Oklahoma Heritage Festival

Cooking molasses

Cooking molasses, left to right, Jim Doerksen, Lincoln Emery, Don Colwell, Alvis Lum, Jerry Runnels.

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Superintendent Cache Public Schools 201 West H Avenue Cache, Oklahoma 73527

Cache (pronounced Cash, means to store or hide something) Schools served as host for the Oklahoma Heritage Festival held September 23 &. 24, 1994. The festival proved to be another success. It is held every other year on the fourth Friday and Saturday of even number years. The next festival is scheduled to be held September 27 & 28, 1996.

To our knowledge, this is the only show of this type to be held by a school. A number of the tractor and engine shows are having a student day, which is great and is exactly what should be done. Remember to be patient with students. There are a lot of you who think young people should become more involved. It is our responsibility to contact the schools to make them aware that we are willing to help and what each of us has to offer.

Here at Cache, we have a number of people who volunteer their time. Our Ag Mechanics Class has rebuilt four or five tractors and worked on others in the past few years. Volunteers have given their time.

We started our festival around 1982 because some people wanted to share their knowledge and interest in our heritage with our students. The involvement of our local people has kept it going. We have had exhibitors from Texas, Kansas and New Mexico, but we really need more to come share their knowledge and expertise with us.

Our goals are to get the students out of the classroom to actually see our history in action. They are always amazed at what our forefathers could do and how they could do so much with so little. My hidden goal is to let the youngest know that they don't have to turn to drugs. They too can make it (life) happen with what they have.

Some of our exhibitors and exhibits are: sorghum milling and syrup making, grain grinding, soap making, broom-corn thrashings, broom making, rope making, wheat threshing and blacksmithing. Some of the equipment displays include horse drawn wagons, plows, planters, Lister, hay balers, antique vehicles and one cylinder engines.

We also have a large collection of household paraphernalia and other inside exhibits.

This year the unique exhibits included quilting, demonstrated by local women. Students participated by trying their hand at quilting. There was also a display of Indian jewelry and story telling by Shirley Drummond. Also there was story telling by Cache's own Mr. Dave Titus and Captain Jack Parker, a humorist from Mt. View, Oklahoma, who kept the students spell-bound by his tales. The Buffalo Hunting Encampment of El Reno was a new exhibit and was overrun by interested students .

Horseshoeing demonstrated by Jerry Dodd of Olustee, was enjoyed by all the students, as well as blacksmithing by Rudy Kemp of Cyril. Another blacksmith exhibit was set up, as always, by our local smitty, George Hollander. Danny Hollander did the smitting while George took time to talk with people as they came by. Earl and Barbara Bodine of Burkburnett, Texas, exhibited a 1937 W-30 McCormick tractor, and we had other exhibitors as well from Texas. We had a good showing from the Duncan group such as Jim Doersen with his trailer of engines, and the can smasher, which is always a favorite. Tommy Anthony came to share his tractor knowledge. Others came from Duncan to display IHC and John Deere tractors.

Keith Pittinger, Blanchard, Oklahoma, did not bring his John Deere 'D' but instead, showed a nice RC Case tractor. Dave Schmidt and friend from Apache, Oklahoma, displayed his scaled-down steam engine, as well as other exhibits. Jeff and Beulah Booker made and stuffed sausage.

Assisting with the quilt display was Delemarette Miller of Lawton. She demonstrated the quilting technique to the students allowing some students a hands-on experience. One of our own, Frances Wynn, did her usual great job of tatting, supplying us with a nice display. 'Now, do you know what tatting is ?' she asked. 'I do now,' was the reply. Another great display was of old tools contributed by Mr. and Mrs. E. J. (Goose) Gosnell of Isabella, Oklahoma.

We missed Ben Benson's horses and stage coach rides this year as he was unable to attend due to sickness. However, we had two Belgium draft horses belonging to my dad, Hugh E. Colwell, of Elmore City, Oklahoma, which was an added attraction to the barnyard display. I must say thanks to Roney Smith, Middle School math teacher, for taking the responsibility of putting together the children's barnyard. We also missed Bobby Paul, whom we lost this past year due to a heart attack. He was one of the friendliest and most helpful persons in town. He helped cook the molasses and always helped with cutting the cane, not to mention many other jobs. He had just learned how to make brooms and did an excellent job during our Festival of '92. He loved kids and enjoyed demonstrating our past. We missed Bob.

I have been saving three family exhibitors until last only because they are special and also make the festival successful due to their expertise, help and support. I have already mentioned George Hollander. He and his wife Pat take care of the inside exhibits, helping in any way they can, as well as displaying an abundance of information about the history of Cache. Cecil and Gloria Labude from Faxon, Oklahoma, 10 miles south of Cache, are big supporters of our program. He brings his Frick steam engine, a 24,000 lb. job which is not an easy task to move. He brings antique cars along with his broom making machine. Geri and Alvis Lum are always lending a helping hand and also display a variety of exhibits. Mrs. Lum helps Pat with the exhibits on the inside. Mr. Lum had a great educational display this year on W.W.II, of which he is a veteran. He also displays engines, wind chargers, traps and antique cars. Mr. and Mrs. Lum started the festival and then allowed the school to take over. They help during the year also. The Lawton Antique Car Club puts on a good display for us.

Also I have to (no, I want to) say a big Thank You to my 14 year old son, Terry, for his work and support during the time spent putting the show together. From running his Model B John Deere to doing many more odd jobs that have to be done that I could never get done without his help. He helps me plant and harvest wheat, broomcorn, sorghum, and is always there and ready to help. Also thanks to my wife Gladys for her patience.

Mr. David Dorrell, our Ag instructor, is involved with the young people in teaching them about machinery and other things. I appreciate him because he does a lot along with his students to get ready for the show.

I know there are others, locally and from different areas around, who help tremendously that I have not mentioned. Cache Schools and I are indebted to each of them.

Middle School students offered an information booth. A big thanks to our Ag 4-H Parents Booster Club for running the concession stand and serving the barbecue supper on Saturday. This is our way we say thanks to our exhibitors. This year thanks goes to Gail Niyah and our Indian Parent Committee for the festival's fine Pow Wow held on Saturday evening.