ALTUS - Dress up in turn-of-the-century pioneer garments or just come in Western attire to Altus and Jackson County's history-making kick-off of the Oklahoma Centennial Yea. The event is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16, north of the Jackson County Courthouse.
The Altus Times is sponsoring a costume contest on the east steps of the courthouse at 2:30 p.m. Suggestions for pioneer-look costumes include, for women, bonnets, longer skirts, long-sleeved blouses and aprons; and for men, jeans, cowboy hats and boots or the “snappy” clothing worn by downtown businessmen. Awards will be given to the best dressed man and woman. The winners will also get to sit on the stage and be recognized during the ceremony. during the ceremony.
Margaret Worrell, member of the Altus Centennial Memorial Committee and president of Main Street Altus, and Holley Urbanski, president of the Altus Chamber of Commerce, co-chair the Altus/Jackson County Centennial Kickoff Committee.
With the official state centennial date set on Statehood Day, Nov. 16, 2007, Urbanski cited the purpose of the kickoff as highlighting centennial projects already started and encouraging all clubs and organizations in the county to initiate a centennial project. The centennial kickoff stage, provided by Altus Air Force Base, will be decorated in an early 1900s outdoor setting with hay bales and benches for seats; all participants on stage will be in costume. Although risers will be provided, the public will want to bring lawn chairs to insure getting a seat.
The schedule of events includes:
A costume contest to be held on the east steps of the courthouse at 2:30 p.m. Awards will be given for best dressed man and woman. Winners will sit on stage during the program.
“That Altus Band” will play tunes from the upcoming Altus High School production, “Oklahoma,” as the public arrives.
The Altus Air Force Base Honor Guard will post the colors.
Performing in costume, Catherine Coke, choir director at Altus First Presbyterian Church, and other vocalists with long histories of music leadership in the community's public schools or churches will sing the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Altus Mayor T.L. Gramling will read a proclamation to officially open the centennial year in Altus and Jackson County.
Emcee Maurice King as T.G. Braddock from the early 1900s, assisted by Jennie Buchanan as the historical Altus figure Mrs. Guy Horton who lived to be 100 years old, will conduct the program of historical storytelling.
The Altus High School “Oklahoma” cast in costume will lead the grand finale singing of the song, “Oklahoma.”
From the sides of genuine early day chuck wagons, the refreshment committee, chaired by Ellen Yates, will serve authentic early American staples-hot apple cider and ginger cookies (made by the ladies' clubs of Altus, using the official Altus/Jackson County Centennial Cookie Recipe).
Through a 2006 visit from T.G. Braddock (Rep. David Braddock's great-grandfather) and Mrs. Guy Horton, King and Buchanan will walk the path of the history of Altus and Jackson County. Those who attend the kickoff ceremonies will learn: how Mrs. Horton dealt with bedbugs; how a second well on the Jackson County Courthouse Square saved the city of Altus from burning to the ground; whether or not Mrs. Horton's husband, a state senator, would recognize today's Southwest Oklahoma legislators; who was the first male baby born after the move from Frazer to higher ground in Altus; who was the first woman Altus School Board member; how Jackson County received its name.
Who knows what descendants of early Oklahoma pioneer characters will be discovered in the audience by T.G. Braddock and Mrs. Horton.
Gayle Ledbetter, KEYB Radio, announced the videotaping of the kickoff event for replay on Channel 12 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday, November 17. KEYB will sell the videos for $20 each.
Altus' Aldonians plan to sponsor dedication ceremonies for the Altus Centennial Memorial Center in the Altus City Cemetery in November 2007. Organizations and clubs may contact the Altus Chamber of Commerce at 482-0210 or Main Street Altus at 482-2277 to report Oklahoma Centennial Projects, which will be recognized at the dedication ceremonies.