With our annual Heritage Day in the final planning stages I thought it would be interesting to look up some facts about the great “Corn Carnival” of 1910. I read several issues of The Caddo Herald and was surprised by the magnitude of the project. I was also amazed by the number of people who were involved! I hope you enjoy the following bits of news from August 1910.
I found the initial announcement for the carnival fascinating. The directors met on July 20th and decided to have a “big W.O.W. picnic and Caddo Corn Carnival on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of August 1910”. It takes us nearly a year to plan Heritage Day and get all of the details worked out. They planned a three-day event in a month! The directors of the carnival were “P.W. Howe, chairman, D.B. Williams, J.A. Moore, Lake Brewer, I.S. Powell, John Schwartz, and J.L. Campbell”. John L. Boland is listed as secretary. They created committees for Finances, Barbecue, Baseball, Fiddlers Contest, Baby Show, Roping & Riding Tournament, Speaking, Advertising, Exhibits, and Decorations. Each committee had at least six members, mostly men. The article ends with “All members of the different committees will take notice and attend a meeting of the directors on next Monday night July 25, at 8 o’clock sharp at the town hall. All committees will work under the board of directors.”
Another issue of the paper gives the ambitious schedule of events. “The Caddo Corn Carnival and W.O.W. picnic, held under the auspices of the Bryan County Farmer’s Institute is the biggest thing of the kind ever attempted by any county in Oklahoma. All of the products of the farm will be displayed at this carnival, substantial prizes having been offered for almost everything raised or grown on the farm. It is the intention of the committee to take from the display of Bryan County products at this carnival and make up a display for the county exhibit at the State Fair at Oklahoma City. Following is the three days program and the premium list:
11:00am Speaking by county candidates.
2:00pm Sack race for boys under 14
3:00pm Baseball, Caddo vs. Durant
5:00pm, Goat roping contest
8:00pm, Speaking by Hon. Lee Cruce, Democratic nominee for governor
11:00am Speaking by J.T. Cumbie, Socialist nominee for governor
2:00pm Baseball, Caddo vs. Durant
4:00pm Cow roping contest
8:00pm Fiddlers contest
11:00am Speaking by J.H. Connell, president, State Board of Agriculture
1:00pm Speaking by Joe McNeal, Republican nominee for governor
2:00pm Baby show
3:00pm Baseball, Caddo vs. Durant
The premium list offered prizes for a variety of farm products. It’s interesting to note that the list is very, very specific. “White corn grown on upland” was in a different category from “yellow corn grown on upland” or “white corn grown on bottom land”. The premium for each was $10 for the best 12 ears. Premiums of different amounts were also offered for strawberries, watermelon, pumpkins, horses, mules, cotton, oats, alfalfa, peaches, canned apples, peach preserves, potatoes, cabbages, homemade catsup, molasses, and the best decorated vehicle. The winner of the prettiest baby contest took home a baby buggy by Walters & Williams. The 2nd place baby received at $5 gold piece donated by Mr. Pat Howe, and the 3rd place baby won a little red wagon donated by Jack Moore. Fiddlers could win $15, $10, or $5.
There is a sweet ad in the paper, placed by a reluctant queen contestant: “Owing to the fact that it would be impossible for me to serve as queen of the carnival were I elected, I desire to ask my friends who have signified their willingness to support me to cast their votes for someone else. I appreciate the honor, but it would be impossible for me to accept. Respectfully, Miss Florence Howe”
Many of the local businessmen saw the carnival as an opportunity to welcome visitors to Caddo and offer their services. The Bryan County State Bank ad says “All carnival visitors will find a hearty welcome here.” The Corner Drug Store offered carnival visitors “delicious ice cream and the best of cold drinks at our fountain. Fans to keep you cool.” The Bass Company invited carnival visitors to “make our store your headquarters. We will offer you every convenience from a trading standpoint , also a resting place”. H.W. Dempsey promoted the new “South Heights” addition to Caddo as “the most desirable property to be had in or near Caddo”. The Herald also took the opportunity to spread the word about Caddo’s virtues and enticed visitors to move to the wonderful community. Here are a few excerpts from a very lengthy article:
“Caddo, Oklahoma- The Coming City of Eastern Oklahoma Offers Splendid Inducements to the Home Seeker and the Investor”
“For twenty-five miles in every direction from Caddo extends a gently rolling prairie that for fertility and productiveness has no equal in Oklahoma.”
“Caddo has excellent drainage in every direction, and the health of the community is exceptionally good. The climate is ideal, the winters are short and mild, and the summers are pleasant. The rainfall is ample and timely and the country is well watered.”
“Caddo has a population of about eighteen hundred wide-awake, progressive people.”
“Caddo is a well-built town, having thirty-eight brick business houses and many handsome residences.”
“Caddo is a town of churches and Sunday schools…The religious and moral environments of the town and county are exceptionally good.”
“The men have their secret orders…The corresponding auxiliary orders are maintained for the benefit of the ladies.”
“These ladies clubs are now considered a necessity in all modern towns and cities. They not only add much to their social life and enjoyment, and raise the standard of intelligence, but nearly every plan for beautifying the city and for promoting the health and happiness of the community is originated by the women clubs.”
In another blog I’ll get back to some of the early virtues of the Caddo community. For now, start making plans to attend Heritage Day, October 7. Bring your friends and stay awhile. You’ll be welcome!