ENID, Okla. — Free public events are planned in downtown Enid this weekend for the Cherokee Strip Celebration, marking the 126th anniversary of the 1893 Land Run and the birth of Enid.

Festivities begin with a full day of western movies, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Public Library of Enid and Garfield County, 120 W. Maine, and an Indian taco lunch served by Enid Intertribal Council, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday on the Garfield County Court House lawn.

A new event this year is the Paint & Play Block Party, sponsored by Main Street Enid, 6-9 p.m. Friday at 217 N. Washington.

Kelly Tomkins, Main Street Enid director, said the event will be a "fun, family-friendly" time, that "adds something fun to do downtown during Cherokee Strip Celebration weekend."

The event will include games to play, karaoke and a fundraiser to paint Scrabble tiles for a new game being installed on the west side of the library.

"Downtown Enid is becoming known as a place to play, and this newest game will add to the fun things to do here," Tompkins said. "This is a fun, creative way to contribute monetarily and colorfully to the new game."

The games and karaoke will be free. There will be a $25 charge for participants 21 and older and $12 for those younger than 21 to paint the Scrabble tiles, which includes supplies, snacks and drinks (two drinks, beer or wine for those 21 and older, soda and water for younger participants).

Saturday events kick off at 9 a.m. at Stride Bank Center with the annual Enid Walk of Fame awards ceremony, which recognizes residents who have "demonstrated a lifetime of service to the community in general," or have "made an extraordinary contribution or act of selflessness or statesmanship for Enid," according to a city press release.

Honorees this year are astronaut Owen K. Garriott and former Enid mayor William E. “Bill” Shewey.

An Enid native, Garriott, who died in April at age 88, went into space twice. His initial space flight on Skylab 3 was from July 28 to Sept. 25, 1973. He and his two crew mates conducted major experiments in science and medicine for a total of 1,427 hours in space. Garriott spent 13 hours and 43 minutes in three space walks outside Skylab.

On Nov. 28, 1983, Garriott made his second space flight aboard the Space Shuttle STS-9, which included the first flight of the Spacelab 1 international science station. That mission carried the first international shuttle crew and payload specialists. On this flight, he also conducted the first manned amateur radio operations in space.

Garriott and his former wife, the late Helen Walker Garriott, were co-founders of Leonardo's Children's Museum.

Shewey was Enid mayor for eight years.

He came to Enid to join Central National Bank as a senior vice president in 1978. He volunteered his time to countless community organizations. Shewey’s commitment to Vance Air Force Base was recognized when he was named one of the original Partners in the Sky at Vance Air Force Base in 1996. He has also been an honorary commander at the base. He is a past chairman of the Board of the Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, and in 2009 was honored with the Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, western-themed events begin in earnest on the courthouse lawn, with live music by The Branders, food trucks, vendors, a petting zoo, "The Oklahoma Kid" trick roper and other activities.

The annual parade, commemorating the Land Run, will be at 10:30 a.m., featuring horses, marching bands, "The Oklahoma Kid" trick roper and more, all sponsored by Bank of Kremlin.

Kalea Stafford, special events and membership director for Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, said the high point of the parade each year is the appearance of the longhorn cattle.

"The longhorns are a great draw, and if you've never seen the longhorns in the Cherokee Strip Parade, that is a great thing to come out and see," Stafford said. "It's just a fun family event."

Parade grand marshal for this year will be the Northern Oklahoma College Enid Jets baseball team, celebrating the team's first national title in the NJCAA Division II World Series at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in June.

An "old western gun fight" will take place with re-enactors on the courthouse lawn at 12:30 and 1 p.m., following the parade.

To close out Saturday's events, the NOC Jets baseball team will host a ring ceremony, presenting their 2019 NJCAA World Series championship rings, 1:30 p.m. at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for James? Send an email to jneal@enidnews.com.

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