Summer is just around the corner.

The Grove Area Chamber of Commerce invites the community to join in the fun and to start the season with the second year of ‘Toes in the Grand’, Grove’s Summer Kickoff Festival on Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1. The festival is a celebration of summer and the area’s ‘laid-back, lake lifestyle’.

Toes in the Grand is the area’s largest free ’Trop-Rock’ music festival and will feature an impressive line up of Jimmy Buffet style artists.

This year’s festival, held at Wolf Creek, will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 31. Friday is slated for entertainment, games, food trucks, vendors and an afterparty at Cherokee Casino.

Saturday’s events start at 8 a.m. with a 5K, a car show, inflatables, helicopter rides, food trucks, vendors, entertainment, games and anew element to the festival, a firework show.

The recent storms have left Grand Lake flooded, which has changed some of the original plans for the festival.

“Originally this event was going to have our Toes in the Grand activities, we were going to have hydroplane boat races with Thunder on Wolf Creek and we were also hosting major league fishing’s BassPro tour. Because of the high water, both of those things have changed, but with Toes in the Grand we are still going to have music [and] we’ve added some things since that has changed,” said Chamber President Donnie Crain. “It’s a little different from what we had planned, but I think it’s going to be really good.”

With the ever changing and unpredictable weather, Crain says that precautions have been taken.

“Where we have things planned to be, basically they can’t be reached by the high water. We have seen what the maximum capacity of the water is and we are up above that level,” said Crain. “It’s a rain or shine event, obviously the rain will impact whatever is going on at the time… But hopefully, if we do have a rain event, it’s a situation where the rain comes and goes and we will go right back into the schedule of events.”

While the event takes place in the parking lot, Crain says that parking shouldn’t be an issue.

“With the layout of our event, most of the big parking lot will be available for parking,” said Crain. “If needed, we’ve got some places we can overflow to.”

There are two things that have Crain very excited. One is brand new to the event and the other is an oldie but a goody.

“I’m excited about the firework show. That’s a new thing for us. It’s really the first one of the season here at the lake and I know a lot of folks love the firework shows. In that two weeks around the fourth of July, every night there are fireworks. I know there are a lot of people who like that,” said Crain. “I’m really excited about Saturday night’s headlines, the Parrotville show. It’s a Branson show, so for those that like Jimmy Buffett that’s right up their alley and for those who like Branson style shows that will be right down their alley. They regularly play at the Jim Stafford Theatre, so they’re good. They’re Branson good.”

Friday’s Events

On Friday, May 31, the festival kicks off at 4 p.m. Food trucks and vendor booths will be arranged around Wolf Creek Park for festival-goers to view.

Helicopter rides will also be available. The rides cost $20 per person for a two minute ride over the festival, $30 for a three minute ride or $40 for a four minute ride. There is a two person minimum and three person maximum.

At 6:45, the Grand Lake Hoola Hoop Off will begin. The contest will award the winner $100. Directly after the contest, practice for the Congo Line will take place.

Entertainment wise, the Cherokee Casino Entertainment Stage will open with Oklahoma City’s Greg Dragoo at 6 p.m. Dragoo has played in Grove previously, at 2018’s Toes in the Grand and at Grove Rotary’s Lobsterfest.

Following Dragoo, the Blonde Stranger Band will take over. The Springfield, Missouri band is billed as a fun, playful set to get festival-goers in a ‘summertime at the lake mood’.

The Official Festival After Party will be held at the Cherokee Casino in Grove. At 10 p.m. Tennessee’s Mike Nash & the Southern Drawl Band will provide entertainment. The band is described as ‘Southern rockin’ country music with a twist of lime, distilled in the backwoods of Tennessee’. The band has previously been awarded Trop Rock Music Association’s Band of the Year twice, TRMA’s Horizon Award and Beachfront Radio’s Entertainer, Band, Album and Song of the Year.

Saturday’s Events

On Saturday, June 1, the festival will begin with the Tiki Man 5K and Fun Run. Registration is open until 7:30 a.m. on race day. The cost of entry is $30. Costumes, in keeping with the festival’s theme, are encouraged. Awards will be given to the top three placers in each category as well as the best costumes.

The main portion of the festival will open at 10 a.m. with food trucks, vendors, helicopter rides and inflatables. The inflatables are free to festival-goers and are sponsored by Grand True Value Rentals and Grace Harbor Baptist Church.

The Toes in the Grand Car Show will also take place on Saturday with registration beginning at noon. The entry fee is $20 and the show will begin at 1 p.m. Awards will be given out at 3 p.m.

Playing on the Cherokee Casino Grove Entertainment Stage at 2 p.m. is the Night Hawk Band from Texarkana. The band is noted as a top band in the Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas area and is a recent addition to the line up.

At 4 p.m. the Cool Breeze Band will take the stage. The band is billed as a able to ‘get your toes a-tappin’ and booty a-shakin’ with their performance.

Hitting the stage at 6 p.m. in the COPA Reefer Band, who cover favorite tunes and play original songs they describe as ‘Trop Rock with an Oklahoma twist’.

Island fun and games will resume at 6:45 p.m. with a limbo contest. The winner will receive a $50 prize. At 7:30 p.m. Oklahoma’s longest conga line will take place. One winner will be chosen from the conga line participants to receive $250.

The musical finale to the festival will begin at 8 p.m. with the Branson Stage Show, Parrotville - A Live Jimmy Buffett Tribute. The show is housed in the Jim Stafford Theatre on the strip in Branson.

Concluding the two-day festival is the first firework show of the season on Grand Lake.

“This year, unlike last year, we’ve got fireworks. That’s going to be a way to highlight the activities on Saturday night,” said Crain.

The Toes in the Grand Festival will take place Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1 atWolf Creek Park. Events begin on Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 8 a.m.

Lei'd out

During the Toes in the Grand festival, businesses around town are providing discounts and deals to those wearing Hawaiian leis. These leis can be picked up for free from Chamber of Commerce tent in Wolf Creek Park.

“We are super excited about hosting so many visitors to Grove & Grand Lake during the Toes in the Grand Festival – and want to take advantage of this opportunity to welcome and introduce these visitors to our many unique and one-of-a-kind shops, attractions and boutiques. So we’re asking everyone to wear leis – which are available at no cost at the Festival – and save at local retailers and attractions," said Chamber President Donnie Crain.

Participating businesses include Rustic Rehab, Fired Up! at Grand Lake, The Grand Lake Sports Center, The Muddy Pearl, Shoe Sensation, INTEGRIS Grove Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop, Har-Ber Village, and Sissy’s Place.