Tahlequah Daily Press

January 8, 2014

On the cutting edge with community events


TAHLEQUAH — If casual comments from area residents are any indication, the third Snowflake winter skating event in downtown Tahlequah was a slick success.

When the holiday activity was first introduced in 2011, more than a few naysayers said it wouldn’t work, and they grumbled about the initial cost to the city. As it turned out, many people jumped at the chance to try a sport unfamiliar to most Okies, and now, the rink is as much a part of local culture as the Red Fern Festival, which comes back around in late April.

Ice-skating has even become trendy. Other nearby cities, including Muskogee, have added rinks to their holiday celebrations.

Snowflake is just one of the ways the Tahlequah Main Street Association (TMSA) is making an impact. And although the primary focus is on downtown venues, everyone in the city – and by extension, the county – is benefiting from this organization’s annual lineup. From downtown wine walks, to new festivals like OKsWagen, to the popular summer Movies in the Park, TMSA has a full roster, with more on the way.

TMSA is helping seed a renewed sense of “community” and “neighborhood” that is so often missing in today’s society. It’s giving all of us something to do, and in a way that can fit into even the most modest family budget.

Kudos should again go to Director Drew Haley, the front man who has brought a number of new ideas to the table. The same goes for the folks on his board of directors, who work tirelessly behind the scenes. A tip of the hat should also be extended to Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Moore, and Tourism Director Kate Kelly, who have for years now played vital roles in these projects and more.

Next up on the slate is Wines of Winter, Feb. 11, and Red Fern will be April 25-26. Those events will bookend a number of other activities, many of them designed to boost downtown shopping.

We think it’s safe to say a growing percentage of the local population is looking forward to what the year has to offer.