The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 6, 2013

Educational foundation sets Okarchefest Aug. 31

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Like many school districts, Okarche Public Schools occasionally needs a little extra that state education funding does not cover.

Six years ago, a group of Okarche businessmen and women got together and formed Okarchefest, an annual event that raises money to provide grants to teachers and help the school with other needs. This year, the sixth annual Okarchefest is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 31. It is sponsored by Okarche Educational Foundation, a nonprofit group established to promote Okarche schools.

The main street of the town will be closed, and the event features craft vendors and live entertainment all day and into the night, said Steve Bomhoff, Okarchefest board member.

“We start the day with a fun run, then we have the live entertainment, sometimes it’s kids, sometimes bands that come in or even local talent,” Bomhoff said.

Okarchefest president Erin Rother-Stover said the event also will feature a kids corral with inflatable toys and games. The fun run, which they call the Mad Dash, is either a one-mile walk/run or a 5K walk/run, she said. The run is held early on festival morning, but the music may continue as late as 11 p.m.

“People in the community saw a need. We’re a pretty small school and they are always needing help. The grants help teachers purchase items needed. Last year, we gave $17,000 in grants and $5,000 for playground upkeep,” Rother-Stover said. “We try and give it all. We’re here to make the money and try to spend it all there.”

Okarchefest is the only source of the money, she said.

Bomhoff said the community participates well. This year they moved the date to the Labor Day weekend, hoping to interest people who are traveling through town.

“Lots of people stop at Eischen’s to eat chicken and some of them may want to join the party,” Bomhoff said.

Rother-Stover said the festival usually does well, depending on the weather. The 2012 event raised $22,000, and the year before, raised $15,000.