Nowata, Oklahoma

It was a fun evening showing my film in Nowata and I appreciate everyone who came out despite the threatening weather.

Welcome back. I’m keeping close to home this week with a story about a town that became famous in 1904 for having the world’s largest shallow oil field. That was the year that oil and gas was discovered and then the Missouri Pacific Railroad built a line through the area. Within fifteen years this Indian Territory trading post would become as historians say a “boom town” with a courthouse, three story bank and lots of hotels. When Highway 60 linked Nowata with Bartlesville and Ponca City in the 1920s it made the town that the Delawares called “No-weate” or “Welcome” in their native language an even more vibrant community.

Yes, I’m talking about Nowata, Oklahoma and on Saturday night my film “Footprints in the Dew: The Last Ten Tapes” will be showing at the Jack R. Ellis Memorial Theater at 7PM. Situated on the old original town square, this is a neat place that regularly features live entertainment and also has a kitchen that serves both snacks and dinner. The theater is the home of the Nowata Country Jubilee which showcases country music performers and supports a scholarship program for local students. For ticket information you can call them at (918) 273-0752.

Part of the Cherokee Nation, the entire town square was once owned by Chief Charles Johnnycake who was a registered Delaware Indian. Nowadays this early Oklahoma settlement has 130 businesses with Jane Phillips Hospital being the largest employer. In 1998 the hit movie “Possum” was filmed in Nowata and another little tidbit: on February 10, 2011 the national weather service proclaimed that Nowata had the coldest temperature ever recorded in the state at minus 31 degrees and friends that record still stands today.

Down the road for me means traveling and during the day Saturday I’ll be autographing books at the big R&K Gun and Knife Show at the Tulsa Fairgrounds. Last weekend I was doing the same thing at a gun show at the OK State Park Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City and couldn’t help but notice the new building there. Now this isn’t your typical large event center, this thing is huge. I found out that the Bennett Event Center has 201,000 s.f. of contiguous floor space for exhibits as well as an expansive lobby and a full service catering kitchen. It’s quite a structure.

I’ll end this week with a story about a man who Bartlesville just lost. I met Richard Johnson in the 1980s. A fine musician, he was playing regularly at local establishments and always drawing crowds. As time went by he put his natural talent for organization to good use. For years SUNFEST benefited from his experience in the music world but as a founder and longtime Board member Richard’s involvement with the festival went way further than that. When Richard began his company Johnson Lighting & Sound he became the go to person for private parties, concerts, festivals and fundraisers throughout the region and beyond. The Good, The Bad and The Barbeque, OK Mozart, Indian Summer Festival and the HOT Street Parties are just a few of the local events he worked with. He will be greatly missed and tomorrow night in Dewey musicians will gather from far and wide for a memorial show and benefit starting at 6PM at the Heritage Theater. Proceeds from the show will help with the medical expenses Richard incurred while ill. This should be special so check it out for sure.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road………………

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