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7 9 5


JULY Porter Peach Festival The third weekend of July, the population of


Porter, Okla., grows from 600 to 20,000 for the Porter Peach Festival. The town—which doesn’t even have a stoplight—is well known because of the sweet, juicy peaches produced locally. “Years ago we had eight or ten peach orchards here. The Lion’s Club decided we needed to celebrate this being a peach area,” says Roy Essary, a


Lake Region Electric Cooperative member who served as the festival chair for more than 20 years. “It’s a country festival in a small town that has grown immensely over the years.” The peaches served at the festival are all local, many of them coming from Livesay Orchards, the largest peach orchard in the state. Peach lovers can partake of free peaches and ice cream, courtesy of the Lion’s Club. A peach auction and a peach des- sert contest add to the weekend’s fruit-themed fun. The 50th annual Peach Festival will take place


July 14-16 in downtown Porter. With arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, a tractor pull, a mud bog, a rodeo, a 5k run, an antique car show, live music, and a carnival, there’s something for every- one to enjoy.


8 6 9 7


AUGUST


Rush Springs Watermelon Festival


Beat the August heat with a cool slice of watermelon in Rush Springs, Okla. The annual watermelon festival draws a crowd of 25,000 to the small community. The festival, which is put on by the Lion’s Club, began as a way to support local farmers and celebrate the area’s watermel- on crop. “The festival started in the 1940s. There


were a couple years during the war they didn’t have it. This year will be its 72nd year,” says Kim Duke, a festival volunteer and Rural Electric Cooperative member. “A lot of people come because it’s been around so long. They enjoy the small town atmosphere and the back-home feel,” she says. In addition to a carnival, a number of watermelon-themed activities are part of the celebration. A parade with festive fl oats takes place on Friday evening. On Saturday, there’s a seed-spitting contest, a watermelon 5k, and a watermelon exhib- it. A prize goes to the largest melon, which often weighs more than 100 pounds. Perhaps the most popular attrac- tion is the watermelon feed. Slices of fresh, juicy melon cost just $1; after 4 p.m. they are free until they run out. The 2016 Watermelon Festival will take place Aug. 13 at Jeff Davis Park in Rush Springs.


9


SEPTEMBER State Fair


There are the animals, the rides, and contests to enter—but for many, it’s the food that draws them to the state fair year after year. From the numerous choices on a stick to deep-fried


everything, the fair is, perhaps, the ultimate food-lover’s festival. N ortheast


Oklahoma Electric Cooperative member Novell Wilson’s favorite stop is the Amish wagon. Among other home-cooked favorites, they serve a roast beef ‘sundae’ with a base of mashed potatoes, smothered with roast beef gra- vy, sprinkled with cheese and topped off with a cherry tomato. Her husband Mike Wilson and their


granddaughter Zoey Highberger get a turkey leg every year—always from the same vendor. “The food is very important to the fair experi- ence,” Novell Wilson says. “Mike goes just so he can eat.” The state fair offers something for every palate, from traditional favorites like corn dogs and fried cheese curds to new offerings including red velvet funnel cakes and deep-fried, choco- late-covered bacon on a stick. The 2016 Oklahoma State Fair will take place Sept. 15-25 at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. The Tulsa State Fair is scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 9, 2016, at Expo Square in Tulsa.


NOVEMBER 2015 15


NEOEC member, Novell Wilson, with her grandkids. Photo by Laura Araujo


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