McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

June 28, 2013

Gray seeks city funding for Wild West Fest

McALESTER — Eddie Gray, president of the Old Town Association, hopes to lasso $18,000 from the city of  McAlester for the group’s upcoming Wild West Festival.

This year’s Wild West Festival is set for Oct. 5 in McAlester’s Old Town, and Gray is hoping to make it even better than last year’s with support from the city council.

Gray said Thursday the Old Town Association would like to use most of the requested money to promote the festival and the group’s goal is to increase tourism in McAlester.

“We want to bring in more out-of-town people and even out-of-state people,” Gray said.

He said the group would like to use another portion of the requested funds for equipment that could be used not only for the Wild West Festival, but other events as well.

Gray said that could include things such as sound equipment and tents for vendors.

“The Old Town Association plans on having more than this event,” Gray said, adding that the group is looking at holding up to four events annually.

“We’ve talked about a true arts festival and maybe a jazz festival,” Gray said. “We want to do things that work for our area.”

Gray said the Old Town Association is also working on statistics. Bringing in 3,000 people to McAlester for a festival can have a $1 million impact on the city, he said. That’s in addition to the spending from local residents, Gray said.

“We want to keep people in our community instead of having them go out of town,” he said.

Gray said the Old Town Association works to benefit McAlester, not just the north side where Old Town is located.

“The Old Town Association benefits no one but the people of McAlester,” Gray said. “All of our money goes back into the community.”

Gray made the Old Town Association’s initial request for $18,000 in city money in-person in front of the McAlester City Council at the council’s June 11 meeting. At that time, it had been placed on the council’s consent agenda, meaning it could have passed automatically along with other items, unless city councilors had questions or concerns.

They did — mentioning it was a request for a new item in the budget and that the city had not previously allocated funds for the event.

Ward 5 Councilor Buddy Garvin, whose ward includes Old Town, responded. “The Old Town Association has never come to McAlester for one red cent,” Garvin said.

“We’re dealing with tourism money. This here is tourism,” whether the council wants to recognize it or not, Garvin said.

“It’s one of the main events of  McAlester,” he said.

Gray then had an opportunity to make his request.

“Our festival in Old Town used to be a very small festival,” Gray said.

“It’s become something that’s remarkable and is on the verge of becoming something huge.”

“We want to grow this festival from a 2-or-3,000-person event, to 10,000 or more.”

This year will mark the second year the festival has been called the Wild West Festival and the 17th consecutive year a festival has been held in Old Town. Previously, the event in McAlester’s Old Town has been called the Old Town Festival.

Asked how many days the festival will last, Gray said “It’s a one-day event. After this year, we hope to grow it to a two-day event.”

City Manager Pete Stasiak also offered some input,  speaking about the Color Run held as part of last year’s Wild West Festival. That event involved participants starting a run with a white T-shirt and having different colors of dye added at stations along the run’s route.

“I personally know people who participated in that event,” Stasiak said. “They’re coming back this year and they’re bringing their friends.”

McAlester Mayor Steve Harrison suggested the city council take a look at the Wild West Festival’s audit numbers and the numbers budgeted for this year’s event.

Stasiak said he would work with Gray and Garvin to obtain the numbers requested.

City councilors delayed a vote on the question until presented with the requested financial numbers.

Gray said Thursday he and others were still working on the budget for this year’s festival and he plans to present the matter to council again as soon as possible after the budget’s completed.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.

com.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Mills: 'Nothing personal' in contesting Layden's candidacy

    Pittsburg County Special District Judge Tim Mills says there’s nothing personal in his contesting the candidacy of Bill Layden, who is also a former special district judge in the county.

    April 16, 2014

  • MCALESTER GENERIC 1 McAlester student accepted to Arts Institute

    Brandi Hongell, of McAlester, has been accepted to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, an arts academy held in June in southwestern Oklahoma.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cuttin' it close: Karr files for Ward 4 seat, barely beating deadline

    Three minutes.
    Former Ward 4 City Councilor Robert Karr filed his declaration of candidacy for the vacant Ward 4 seat, filled out the papers, got them notarized and back into the  Pittsburg County Election Board office just three minutes before the deadline to do so elapsed at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Honored McAlester grad - Commander Pete Nilsen to speak at Armed Forces Day luncheon

    McAlester High School alumnus Commander Peter K. Nilsen assistant chief of staff, Navy Missile and Defense Command will be the keynote speaker May 2 at the Armed Forces Day Luncheon at the McAlester Army Ammunitions Plant.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Square logo.jpg April and May named Cleanup McAlester Months

    McAlester Mayor Steve Harrison signed a proclamation Tuesday designating the months of April and May as “Cleanup McAlester Month.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • HolyWeek4Wed 1.jpg Gospel: 'The Good News' heard at Holy Week Breakfast

    Steve Glazier presented a pair testimonies of individuals who went on to have a significant impact on others  — a bank robber and a hony-tonk songwriter — when he spoke at the second gathering of this year’s Men’s Holy Week Breakfasts.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dogwood Decorations All ladies welcome to luncheon

    The 42nd annual Women’s Holy Week Salad Luncheon is Thursday. The Thursday before Easter is commonly called Maundy Thursday by most Christians.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • Still no filings for Ward 4 city council seat

    What if they called an election and nobody came —no candidates, that is.
    That’s the way things were shaping up late Tuesday afternoon for the vacant Ward 4 seat on the McAlester City Council.

    April 15, 2014

  • Square logo.jpg The McAlester Public Library offering free Computer Skills Workshop

    The McAlester Public Library will offer a free Computer Skills Workshop from April 16 to 18.
    The hands-on workshop will be taught by computer technician Anthony Smart and each participant will have a computer to work with.  The class will be held from 2:30 until 4 p.m. each day and is limited to 10 students.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Siren testing set for Wednesday, weather permitting

    Storm sirens are set for testing Wednesday in McAlester as well as a number of other Pittsburg County communities.
    “We will be testing from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., weather permitting,” said Lois Lupardus, assistant director of the McAlester/Pittsburg County Office of Emergency Management.

    April 15, 2014

Seasonal Content
AP Video
NDN Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.