CLAREMORE - On Saturday, Nov. 4, at 10 a.m., members of the Indian Women's Pocahontas Club will gather on the steps of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore to acknowledge Will Rogers' 138th birthday, as well as open a day of family activities including a parade, birthday party and "Hats Off to Will" gala at Will Rogers Downs.
Club members, some dressed in colorful, traditional Cherokee tear dresses and wearing the signature hat of Will's wife Betty Rogers, will have baskets of fall foliage and a memorial wreath so they may leave their floral gift at the feet of the famous Jo Davidson statue of Rogers in the east museum foyer.
The cadence of a Native American drum will accompany the procession onto the memorial's east veranda which overlooks the city of Claremore and the greater Tiawah Valley where club members will then place a wreath at Rogers' tomb.
"We are, indeed, honored to carry on this tradition and be a part of the annual celebration of Will's life," said Ollie Starr, club spokesperson.
Members of the Pocahontas Club met and passed a resolution to always honor him on his birthday with "a basket of fall foliage" 14 days after his death in a tragic plane crash in Alaska.
"The ceremony on the whole is quiet dignified and reverent, showing the love and honor which the Pocahontas Club has always bestowed on our beloved member," Starr said.
William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers, Nov. 4, 1879-Aug. 15, 1935, was a Cherokee by blood, an accomplished stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, American cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator. Rogers County is named after his father, Clem Vann Rogers.
Following the wreath laying ceremony, local residents and visitors, alike, are encouraged to watch the 11 a.m. parade which starts at the Claremore Expo Center and travels west along the Boulevard through historic downtown, ending near Gazebo Park and the Claremore Historical Museum. Afterwards, the public is invited to stay as the Claremore Chamber of Commerce and Claremore Main Street host a noon birthday party, complete with birthday cake, on the grounds of the museum.
Doors for the "Hats Off to Will" gala will open at 4 p.m. for a reception, followed by dinner and entertainment beginning at 5 p.m. This is a ticketed event. Rogers family members will be honored during the evening program and entertainment will be provided by Will Roberts, a speaker, humorist, trick roper, and host of the "Will Roberts Weekly Telegram" radio show; nationally-acclaimed, award-winning Cherokee fiddler Regina Scott; and Miss Junior Red Fern Katelyn Meyers, a 12-year-old singer and musician from Tahlequah.
Gala tickets are $50 per seat, and table sponsorships are $600 for 8 seats. Contact Starr at 918-760-7499 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the club website at www.IndianWPClub.org and click on the "donate" button to purchase by credit card.