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Organizers hope for good turnout at annual Heritage Day event

Kevin Farr,
The Bryan County News
The annual Heritage Day parade will roll through the streets of downtown Caddo on Oct. 3.

During the last several months, the Caddo Community Association was wondering whether the deck was stacked against it in its quest to see the town’s annual Heritage Day event come to fruition for the 36th time.

First, the current coronavirus pandemic left plenty of uncertainty. Then, a late-summer storm caused the front wall of the town’s Indian Territory Museum to crumble onto the sidewalk below.

“We were going to cancel it, but heard from a lot of people that didn’t want us to do that,” said Community Association President Jennifer Wilcox.

“Then we were going to move it to a different location, but decided about a month ago to bring it back as normal as we can possibly make it. Even the city council was OK with it.”

Association members soon came up with an alternative plan for the event, which could be modified should the downtown area not be secured for regular activities following the building accident.

The city of Caddo was able to quickly hire a contractor who was able to stabilize the museum building and deem the area safe.

Now, the revised version of the traditional, full-day festival is set to take place Oct. 3 in the Caddo downtown area with an apropos theme of “A Year Like No Other.”

A scarecrow contest will begin the activities on Friday. Entries must be delivered to Buffalo Street near Craighead’s between 3-5 p.m. that day for judging.

There is no entry fee for the contest and judging will be based on authenticity, color and creativity.

First prize will be $25, with second claiming $15 and third $10. First-place school groups for elementary, junior high and high school will receive a pizza party. For more information, contact Vesta Baker at 580-367-0358.

Buffalo Street will also close to through traffic Saturday morning for the annual parade, with vendors scheduled to begin setting up on the street between 8-9 a.m. Anyone wishing to set up a booth should contact Wilcox at 580-634-1456.

The parade will begin at the school at 10 a.m. Entrants should register with parade officials by 9 a.m. to secure their place in line.

The Community Association is urging school classes, churches or any other group to build floats to enter in the parade, with prizes scheduled to be awarded to the winners.

Entries should showcase families and friends working and playing together, traveling or learning to help promote and celebrate the good things still happening in 2020.

Following the parade, other activities are on tap including live entertainment until 2 p.m. Vendors and food trucks will be open throughout the day and a cornhole tournament will take place in the vacant lot across from City Hall with a bingo tent set up on the street.

Bounces houses, dunk tanks and free games for all ages will be available. A limited number of t-shirts will be sold, and there will be a children’s art show as well as a number of other activities.

The evening finale will feature a performance by the band Last Call during a street dance downtown from 8-11 p.m.

“We are going to try to make it work,” Wilcox commented. “I don’t know how well it will go. Everything is outside and wearing of masks is recommended. We don’t have as many entertainers as usual and vendors will be spaced out more than normal.

“We want everyone to be aware of what we are trying to do and be cautious. We don’t know if it will be a flop or bigger than ever since a lot of other family activities are being canceled. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

A performance group show off its moves during the 2019 Caddo Heritage Day event. This year's festivities will feature different twists in the wake of restrictions related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.