service organization that emphasizes youth. The 103 members, comprised of business people, parents, educators, professionals and civic-minded citizens, are committed to creating a more optimistic future for kids. The festival is their largest means of support.
Event chairman Sean Spellecy says, “This year we are proud to add sponsorship of the Bentley Park Splash Pad at the new Bentley Sports Complex to our many ongoing projects.” These include sponsorship, hosting and involvement in recognition programs, scholarship programs, youth events, school program support, special youth and children’s causes, YMCA programs, Adopt-a-Highway and the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign.
The Bixby Optimist Club also played a major role in making Charley Young Park what it is today. Their contributions include construction of the gazebo, installation of drinking fountains, decorative lights and tree plantings.
Visitors come back year after year to experience the small-town friendliness and hospitality that welcomes them just minutes from the heart of the metropolitan Tulsa area. Despite record growth in recent years, the Bixby community has maintained its charming identity, in part by showing appreciation for its humble roots.
A board of directors that works nearly a whole year to put together the Green Corn Festival leads the Bixby Optimist Club. Board members are Judy Evans, Sean Spellecy, Debbie Crall, Curtis Evans, Eric Curley, Sally Pledger Susan Bevard, Russ Smith, Jacquie Young, Joyce Colton, Tom Outhier, Scott Mabrey and Dale Boatmun.
Plan to sing and dance in the street June 24-26. For more information, call (918) 740-3122 or email eat0@eau0eav0eaw0. Applications for the parade are still being accepted.For
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.