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in the Making 100 Years


Payne County Expo Center celebrates milestone


Left: The Farm Women’s Club showcases a canning exhibit. Right: 1935 exhibit features dresses made by ladies’ home extension clubs (front). Photos courtesy of Payne County Expo Center


By Alexis Mellons F


or the Payne County Expo Center, August 2014 marks an important month in history. One hundred years ago, the expo center held its fi rst county free fair, and this year, it’s bringing in new attractions to celebrate. One of the leaders of the Centennial is the expo center’s market- ing director, Calvin Oyster. A member of Central Rural Electric Cooperative, Oyster took the position a little over a year ago, after a decade of serving on the fair’s board. “Working on these projects has been fun, exciting and rewarding,” Oyster says. Thanks to the work the expo center has put into this project, the Centennial, which will be held from


Aug. 27-30, should be an event of good music, tasty food and interesting history. When it began in 1914, the Payne County Free Fair was held in Stillwater’s downtown area, and soon


after, it moved to Couch Park, located in the south of Stillwater. In 1971, new facilities were constructed in the fair’s present location, allowing for more space, future growth and additional exhibits. Though the fair still features many of the same exhibits it did decades ago—including canning exhibits and those of clothing made by ladies’ home extension clubs—new attractions have been added, such as the amuse- ment carnival and the goat, sheep, rabbit and chicken exhibits.


Something special


For its centennial celebration, the Payne County Expo Center is taking on extra projects, adding even more fun attractions with Oklahoma’s history in mind. Local vendors will be selling items such as leather crafts, native artwork and handmade furniture. A stagecoach shuttle from this area will take fair-goers to the main fairgrounds, where one can fi nd the carnival and more booths and vendors. The free fair will host an old-time tractor parade, which will be highlighted by an exhibit of antique farm equipment. A functioning antique steam engine will also be on display. Another exciting addition to the Payne County Free Fair will be a woodcarving show, which will take place Thursday through Saturday. Nick Jensen, the wood carver himself, uses a chainsaw to carve images into large pieces of wood. Guests will have a chance to buy artwork created during his show. The Payne County Fair will host exciting events every day this year, but Saturday has a few special events in store. While many vendors will offer fair food favorites, one attraction will offer another fa- vorite—chuck wagon and Dutch oven meals. These two groups will host a dinner on Saturday in the early evening. A $10 ticket buys a plate to fi ll with samples from every table. The Centennial’s biggest event will be the Cimarron Cow Camp and Poetry Gathering, a free concert on Saturday featuring artists including Red Steagall, Yvonne Hollenbeck and Jason Savory, a native of the area.


18 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


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