Plenty of fun for families, children at this year's OrangeFest

Plenty of fun for families, children at this year's OrangeFest

Sara Plummer
Plenty of fun for families, children at this year's OrangeFest

All ages will find something to enjoy at this year’s OrangeFest on April 13 in downtown Okmulgee, but children will be especially entertained with bounce houses, music, art and hands-on activities that are educational, too.

For more than 70 years, Okmulgee has been home to OSU Institute of Technology, and OrangeFest is a unifying “town and gown” symbol of the longstanding relationship between the campus and community.

“OrangeFest provides an opportunity for the community to learn more about the campus and for students to learn more about the Okmulgee community,” said Shari Erwin, OSUIT’s executive director of Marketing & Communications. “Okmulgee is a college town, and that powerful synergistic relationship shared between OSUIT and Okmulgee deserves a celebration.”

The event officially starts at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 13, with live music, food trucks, and hands-on activities from OSU Institute of Technology, but children will surely want to make a beeline for the Kids’ Zone.

“The Kids’ Zone will have several bounce house options provided by Bounce Smart of Oklahoma, and for a small fee, kids can have access to all of them,” said Heather Sumner, Okmulgee Main Street executive director. “The Chalk Walk is open to all ages and can be a fun family project. There’s no cost, but individuals or teams do need to register, and they can start on their chalk art at 1 p.m. We will also offer free face-painting, and the GloRun 5K is, of course, for all ages, but you must register & there is a $15 fee for runners.”

Main Street has also partnered with the Oklahoma National Guard this year, and they will bring a rock wall that will be free for participants 16 years and older.

OSUIT’s Child Care Center is once again sponsoring the Kids’ Tent with temporary tattoos, coloring sheets, bubbles and games.

“It’s important to offer activities for children at events like OrangeFest because it allows them to feel included in their community. Not to mention it makes attending these events a family affair,” said Kathi McGraw, manager of the Child Care Center. “It’s important to promote the center as a service to not only students, staff and faculty, but the community as well. We also like to take the opportunity to educate parents on the importance of play-based learning in an early childhood setting.”

Several of the campus’s student clubs and academic programs will also be involved in activities that showcase OSUIT’s distinctive educational opportunities. OSU mascot Pistol Pete also will be making an appearance for photo opps.

From 4 to 6 p.m., attendees can try Knockerball, a game that is part bumper car, part soccer where players wear a large inflatable ball around their torso while also running and trying to score goals with their legs and feet.

From 4 to 8 p.m., visitors can take a ride on a mechanical bull to see how long they can hold on.

Children and adults alike can test their speed and reflexes at the Speed Light Tec Challenge from 6 to 10 p.m. Two people enter an inflatable ring and try to hit as many flashing lights they can in a timed round.

Creating a bond between families and the community is something Main Street and OSUIT are striving to do with OrangeFest.

“Children are our future, and we want them to be proud of their town and excited to live here. One way we can do that is by providing fun events for them to be a part of throughout the year,” Sumner said. “We really are striving to have something for everyone. We want the entire family to be able to participate in OrangeFest.”

For more information about OrangeFest or to register for the Chalk Walk or GloRun 5K go to