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September 3, 1999

September is officially here, and that can mean only one thing: Celebration time is upon us! Are you ready for the annual weeklong anniversary of the great land run that brought hundreds of settlers to this blessed part of the country?

All of us enjoy the celebration and the Noble county free fair that coincides with it each year. Plus, there are carnival rides, the big Saturday parade, non-stop entertainment in the courthouse park, a concert at the Perry high school auditorium, class reunions, family get-togethers, the rodeo, Maroon football game, and many, many more forms of entertainment to delight every age. Perry rightfully takes pride in its record of being the only city in the Cherokee Strip that has never failed to mark the anniversary each year since the opening. It's a community-wide wingding.

Sometimes visitors are amazed at the scope and ingenuity of our celebration. It is so big that it requires the time, energy, and patience of the entire populace to pull it together. Weeks and months of dedicated effort go into the preparation, and all of us enjoy the big week when it finally arrives. Waiting for it is something like the feeling of anxiety that youngsters experience as Christmas nears. To me, what makes it really special is the fact that none of this is done to make money. Most of it is free and it's that way because the people of this community want it to be a celebration and not a fundraiser. Most Perry businesses, aside from the very essential food merchants, close for the entire day rather than try to make a sale or two.

Take it all in and enjoy it. Don't overlook the musical treat provided for us on Thursday night, September 16, at the PHS auditorium. The featured performer is singer Brenda Shook, the young lady from Covington who is honing her craft in Nashville. Brenda has entertained groups in this area through the years and now she has a show of her own to help with this big event. It promises to be a toe-tapping, upbeat concert with just the right tempo to kick off the celebration in style.

The Perry Maroons of Coach Mark Baetz entertain arch-foe Blackwell on Friday night, September 17, at Daniels Field. This game always generates its own kind of excitement as the state's only two Maroon teams collide on the gridiron. Go on out to the ball game and become part of the excitement that is sure to be generated there.

The Cherokee Strip run took place on September 16, 1893, but in recent years our annual celebration has been moved to the Saturday that falls nearest to the 16" so that more people might participate. The arrangement has worked out well, and if the weatherman will just cooperate our population should more than double on Saturday, September 18.

Many things have been done to prepare for the guests coming that day. All of us can contribute by cleaning up yards, cutting weeds around the square and elsewhere, touching up paint on homes and businesses, picking up trash along the rights of way or wherever it's found, and, finally, playing the part of congenial hosts when the crowd arrives. Most of all, let's remember the hardy pioneers who made that run 106 years ago, and made it possible for the rest of us to enjoy living in one of Oklahoma's greatest little cities.