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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Fiesta Oklahoma enjoys continued growth

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  • Fiesta Oklahoma maintained its steady ascension as one of Ardmore's premier events this past weekend as visitors from the area and out of state joined locals in making downtown a destination point.
    Event organizers said this year's event was the most successful in its three-year history, as new events like the 5K race and a Shriners parade helped bolster an already successful event.
    "It was very successful," said Julie Patterson, Ardmore Main Street Authority executive director. "We had a huge crowd early on between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., it was a record crowd.
    "We've had so many calls and comments about what a great event it is for Ardmore. It brings so many different people; there is something for all ages."
    The weekend was destined to be successful with state college football teams enjoying a bye week. And the weather cooperated, practically begging people to get out and make a day of it.
    "The weather was beautiful and you couldn't have asked for better weather," Patterson said.
    The 5K was estimated to have drawn more than 100 people in its first year, and the Shriners, which conducted the barbecue cook-off, also added the parade. And as always, the kids section was a huge draw in addition to the entertainment.
    Jeff DiMiceli serves as the events coordinator for the authority and was responsible for organizing the live entertainment, which included bluegrass, mariachi, a Herb Albert tribute band and blues.
    "This is a multi-cultural event, and we wanted to bring in all types of entertainment," Patterson said. "Jeff researched all kinds of entertainment."
    "Miss Blues was a favorite. She performed in Ardmore during the 1940s and '50s, and there were people that came that had seen her back then. She really connected with the crowd."
    Patterson said the event also provided a boost to downtown businesses, several of which had booths and were able their products.
    Patterson credited Jinny Lang Blankenship for her efforts in organizing the event as chairman, in addition to sponsors and volunteers.
    "There is no way this would be possible without the generosity of sponsors and the efforts of volunteers," Patterson said. "We are so thankful for the people in the community that came out to help.
    "This was only the third year, and it has grown tremendously. An event like this is just going to help Ardmore become a destination city."
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