Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 15, 2013

Festival goes off without a hitch

TAHLEQUAH — The 66th annual Stilwell Strawberry Festival is now tucked away into the history books, but the sweet, red, delicious fruit is still available for a few more weeks this year.

Saturday was a beautiful day for the event, which is rarely rained out, but has been ended early due to storms.

“It was one of the best days ever for a festival,” said Betty Barker, who has never missed one of the 66 Strawberry Festivals. “We ordered perfect weather and we got it.”

Her daughter, Dianne Barker-Harrold, grandkids and great grandkids were also in attendance.

“We always have such a great time. We have another festival under our belts,” Barker said. “We always enjoy eating strawberries, and this year we didn’t run out as quickly, of berries, for sale. The growers usually bring all they have and they’re gone in an hour or so. But this time, one of the growers went back and got some more.”

An estimated 30,000 people attended the annual event, which featured a new entertainer, James Wesley.

“The entertainment was really good,” Barker said. “And the band at 3 p.m., River’s Edge, was really, really good.”

The parade had excellent entries, especially the tractors, she said.

“The tractors were restored; they were really nice. You could also see them later,” she said.

Only six growers participated this year, she said. Baird’s was not involved, because the drought and the deer damaged the crops.

Tyler Woods took first place; Jane and Bobby Doyle took second; and Bobby’s brother Burl Doyle, of Country Gardens, took third.

The queen was crowned, and that was lovely, Barker said.

“A Kiwanis regional officer used to crown the queen, now the outgoing queen does the honors,” she explained.

There are other people besides Barker who have never missed a Strawberry Festival, she said, “but I’m the only member of Kiwanis who had been to every one.”

Organizer of the berry contest, OSU Extension Educator Marty Green, said there was a good turnout and plenty of berries.

“People weren’t buying like they have in the past, when it’s been like a shark attack to buy the berries, but all the flats were sold by about 2 p.m.,” Green said. “The parade went really well, with a good turnout of tractors.”

Standing Tall Tractor Club from the Eufaula/Checotah area and Tired Iron Tractor Club from the Gentry, Ark., area participated, Green said.

Proceeds from the festival go back into the community.

“We spend the money back on the kids and the community, for parks, 4-H, FFA, burn-out victims, school activities, scholarships,” Green said. “We don’t keep any of it.”

Teresa Keen has attended the festival many times.

“I bought berries from Tyler Woods, a Westville grower. I saw more police presence than ever before. Kiwanis changed it up a bit this year by mixing food vendors with arts and crafts vendors, hoping to move the traffic in all directions instead of separating food vendors and arts and crafts,” Keen said. “I had an Indian taco for lunch, and it was amazing!”

Owner of the Eagle Theater, Alice Rankin, said she was pleased for such a nice day.

“It was a beautiful day,” Rankin said. “They showed the Wilma Mankiller movie, ‘Cherokee Word for Water.’ I really enjoyed it; it was really great. It made you want to know more.”

She hopes that next year, the food vendors won’t be so near the four-corners intersection downtown.

“The food was good. But the food generators were really loud and you couldn’t hear what was going on. Everyone gathers at the four corners to visit and see what’s going on onstage,” Rankin said.

It seemed to Rankin the parade wasn’t as big this year, but she said that was probably because there were no politicians in it.

The parade was one of the best aspects of the Strawberry Festival for Dan Collins, president of Kiwanis, the club that organizes the event.

“The parade lasted about an hour and 10 or 15 minutes and didn’t have a lot of gaps. We had two of the three marching bands show up. We’ve been trying to make an effort to get more marching bands to come, but I know it’s hard for schools to do it this time of year,” Collins said. “We were glad to have them.”

Also in the parade were the Shriners.

“They hadn’t been here in several years. And there were 148 horses that showed up – not a record but still quite a few,” Collins said.

Tyler Woods, who won first place for his berries, may have an extended crop.

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • sr-Sherman-Alexie.jpg Native wit

    Sherman Alexie Jr., self-professed “res” American Indian, dislikes casinos, mascots and Oklahoma for stealing his favorite basketball team.
    Northeastern State University welcomed the celebrated poet, writer and filmmaker to campus Wednesday, and the audience was treated to 90 minutes of witty and unblinking observation from the perspective of an American Indian all-too-familiar with life on a reservation.
    Alexie, named one of the 21st Century’s top 20 writers by The New Yorker, delivered what was essentially a standup monologue to a packed house in the auditorium of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center. Some of Alexie’s best-known works are “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” a book of short stories, and the film “Smoke Signals.”

