Buffalo Oklahoma Centennial Celebration a Smashing Success
Submitted by J.J. Struther to our Brag Basket
I was an innocent victim of a marketing campaign.
My son came home from school last month with a couple of very professionally designed, full-color brochures in one hand while waving a nifty red wrist band in the other, excitedly trying to explain that he was picked by his teacher to go for a whole day and ride a bunch of inflatable rides in nearby Buffalo Oklahoma for FREE! “For FREE Dad”, he gleefully stated, on the 4th of July. “No way”, I responded. “Yeh dad, really”, he yelled back.
I had to check it out. Why not? It was, after all, free.
With a population of only 1,200 spirited residents, little Buffalo, located on the Eastern-most edge of the Oklahoma Panhandle, hosted a Centennial Celebration rivaling large cities across the state.
The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce organized a day-long event beginning with a softball tournament and ending with a big-bang fireworks show.
I’m told that Chamber secretary, A.M. Thompson led the organizing effort. A number of volunteers, the local fire department and a throng of community business sponsors worked together to provide a free barbecue dinner held in the town’s aptly named: “Celebration Park” come evening.
The event was so well organized and fast-paced it was hard to believe the day was concluding, but the look of fatigue on my son’s face told me it was almost over.
We were greeted by a boy offering us a plastic bookmark emblazoned with a picture of fireworks, a neat buffalo and the words: Buffalo Centennial 1907-2007. What an odd but unforgettable gift I thought. I turned it over and a program was printed on the reverse of this practically indestructible plastic bookmark. It made perfect sense. It was a very practical welcome to the celebration.
After watching my 6 year-old climb and ride down a 3-story inflatable slide about 40 times, hover in a parachute drop ride nearly 20 times, bounce around a balloon typhoon, try every carnival game known to mankind (and winning at many of them), running around a tremendously popular “Adrenaline Rush” thingy-ma-jig so many times I lost count, I had almost had enough to call it quits and it was only 3:00 pm.
We were on our way over to get hosed off by the fire department’s shiny red fire engine when we heard an announcement for the water balloon toss. “C-mon Dad, we’ll get drenched later, we gotta do this” he commanded. The water balloon toss ended prematurely but not minutes later was the required three-legged race, and of course an egg race of which we had to participate. I think we lost at every athletic game but what a grand time we had! There were a plethora of events going on all day.
We headed over to the misting tent in the center of the park for a quick cool down and then over to the pavilion for an inexpensive fajita plate and a snow cone offered by a local café. We enjoyed our afternoon snack while listening to hit tunes played over a great sound system while observing the town’s residents mixing it up like a giant, 700 or 800 member family at a reunion. And, every person we observed had a huge smile, a kind word or a nod of recognition to offer us. They made a stranger and his family feel welcome. Check that, they made us feel like one of their own.
Kudos to you Ms. Thompson, the Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Buffalo.
My son wants to move. He wants the whole family to move to Buffalo.
We are eagerly looking forward to returning to Buffalo and attending the Buffalo Chamber’s next event. Anyone know a realtor in Buffalo?
[Yes, the photo we use as a symbol is indeed of downtown Buffalo, Oklahoma.]
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What a great story! It always amazes me how towns the size of Buffalo can pull off events like this. Don’t you just love these small towns?
Becky McCray says
You bet I love small towns, Jack! Thanks for stopping in. See you Monday!
wow! I think the folks in Buffalo need to know this!