STORY UPDATE: Chickasaw Boomer Blast has been cancelled for July 4th and its contingency make-up date of July 5th. The City of Stillwater has announced it will be moved to July 8th. Click here for details.
Story by Chrischen Henderson
The spotlight on college towns is often the college and the many activities that it hosts. With school spirit highly valued within Stillwater’s community, what’s the town like during the summer months? Stillwater lives up to its reputation of having a strong, diverse, and lively community even during the summer when the OSU campus is less populated. Many students and alumni still reside in the town and keep the cowboy spirit strong. Even though campus activities are limited, the city of Stillwater has many events that contribute to its lively hometown character.
Celebrating the 4th of July holiday is important to the community. Fireworks and food on the 4th of July is a vibrant Stillwater tradition. Chickasaw Telecommunication Services sponsors the Boomer Blast fireworks show. This event has been a Stillwater tradition for over twenty years. The community comes for the fireworks, but stays for the fun! This event is free and open to the public, so everyone is encouraged to come and enjoy the experience. Boomer Blast takes place at Boomer Lake on the 4th of July. Free parking opens at 5:30 pm and the fireworks show starts at 9:35 pm. Not only will there be fireworks, but the community can also enjoy free inflatables for the kids as well as food trucks and a live radio broadcast of Stillwater Radio KSPI Hot 93.7 FM. This event is fun for the whole family, so bring your lawn chairs and blankets and sit back and enjoy the show!
If you’re looking for a nice family friendly outing indoors out of the heat, the Sheerar Museum of Stillwater History and the OSU Museum of Art have you covered. The free exhibits at both museums are always changing, keeping the experience fresh. The Sheerar is the perfect place to connect the present community with the roots of the town and is conveniently located at the corner of 7th and Duncan Street. Then scoot around the block to the corner of 8th and Husband to visit the OSU Museum of Art to make a full day of it at your local museums. The Sheerar Museum is open Tuesday-Friday 11am-5pm and Weekends 1-4pm, closed Mondays. The OSU Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5pm, closed Sundays and Mondays.
The Sheerar Museum hosts free events and programs throughout the year as well. This July the Cool Classics Summer Concert Series returns to the Sheerar auditorium for its eleventh season. This popular program makes classical music modern and provides entertainment for all ages. The free concerts are held every Friday in July at 7:30 pm. The Cool Classics Summer Concert schedule includes: Grice Duo on July 7, Orange Quartet on July 14, Appassionata Viola & Harp Duo on July 21, and Trio Aleszky on July 28.
The popular Appassionata Duo features Jeff Cowen, viola; and Jill Wiebe, harp. Cowen has been performing professionally for the past 30 years and currently serves as principal violist in the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Opera, and Tulsa Ballet. Wiebe enjoys a freelance career that has taken her around the world. She currently performs with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Opera, and Tulsa Ballet as well. Trio Aleszky consists of Paulo Eskitch, violin; Allyson Eskitch, piano; and Lou Lynch, cello. Trio Aleszky has performed in every season of the Cool Classics Summer Concert Series. The Trio also performs with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra and has performed for the Signature Symphony at TCC and Trio Tulsa. The Orange Quartet includes Oklahoma State University Students Hunter Sanchez, viola; Samantha Kerns, cello; Allison Johnson, violin; and Thomas Neely also on the violin. These students have experience within the OSU Symphony Orchestra, the OSU Opera Orchestra, and musicals and operas presented by the OSU Department of Theatre. Siblings, Beth and Jacob Grice are Stillwater natives and music students under the tutelage of the Cool Classics’ founder Mahlon Halleck. Known for their four-hand piano performance, the Grice Duo are sure to entertain and amaze their audience with their talent.
The City of Stillwater presents many lively and popular events. The third Friday of every month (April-September), the community enjoys the variety of food and entertainment at Friday Food Trucks and Tunes in downtown Stillwater. This event began in 2014 and has been a hit with the community ever since. This gathering draws college students, faculty, professionals, young families, and retirees. It is the perfect opportunity for the residents to come together downtown to socialize while they enjoy live music and the wide variety of choices that the food trucks have to offer.
There’s a vibe that Stillwater possesses during the summer that is very distinct from that of the school season. Without the hustle and bustle of the busy school year when the town seems to be bursting at its seams, the wholesome community celebrates togetherness and appreciates the small town that it grew up in.