The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 20, 2013

It’s a LahomaPalooza: Lahomas come from across nation to unique event

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The town of Lahoma rolled out the fanfare Saturday to celebrate their name and the women who share it.

About 700 people came to LahomaPalooza, a day-long celebration of Lahoma’s history and namesakes. A parade rolled down Main Street at 10 a.m. and pony rides, helicopter rides, vendor booths and history displays opened.

Main Street was lined with vendors of all kinds, hawking produce, craft items, information about organizations, cookies, clothing, candles and the like.

The parade was led by a police car and followed by Bikers Against Child Abuse. Next came Shriners in miniature cars and more Shriners on motorcycles.

A green and gold helicopter flew overhead, dropping strands of beads.

One of the vendor booths toppled to the ground in the wind from the rotors and bystanders hurried over to help set things right again.

LahomaPalooza was brought together by Lahoma McMillion, who lives in Florida, and Theresa Sharp, mayor of Lahoma.

When McMillion became aware of the Oklahoma town with the name that’s been handed down from generation to generation to women in her family, her truck-driver husband took her to see Lahoma.

That was five years ago. While visiting at that time, she talked to several Lahoma residents about her name and the then-mayor of the town promised her that when she returned, the town would put on a parade.

Sharp and a team of townspeople kept that promise and more. After the parade, the day went on with pony and helicopter rides, pulled-pork dinner with all the trimmings at the park, games, inflatables, music, public safety demonstrations and a fireworks display.

Although about 40 of the women who’ve connected with McMillion on Facebook said they planned to be at LahomaPalooza, about 15 actually registered in Lahoma for the celebration.

Lahoma Alvarez made the 11-hour drive from Devine, Texas, about 30 miles outside San Antonio, with her husband and two of their sons. Her oldest son could not make the trip, Alvarez said.

Alvarez, a rural letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, took a picture of the Lahoma Post Office.

“It’s pretty neat to take a picture of a Post Office with my name on it,” Alvarez said.

Although McMillion’s name has been handed down five generations in her family in honor of an ancestor who died in childbirth, Alvarez’s mother named her after a character in the soap opera, “Another World.”

Lahoma Grunewald, at 93 the oldest Lahoma registered at LahomaPalooza, rode in the parade. Grunewald lives at Woodward.

The Lahoma ladies came from as close as Enid and as far as Penacook, New Hampshire.

Sharp said the LahomaPalooza board of directors will meet again Aug. 1.

“We’ll set the date for next year’s event, because we have some who could not make it and are really looking forward to next year,” Sharp said.