BY DAVID PERRYMAN
GRADY COUNTY —
Oklahomans have a gift for capitalizing on who they are, where they are from and what they can do. The residents of cities and towns located in Oklahoma House District 56, stretching across Kiowa, Caddo and Grady counties, are no exception.
Everyone enjoys a celebration and Oklahoma festivals are excellent examples of the creative synergy that occurs when community minded citizens combine their past and their present and look toward their future. The knack of using a town’s historical identity to find its current niché is what makes rural Oklahoma great.
On the First of December, my family and I attended the 21st annual Minco Honey Festival and a good time was had by all. Minco’s Honey Festival is a prime example of a community pulling together and delivering a refreshing dose of neighborly hospitality. Nearly every church in the community participated in serving meals. The old armory was transformed into an arts and crafts bazaar, second to none.
Stores on Main Street were open for business and provided an opportunity for visitors to shop for that special, unique Christmas gift. Exhibits, tours and events showcasing what the town has to offer were scheduled throughout the day. A Quilt show, kiddie tractor pull, Cotton Gin and Wind Tower tours added something for everyone, including the apiary enthusiasts who were treated to tours of Oklahoma’s largest honey plant. The day culminated in a tour of homes. It was a special day for swarms of visitors who gladly injected thousands of dollars into the local economy. It also provided an opportunity for local residents to continue the trend of “shopping locally” as I urged a few weeks ago.
Fortunately, what Minco has done for more than two decades is not unusual in rural Oklahoma. Yes, Minco’s bee farm and the community’s self-description as “the Land of Milk and Honey” is certainly unique and creative. But I have witnessed first-hand the creative genius and civic pride in other towns, too.
We attended the Fort Cobb Fall Festival and enjoyed the musical entertainment provided by the elementary students and teachers of the Fort Cobb-Broxton Public Schools; the Gotebo Get-Down and Parade; the Binger Fair and later the Binger Rodeo. We played dominos in the Carnegie World Championships (a tournament won twice by my Uncle Ed Horton) and later adored the Cannas there and rode in the parade. We ate hotdogs in Mountain View in Shamrock Park cooked by the EMS and watched benefit softball games there and attended the most genuine country fair that I have ever seen.
Of course Anadarko and Chickasha capitalize on their historical roots. We were fortunate to attend the American Indian Expo, the Kiowa Black Leggings Society and the Wichita Tribal Dances and the Mo Betta Stampede in Caddo County and the Rock Island Arts Festival, the Corn Maize and the Chickasha Antique Auto Club Swap Meet in Grady County.
Often, festive-like gatherings in smaller communities come in the form of volunteer fire department fund raisers, so whether you enjoy calf fries at Saddle Mountain, brisket at Sedan, chili at Cogar, hamburgers at Minco, ice cream at Harold or Pioneer, catfish at Crow Roost or wild game at Oney, you can count on food with friends, neighbors and good people who are always giving of themselves to make their communities better.
So from Roosevelt to Gracemont to Amber and all the settlements in between, I have seen community pride overcome economic hardship. No, there is no single town called
Unique, Oklahoma (if there was it would have the zip code 73091), but as I travel across District 56, I see that each city and town is uniquely situated, each has a history and a cultural identity to be proud of and to expand upon. Given half a chance, they will…for the Common Good.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve you as your State Representative. If there is ever anything that I can do to assist you, please call me at 405-557-7401 or email me at David.Perryman@okhouse.gov. I look forward to seeing you soon.