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Posts tagged ‘State Fair of Oklahoma’

Weekend Fun by Mae

My weekends can go one of three ways.  Some weekends are dull as a rock, sitting on my butt watching cat videos for two days straight.  Other weeks I am a busy bee, running around over fifty miles or more away from home.  Then there’s the weekends I spend doing one of the above with Bubbles.  Considering that, it is no surprise that I have been to many of the recent events going on in our state. This includes; Septemberfest in Oklahoma City, OU vs Tulsa football game in Norman, and of course, the State Fair of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.  They were all super fun in their own unique way, making me more than happy to go again next year.

Septemberfest

In 2007 I went to Septemberfest for the first time.  It was a different kind of experience that I had no intention of forgetting. There was a lot of excitement in the air as I rode the tractor train with other kids my age.  I walked along in front of the Governor’s Mansion, stopping to pet the Governor Brad Henry’s huge dog.  There was free stuff everywhere, and craft tables inside the Oklahoma History Museum.  The only part I didn’t like was the civil war cannon with a blast that shook the ground.  (They could have told me what they were doing!!!)  But even this wasn’t going to ruin my fun.  I went again this year, this time with my friend Bubbles. Just when I expected everything to be the same, Bubbles asked, ” What’s with the fence?”  I looked up to see that nothing was around the Governor’s Mansion.  As it turns out the festivities were moved across NW 23rd Street to the parking lot of the Oklahoma History Center.  They had a petting zoo, where I held a baby duck, pet a donkey, and touched a horses nose. Bubbles had a good time too, as me and her talked to and pet the fur-bearing creatures.  We wandered over to the food company area, getting free samples such as chocolate milk and beef sticks (Which are awesome!!!).  We went into the Oklahoma History Center to try some of the craft stuff, where we made a deer out of cups, and raccoon puppets out of paper bags.  When we were done in there, we went back out the parking lot to the Shape Your Future challenge table. Bubbles decided not to do the challenges, but I dominated them.  We stopped to get some Kona Ice before we left.

The bathrooms were in the Oklahoma History Center, they were clean.  My bathroom review for Septemberfest is five toilets.

riding barrel train

Mae riding in the barrel train at Septemberfest in 2007.

OU vs.Tulsa

I started playing the clarinet for my school band in sixth grade, and ever since then I have wanted to be in the Pride Of Oklahoma at The University of Oklahoma.  So when we got the opportunity to go to the OU vs.Tulsa game in Norman, I jumped to it because I wanted to hear the Pride in person.  Before the game the Pride parades around campus, then gives a brief concert.  There’s nothing better than hearing “Boomer Sooner” being played by over 300 musicians.  Over at the stadium me and my mom found our seats in the south end zone after we stopped and got some lunch.  The hot dogs, also known as Ballpark Dogs or Stadium Dogs, are and always have been the crowning jewel of an OU game.  The Super Pretzels aren’t bad either, despite being extremely salty.  OU scored the first touchdown, and even if we did win, I still think the Tulsa players where slipping fifties to the refs for some of those plays.  Both bands did an amazing job.  For such a small band Tulsa did a very good job.  The game itself was an experience in its own right, and the atmosphere was one of excitement and pride.  I am truly excited to be a part of the Sooner Nation.

I used not one but two bathrooms while I was on campus, the library bathroom and the south end zone stadium bathroom.  The library bathroom was in the newer section but still kind of small.  The bathroom in the south end zone was clean and smelled nice, even being used by so many people.  My rating for both bathrooms is five toilets.

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The Pride of Oklahoma on Owen Field, 2015.

State Fair

I have been going to the fair every year since I was just a few months old.  My parents like to go when the crowds are low, so this year we went on a rainy Sunday morning. The rides weren’t operating because of the lightning, but everything else was open.  I had deep-fried cookie dough for breakfast, which is my new favorite thing.  It is crispy on the outside, but warm and gooey on the inside.  Most of the buildings had fun stuff inside them.  We went into the livestock barns, where a sheep scared me (sorry, I’m a city girl).  We also watched the cows in the show ring and saw the new babies born to the goats and pigs.

I did use the bathroom in the animal barn, it only rates three toilets.  It’s big but was dirty and smelled bad.

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Cute sheep at the fair, 2015.

