Ponca City Main Street has followed up a banner year in which it garnered the 2018 Outstanding Community of the Year award with continued efforts resulting in numerous nominations for 2019.
One of the more prestigious nominations is for “Premier Special Event” award for Main Street’s 125th Birthday Celebration for Ponca City held on September 14, 2018.
According to Chelsea McConnell, Executive Director for Main Street, the genesis of the event was a suggestion from Mayor Homer Nicholson. Main Street personnel jumped on the idea, and myriad volunteers lent their efforts to making the celebration a huge success.
McConnell said the event was meant to attract the community at-large, and the evening had a feeling of inclusion and attracted many citizens from a broader socio-economic spectrum than normally attend their First Friday events.
The emcee for the evening was one of the community’s founding fathers, E.W. Marland, portrayed by local reenactor Rob Bodick, manager of a downtown business. The community was also welcomed by the Mayor, with a Ponca City police officers presentation of colors followed by the performances of both the national anthem and state song “Oklahoma.”
To showcase Ponca City’s strong Native American heritage, local local men from the Osage Tribe performed a drum circle while a group of Osage children danced. Later, a local band played for the crowd while attendees were treated to hot dogs, chips, cupcakes and drinks, all free of charge.
A table of historical items was set up at the event to share information about the community’s heritage, and at dusk, the band finished playing and the musical “Oklahoma” was shown on an inflatable big screen.
Around 500 people attended the first-time event.
Main Street Board President Rhonda Skrapke said events such as the birthday celebration require time to plan and coordinate from many entities which include City of Ponca City departments, local volunteers and generous sponsors who believe in the community.
Main Street organization Committee Chair Terron Miles, who is nominated for “Main Street Hero” for the 2019 state awards, also spearheaded the birthday celebration as the Chair for the event.