Nearly 140 retail vendors musicians, food vendors, thespians, runners and cultural performers took to Durant, Oklahoma for the final day of the city's 23rd Annual Magnolia Festival Saturday.
The three-day festival, held on the grounds of the Choctaw Events Center, kicked off Thursday and welcomed several thousand attendees in its run, according to event organizers with the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce. Features of this year's festival included an art gallery, turtle races, the Choctaw Nation Princess Pageant and an antique tractor show.
“It's very family friendly, very community friendly and that's something we've always tried to push for with this festival,” Durant Area Chamber of Commerce Manager Katie Quinn said.
Among this year's newest offerings was the Chamber's Adopt-a-Magnolia Program, rolled out in an effort to help local residents beautify neighborhoods for free.
“Durant is the city of Magnolias and we're trying to replenish those trees here after several of them have died due to weather and other circumstances,” Quinn said. “We had 100 magnolia trees and we've adopted them out already. They were gone by Friday morning. That was exciting to see and we're excited to 'plant Durant,' as they like to say around town.”
Vicki Davis-Coplin and Mary Nix, founders of Blacktop and Backroads Creations, attended the Magnolia Festival for the second time this year. Nix said as she and her business partner are preparing to sell their their brick-and-mortar store in Bonham and are they're planning to take their business on the road. They said they are keeping an eye out for events like the Magnolia Festival.
“It give us an opportunity to make a little money and do a little business in our backyard,” Nix said. “We often travel up to Oklahoma City and down to Fort Worth for larger shows, so to have a decent-size festival like this, makes it a good opportunity for us.”
Quinn expressed her thanks to the festival's partners and sponsors and said she felt the annual event was an important celebration of the community. Vendors packed up and headed for home as the day winded down, but Quinn said the crowd favorite carnival rides would stay open late and give festival goers one last bit of fun until next year.
“They'll go late into the night,” Quinn said.
Drew Smith is a reporter for the Herald Democrat. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.