Mae

The (Used to Be) Great State Fair of Oklahoma

OKC from space needle 3

View from the Space Tower in 2006, at the time I didn’t realize how much of this history would be gone.  You can see the Grandstand in blue on the left, the old Travel and Transportation Building and Clock Tower in the middle, and the B-52 on the right.

Every fall in Oklahoma means that not only has football season started but that it will be fair time in Oklahoma City.  I used to love going to the fair, it was like going to a special playground once a year with lights and food.  As I got older I loved going to see those old landmarks that brought back great memories, riding the monorail and the space needle.  Now almost everything is gone; the monorail, the grandstands, several buildings, the waterfall in the flower building, and even though it’s still there, the space tower sits empty and broken.

Let’s start at the beginning, the first “fair” in Oklahoma City was in 1889 a few months after the land run.  A small group of residents, with the names of Charles Jones, Ed Overholser, H. G. Trosper, and D. F. Stiles, organized the first Oklahoma Territorial Fair.  They bought some land on the northeast corner of Santa Fe and Reno Avenues, then built some buildings, such as a racetrack.  This fair was successful for a few years until the economy started to fail and the population dropped, so it was discontinued in 1894.

Every once in a while for the next few years there would be various street fairs but nothing like an official fair with a designated time and location.  This changed in January of 1907 when Jones along with Charles Colcord organized a state fair association.  A new location was chosen for the fairgrounds at the southeast corner of Eastern Avenue and NE 10th Street.  The first fair was held on October 5th of 1907, just a month before statehood.  There were of course the usual farming and agriculture exhibits, carnival attractions, but the biggest draw was the horse racing on a half-mile track.  Even though the racing stopped in 1913 when the state legislature banned it, there was still plenty to do such as watch car races, ride hot air balloons, or enjoy an air show.  Of course there were lean times during the great depression but the fair still went on.  There was talk of moving the fairgrounds, the location was too small, not enough parking, and at times problems with flooding.

OKC from space needle

Another view from the Space Tower in 2006, on the left near the bottom of the pic is the old Goodholm Mansion and behind that the Flowers and Garden Building.

These issues were finally addressed in 1951 when the city acquired land between Reno Avenue and NW 10th Street west of May Avenue, which had been the old Sandlot Baseball Park.  The new location hosted its first fair on September 25, 1954.  This is when the grandstands were built with an oval racing track and just south, a drag strip which hosted the National Championship Drag Races in 1957-1958.   Many other buildings were built around this same time such as the 4-H and FFA buildings, the Made in Oklahoma Building, Women’s and General Exhibits Building (now known as Modern Living and Creative Arts Building), Appliance Building (now known as the Kitchen’s of America or Centennial Building), and some of the agriculture barns.  In 1964 the monorail makes its first trip around the fairgrounds and a year later the State Fair Arena (also known now as Jim Norick Arena or “the big house”).  1968 is the first trip into the air on the Arrows to Atoms Space Tower with the Travel and Transportation building to follow the next year after being built around Santa Fe engine #643.    In 1977 the Clock Tower is built from an old oil derrick, in 1978, the Flowers and Gardens Building opens with its waterfall over the doors.  The Goodholm Mansion is moved to the grounds in 1979 after being saved from the wrecking ball.  In 1984 is when we got the big “balloon top” building called the International Trade Center, leaving us all to go in through doors that helped regulate the pressure inside and make our ears pop.

Fair Train 2

Santa Fe steam engine #643 sitting in the courtyard of the Travel and Transportation Building in 2004.  It was built in 1879, given to Oklahoma City and placed at the fairgrounds in the 1950’s.  It is currently being cleaned by volunteers at the Oklahoma Railway Museum.

So many of these landmarks are now gone- the B-52 is gone, the big slide is as well, the log plaza has disappeared.  Some have been saved and moved, the planes are all over the country, the Goodholm Mansion is out near Choctaw, and just this summer the Oklahoma Railway Museum got the old steam train.  Even the cow barns smell fresh instead of like cow poo mixed with hay.  You can still get a good corn dog or cotton candy, but so many of the foods have just gotten wilder just to see what you can deep fry next.  So I still pay to go to the fair, it’s just not a fun as it once was, back when it really was a Great State Fair.

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Even this cool old Dr Pepper sign on the back of the Made in Oklahoma Building is gone, 2011.

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