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • rock-jodi.jpg Woman serving time for burning baby seeks judicial review

    A Cherokee County mother sentenced to 17 years in prison for burning her 14-month-old baby with an iron is asking for a judicial review.
    Court records show Jodi Leann Rock, 21, requested a copy of her judgment and sentence, and this week filed an application for a judicial review. Copies of her request have been submitted to a judge and the District Attorney’s Office.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-SchoolCharter.jpg Concerns expressed as SB 573 awaits House vote

    With an Oklahoma Senate bill now awaiting a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, some parents are voicing concerns about the futures of rural K-8 schools in Cherokee County.
    Senate Bill 573 calls for a commission to establish charter schools throughout the state. A charter school receives taxpayer funding, but functions independently. They can be founded by an array of interests, including teachers, parents, universities and nonprofits. In Oklahoma, tribal entities can establish charter schools.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man gets suspended sentence for possession

    A 37-year-old Webbers Falls man has been given a suspended sentence on drug-possession charges.
    Dusty Kayl Skaggs was charged with endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine earlier this year after he and 43-year-old Misty Hayes Paden, of Muskogee, were arrested during execution of a search warrant.

    April 24, 2014

  • sr-NSU-Earth-day.jpg NSU students observe Earth Day

    Students and members of the community converged on Northeastern State University’s Second Century Square on Tuesday to spend an afternoon celebrating Earth Day.
    The event featured tables sponsored by campus organizations, prizes and music by Chris Espinoza. NSU’s Earth Day theme was “Gather Here. Go Green,” and was organized by the Committee for Sustainability and the Northeastern Student Government Association (NSGA).

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-smallholders-courtesy.jpg Rural smallholders host annual show

    More and more, many people are showing growing interest in learning the sources of their food, including meat. As such, interest in farm-to-table living is increasing.
    Saturday, the Rural Smallholders Association held its annual spring show at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, promoting the farming of sheep and goats, along with giving the general public a sample of their products.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • pitts-hurley.jpg Wanted man nabbed during traffic stop

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a wanted man this week after a traffic stop near South Muskogee and Willis Road.
    Hurley D. Pitts, 40, was being sought by authorities on a motion to revoke a previous sentence.
    Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrick Snyder said he stopped a car after it ran off the road a couple of times. A woman was behind the wheel, and Pitts was sitting in the passenger seat.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-Wikafile.jpg Communiversity Band performs Sunday

    Musicians from on and off the Northeastern State University campus have made their final preparations for an upcoming performance of the NSU Communiversity Band.
    The ensemble performs Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m., in the NSU Center for the Performing Arts. The conductor is Dr. Norman Wika, associate professor of music and band program director. Guest conductor is student Kameron Parmain. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
    “Everything has come together very well this semester,” Wika said.
    “We have about 40 musicians, and everyone who started the rehearsals has stuck with it. This could be the best Community Band concert yet.”

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council concerned over reports of land contamination

    Negotiations involving the purchase of nearly 20 homes on 7 acres of land near Basin Avenue hit a snag Monday night when concerns surfaced over potential contamination of the area.
    Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols had proposed the city purchase the homes and duplexes as a large step in a greenbelt project, which would establish a solid park and trail system from the downtown area to the site of the city’s old solid waste transfer station.
    Until Monday, details of the negotiations had been mostly discussed behind closed doors, though Nichols confirmed the list price for the property to be $480,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Council tables cell tower permit apps

    Tahlequah city councilors on Monday opted to hold off on approval of two special-use permit applications that would help AT&T install a couple of 150-foot cell towers within the city.
    Branch Communications is asking for the permits as it attempts to construct two monopole cell towers – one on Commercial Road near Green Country Funeral Home, and another at the Tahlequah Public Schools bus barn on Pendleton Street. Other towers are being built outside of the city limits.
    Members of the city’s planning and zoning board gave their OK for both permits last month.

    April 23, 2014

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Stocks