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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Trail Days Festival will celebrate Shawnee history, culture

  • A new trail of tradition will blaze through Shawnee, June 20-22. Non-profit organization Safe Events for Families Inc. will present the Shawnee Trail Days Festival in celebration of local history.
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  • A new trail of tradition will blaze through Shawnee, June 20-22. Non-profit organization Safe Events for Families Inc. will present the Shawnee Trail Days Festival in celebration of local history.
    The three-day event will feature family-friendly entertainment and contests, in honor of The West Texas Trail, The West Shawnee Trail and The Chisholm Trail. Kinlee Farris, executive director for the Shawnee Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the event aims to capture history.
    “It’s going to tell the history of Shawnee,” Farris said. “The name is from the trails of the Native American tribes, pioneers and settlers.”
    Norm Wagner, event co-chair and SEFF executive board secretary, said trails were in close proximity to what is now Main Street, to around Harrison Street, and then paralleled Harrison Street. Until recently, the trails were not widely acknowledged in the area.
    “They just discovered these cattle trails,” Wagner said. “You can see the trails on Google Earth.”
    Wagner said the trails were traveled by more than just cattle, and, at one point, were even used by the Confederate Army during The Civil War.
    “Everyone knows about The Chisholm Trail,” Wagner said. “But The West Shawnee Trail, nobody ever hears about.”
    Now, the community can not only hear about it, but also commemorate through a variety of downtown activities.
    “The Guthrie Gunfighters are coming. They’ll be doing gun fights on the hour, every hour,” Wagner said. “And Coney Island will turn into a working saloon for the day.”
    A working chuck wagon will make an appearance and a blacksmith demonstrator will brand wood blocks with a custom Trail Days brand, for children to take home. Other highlights include costume and photography contests, a car show, clogger square dancers, games, historical ghost walks and a farm animal exhibit.
    “We have live entertainment on Saturday; Oklahoma artists and wine on Bell Street,” Wagner said. “Sunday, we’ll have a community church service at the pavilion. We encourage families to stay after to picnic. There will be bounce houses.”
    SEFF plans to hold the event on the third weekend in June, annually. Farris said several downtown businesses are participating, and any organization can get involved. Wagner said individual demonstrators are also needed.
    “Anyone that has a part of history, that wants to be part of it, or just help, we welcome,” Wagner said.
    For more information on the event or volunteer opportunities, visit SEFFShawnee.org or call 405-432-4131.

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