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HISTORY

In the early 70’s with the Arts and Crafts craze hitting full force . . . Carter County Extension Homemakers held several craft workshops and also a Show & Tell Workshop. People expressed an interest in buying arts and crafts.

The home economist at that time, Mrs. Clara Kelley, suggested the Homemakers sponsor an Arts and Crafts Festival and Sale. The first Festival was held November 1972 at Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Nita Martin was the chairman. That first show had only 23 booths but it was an immediate hit. It gave local craftsmen and artists a place to show and sell their handiwork and it gave people in the community a chance to buy hand crafted goods.

After that first small show in 1972, interest grew and in 1976, the fifth annual show, all three rooms of the Hardy Murphy Coliseum were filled with 136 booths being rented and a long waiting list of people wanting to have a booth.

In the 1985, the 14th year, the demand for booth space was so great that the arena area of Murphy Coliseum was opened and was filled with over 75 more booths.

  • Barbara Swindell took over as chairman of the Festival in 1973.

  • Kaye Seeliger became publicity chairman in 1974

  • Jean Page became advertising chairman in 1975.

  • In 1976, Katy Merritt took booth rentals chairman and treasurer and Jody Stubbs became the manager of the Extension Homemaker Kitchen.

  • In 1985, Lease Chandler became the rentals chairman for the arena.

  • In 1992 Rita Supan and Phyllis Turner became managers of the Extension Homemakers Kitchen.

  • Jean Page took over booth rental for the inside coliseum booths in 1997.

  • In 1997 George Stubbs joined the committee to be in charge of advertising.

  • In 2004, Janice Curtis took over food festival concessions.

  • In 2006, Angie Rowe joined the committee in charge of advertising.

  • Jenny Little, Mary McDermott, and Doniece Pitts also were on the Arts and Crafts Committee starting in 1975 and each served several years.
  • In 2011, Jean Page and Janice Curtis retired. They will serve on the Advisory Committee.
  • In 2011, Julie Maher became the rentals chairman for the inside booths. Judith Schofield became the concession chairman.

  • In 2014, Rita Supan moved away and resigned the committee.

  • In 2015, Judith Schofield took over CCHCE Concessions as well as keeping the Food Vendor position. Angie Rowe took over Arena Booth Rentals and Leasa Chandler became Financial Secretary.

 

Several OSU Extension Home Economists have served in Carter County since Clara Kelley helped start the festival including Sue Ellen Scott, Candi Wyatt Slagell, Melody Troop, Jan Scott, Janice Curtis, Sandy Lackey, and Danielle Wells.

In 1990 the food fair was added with food vendors setting up outside the Coliseum. The crowds were so large that we needed the Extension Homemaker Kitchen as well as the food vendors to provide food for the event. A variety of tantalizing foods feed the estimated 5,000 people attending the Festival each year.

In 1992, the name of the sponsoring organization was changed from Extension Homemakers to Carter County Oklahoma Assocation for Home and Community Education.

The Arts and Crafts Committee consists of Barbara Swindell, Kaye Seeliger, Leasa Chandler, Phyllis Turner, Angie Rowe, Julie Maher and Judith Schofield. All three wings of Hardy Murphy Coliseum as well as the arena are filled with over 250 booths. As has been the case every year for many years, on the closing days of the Festival, the booths for the next year’s Festival are filled and a waiting list started.

Without the dedication of the Festival Chairman, the Committee Chairman and most importantly, the support and cooperation of our Carter County Association for Home and Community Education groups, our Arts and Crafts Festival and Food Fair would not be the success it is now and has been over the years.

This is a very successful Festival for both the craftsmen and the public. We look forward to the future and will continue to sponsor this Festival.