Dear Editor,

Is a Grand Lake Tradition dying?

Last weekend was the Pelican Festival. Such a wonderful occasion, with a sad turnout.

The cool weather might have kept many people home. However, that doesn't make sense. Each year the Christmas parade is held during cold weather, and there are hundreds who come to watch. Something was missing... A crowd, and parade participants/

Way back in the 1980s, we moved to Grove and were treated to a great event called the Pelican Festival. Moving from a big city to a small town that went "all out" for festivals - it was fun and exciting! Weather was usually great - a feeling of fall in the air - The pelicans put in their appearance - Audubon was here to take people on trips to see the pelicans wherever they were spotted around the lake - The carnival was a busy place with kids and their parents - Yummy smells coming form food vendors - Arts and crafts booths were always packed with goodies - people were everywhere. They came from all around the lake. It was a big deal for our town.

On the 12th of this month we stood along 3rd Street waiting in anticipation to see the parade. When it did finally go by us, we saw two good marching bands, the Shriners (who are always fun), Worley-Lugienbuel's 1894 horse-drawn funeral carriage, a group of motorcycles, Pampered Pets, Josh West, and one float - one float- Kozy Kennel/Grand Groomers. And then it was over. Really?

The attendance at Wolf Creek Park to check out the booths set up by local businesses was terrible. Could it be the location? The carnival rides were not that busy either.

What was wrong this year? Could it be there wasn't enough promotion about the Festival? For those of us who don't get our Grove Sun newspaper until Friday afternoon, we didn't know the Pelican Festival started that day. Prior to Friday's paper there was one small box ad about the Festival. Some retirees may not be internet savvy, so looking at the Grove events on the internets wasn't an option. I was told the local radio station did mention it. Unfortunately, not everyone listens to the radio.

So how should this be handled differently in the future? Even though it is expensive, "paper" is probably the best way to advertise upcoming Grove events. Maybe put it on the Reader boards scattered in front of some of the local businesses?

Organization may also be a key factor. I understand the few parade entries stood around forever in the Civic Center parking lot waiting for someone to appear and help them line up.

Where were the local businesses, who in the past have entered the parade?

What a disappointment! It was sad. Not only for those of us who waited to see it, (telling our grandchildren it would be fun), but for the few who entered the parade! Please help next year keep this fun tradition alive!

J.M. Bradley

Grove, OK, USA