The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 5, 2013

Enid gets a yarnover: Yarn storm leaves a blaze of color across downtown

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A storm of color and texture blazed through Enid’s downtown Square Thursday evening, leaving a sight to behold along its path from the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center, down Grand and around the courthouse Square.

Downtown has no devastation, no debris to clear away, no injured people to be taken to the hospital. What this storm left in its wake was a whirlwind of color. Fences, benches and lampposts, public art and even trees now are covered with knitted and crocheted creatures and intriguing fiber art. A passel of sock monkeys survey the Square from the post office, and parking meters suddenly sport monster feet. More than 1,500 colorful pieces of art decorate the area.

The storm began at 4 p.m. Its epicenter was the Gazebo on the courthouse Square, where Paula Nightengale, who first envisioned and coordinated Yarnover Enid, held up pieces of crocheted and knitted artwork and pointed across the courthouse lawn to trees and poles where she wanted the items affixed.

People gathered around the “Keeper of the Plains” statue on the east side of the courthouse lawn, to drape a blanket around his shoulders and fasten other items to the statue.

A mother and daughter team took knitting needles decorated with hearts and produce to “plant” in the flower bed on the south side of the courthouse square.

A group of more than 50 knitters and crocheters calling themselves Prairie Yarn Stormers first came together in April, with a mission to decorate public art and furniture for the delight of the community. Since that time, Yarn Stormers from 11 to 90 have worked assiduously with their hooks and needles to create the art now on display. One woman made 300 butterflies to alight along Enid streets.

North Ridgeville, Ohio, resident Margaret Marshall sent a box of items for the cause. In the box were a Dr. Who scarf, crocheted flowers, squares, swatches and pole covers. Marshall is the Yarn Stormer living farthest from Enid.

The oldest Yarn Stormer is Enid’s 90-year-old Pauline Hronopulos Constant. During her childhood days, she and her cousin, Grace Davis, lived in apartments above 119 S. Grand.

Their fathers, Christ and George Hronopulos, first ran a restaurant in that location. After the wooden structure burned to the ground, it was replaced by a brick structure. The brothers later operated Enid China and Fixture Co.

Constant has made numerous items now on display as part of Yarnover Enid.

“I’m just doing my civic duty,” Constant said.

To honor Constant and Enid’s heritage in the spirit of next week’s Cherokee Strip Days celebration, a crocheted coffee cup and spoon mounted on a yarn background were placed on a tree in front of where the Hronopulos’ business stood.

Prairie Yarn Stormers’ handiwork will be on display for an unspecified time, but Cherokee Strip Days offers a prime time to view it.

“When they start looking ratty, we’ll take them down,” Nightengale said.

Prairie Yarn Stormers will be in the Cherokee Strip Days parade Sept. 14.

Oct. 4 will be Enid Sock Monkey day. People who go out on the town with a sock monkey can take a photo of themselves in public with the monkey, post it on the Yarnover Enid Facebook page and enter to win a prize.