Madysen Ishmael tries on a cowboy hat while her father Todd looks on at the Cookson Jubilee on Saturday.

The rain seemed to take a break for the Cookson Jubilee Saturday as vendors were setting up their booths and awaiting the arrival of the afternoon’s crowd.

Sound engineers were setting the stage for an evening of top-notch entertainment, and the smell of cooking food was beginning to waft over the festival grounds.

Once again, the Tenkiller Area Community Organization is hosting the annual event, now in its 32nd year.

According to event organizers Jubilee brings Cookson to life with family activities, food, fun and live entertainment all weekend long.

On Friday evening, the Jubilee kicked off with a showcase of all-local talent and on Saturday, the stage was being set for another day of great entertainment, culminating with the evening’s headliner Oklahoma native and Nashville recording artist Jason Meadows.

Tahlequah resident and first-timer to the Jubilee, Lorna Gibbs, brought her family early to check out the festivities.

“So far so good,” sad Gibbs. “It’s a nice day to be outside – and its not raining!”

Gibbs said that though she has lived in Tahlequah for years, this is the first year she and her family have made it to the jubilee.

“We’ve always seen the signs, but have never had the opportunity to come,” said Gibbs. “We were driving by this year and thought ‘now is our chance.’”

Another pair of first-timers to the Jubilee were Bob and Linda Abell – although they weren’t just first-time attendees, but vendors as well.

The Abells are recent additions to the state of Oklahoma, migrating from West Virginia to Sallisaw. In West Virginia, the couple would take their business, Accessory Corral, to festivals there, and wanted to continue after arriving in Oklahoma.

“This is our first year here [at the Cookson Jubilee],” said Linda Abell. “It is very well organized and they do a fine job.”

The Jubilee is actually the Abells’ third festival in the state, but so far, it is their favorite as well.

“We’ve been to three festivals in Oklahoma, but this one is the best,” said Linda. “They’ve really bent over backward to make sure we’re OK – they’ve been very accommodating.”

But the Abells weren’t alone at the Jubilee.

A walk around the Jubilee would find clothing and accessories, jewelry, arts and crafts, and a slew of other items catering to the festival shopper (and that’s not counting the places hamburgers, barbecue, cold drinks and other treats scattered around the grounds!).

For the younger crowd, pony and train rides seemed to be the hit of the day, although there were plenty of airbrushed tattoos and face painters to entertain the youngsters as well.

As for the Abells, the couple is already planning a return trip.

“We are really enjoying it,” said Linda. “We’ll definitely be back next year.”

Contact Garron Marsh at gmarsh@tahlequahdailypress.com.

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