OKEMAH, Okla. – The annual Pioneer Day Festival is scheduled for April 26-29, with events held throughout the week prior to the weekend. A carnival will open on Wednesday at 5 p.m.and will remain open through Sunday.
The City of Okemah, the Okemah Chamber of Commerce, Okemah Main Street, and Okemah Community Improvement Association sponsor and host the event.
Okemah Chamber of Commerce is calling all local and tribal vendors, food trucks, and even information booths to get their spot on the Main Street celebration. Looking to fill 60 vendors, the chamber is seeking to fill spots with Native American artwork and crafts as tourists and visitors come to shop.
Vendors must obtain an Oklahoma temporary sales-tax license to be able to sell items.
The event will begin on Friday night starting at 8 p.m., a dancing event will be held in the middle of Main Street and will last until midnight. Vendors will be able set up during the day, and start selling merchandise.
Ages newborn to 18 can compete in the natural pageant for $50, or the glitzy pageant for $75. A male and female winner will be announced for each age group. The competition will be held at the Okemah Middle School gym. The pageant will be held on April 22 so that winners can ride in the parade on Saturday.
Saturday morning will kick off with the 5K run at 8:00 a.m. sharp.
The Netflix-themed parade will include a carshow with trophies and awards given to participants who compete and pay the registration fee of $25.
Floats will follow in behind the cars and royalty with a cash prize of $300 for the winner. No registration is required for the float. According to Okemah Chamber of Commerce Director Shannon Speir, participants can fall in the lineup starting at 1 p.m. The parade will travel down Main Street.
Speir said the weekend event attracted over 10,000 people last year with more expected to come this year.
Pioneer Day honors the rich history of Okemah. Although it’s called Pioneer Day, the quaint town is tied to Native American ancestry. It was once allotted to full-blood Creek Nocus Fixico prior to statehood, who declared Okemah a city and chair of the county.
The small town houses Thlopthlocco Tribal Town along with a high number of Native American residents in town and surrounding areas.
The event is highly attended by those living on the Muscogee Reservation.
After her upbringing in Okemah, Speir moved to Dallas but longed to return home. Years later, she did just that.
“It doesn’t look much different but I think that’s what I love about it,” she said.
Speir describes the town as if it were caught in a time capsule that houses decade-old memories and keepsakes that give her a feeling of nostalgia.
Being a part of the chamber and various city organizations allows her to give visitors from large cities a welcome to her hometown.
Speir, along with the organizations are working to build and beautify Okemah, hoping to generate more profit for the town and business owners.
Every other Friday food trucks come into town and stop for lunch.
The business fronts along Main Street are ready to house businesses. Being so close to major Interstate 40, Speir believes it’s a great location.
Speir is seeking a possible partnership with the nation to house start ups along the Main Street Business District. She is also seeking more opportunities to work with Muscogee (Creek) Nationin all areas.
The MCN is funding over $10 million towards the $22 million Okemah City Water Project.
There is no admission to attend the Pioneer Day Festival. For more information, visit the Okemah Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, or call 918-600-2023.