A Walk Through Time at the Festival of the Arts
by Lynne Rostochil.
Spring is here and that means that it’s nearly time for the annual Festival of the Arts downtown. To celebrate the festival’s return to its original home in Bicentennial Park (formerly Civic Center Park), I thought it would be fun to show vintage photos of its early years in the park and after it moved to the Myriad Gardens in 1985.
I found this batch of photos at a flea market a couple of years ago and believe they might be from the 1971 Festival of the Arts because The Oklahoman mentioned flower carts being introduced that year. Have a look:
It looks so calm and peaceful … and uncrowded!
How great is this fun and very mod information booth from the 1972 event (from the OPUBCO collection)?
The following images are from the Hale collection. If you haven’t viewed all of the amazing images in this collection, go to Retro Metro OKC for a look — you won’t be disappointed, I promise. I believe that all of the photos are from the 1974 festival, beginning with a little prep work for a bake sale, I guess:
Who cares about the bake sale — I want to know where that gorgeous kitchen is! Oh my, what a dream. Here’s another “prep” photo that will make you salivate for the mid-century modern goodies in the background:
LOVE that shelving unit — WOW!
Okay, well, that’s it for the MCM eye candy, but here’s what I believe is the opening ceremony to kick off that year’s festival:
And check out this really cool shot of pianist Peter Nero performing at the festival:
This little series is my favorite because the Magic Pan in Dallas was one of my very favorite special occasion restaurants when I was growing up — how great is that logo?
OKC’s Magic Pan creperie was located in 50 Penn Place, and the chain was famous for cooking and preparing savory or sweet crepes table side — so much fun to watch and so delicious!
The final set of Festival of the Arts images comes from the OPUBCO collection. I love this one from 1976 of a statue of Wiley Post watching over the festivities in Bicentennial Park:
And these of shoppers at the 1981 festival are pretty fun, too:
Musicians at the 1982 event:
Some things never change. Every year, spring storms roll in and keep things lively, as they did here in 1982 and 1983:
And every year, we wait out the storms then continue with the fun, as our pal and frequent event organizer, George Seminoff, shows in 1987 after the festival had moved to the Myriad site:
Of course, the best part of the Festival of the Arts is the art itself — can’t wait to brave the torrential rain again this year for a chance to munch on some of the city’s best food, watch a band or two, and take in all of the incredible art that will be scattered throughout the park … maybe even this cute dinosaur thingy from 1993!