This Labor Day weekend marked the 10th Annual Mayor’s Blues Ball in Medicine Park. Festivities on Sept. 2-4 featured 13 blues acts.
Medicine Park is known for its cobblestone buildings, Native American history, rustic charm, and also for its music festivals. One of four major music festivals held annually, the Mayor’s Blues Ball offers free entertainment the whole family can enjoy with the simple addition of a lawn chair and sunblock.
Medicine Park, only an hour’s drive from Altus through the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, boasts a population of little more than 400 people. But that number raises dramatically on festival weekends.
While downtown parking can be tricky on an average day, when the Blues Ball is in full swing, the closest parking can be found in the ball park at the edge of town for a small $2 fee. Police block off traffic to the downtown area to keep pedestrians safe as they come to listen to their favorite bands and check out local businesses.
It was not only the local merchants who reap the benefits of this influx of people. Vendors from all over came to take advantage of the crowd drawn in by the festival, offering not only the usual summertime treats such as snow cones, hot dogs, and handcrafted sodas, but also the more eclectic mix of Thai food, hand-carved wood furniture, and wine tastings from Oklahoma vineyards.
From every corner of the small town, wailing fiddles and thumping upright base can be heard stringing out a blues scale. Swimmers taking advantage of the cool river water in the Oklahoma heat and guests relaxing in the shade have just as good a seat as those seated center stage.
Performances from The Shane Henry Band, Fillmore Slim, Miss Blues, Chant, and Opal Agafia and the Sweet Nothings, to name a few, began 7 p.m. Friday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, going on until midnight.
The Art Walk and Flute Festival, the fourth and final of these shindigs at Medicine Park for 2016, is set to take place Oct. 1-2.
For more information about upcoming events visit medicinepark.com or call 580-529-2825.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.