Festivities proceed in Barnsdall

Robert Smith
Veterans led the way Saturday morning, in the annual Big Heart Day parade in Barnsdall; and they look to have had a pretty good time doing it. From left to right, the color bearers are Mike Ray, Jack Janssen and Albert Allison. Barnsdall soldiered on in spite of the weather and held its annual Memorial Day Weekend celebration. Robert Smith/Journal-Capital

BARNSDALL — After a week of heavy rain, Barnsdall residents and their guests showed their spirit Saturday when they held the annual Big Heart Day celebration.

The morning started out overcast, with water puddled against some street edges, but family groups with small children in strollers and dogs on leashes were soon making their way down Main Street. By midmorning, the sun was out for the parade and kids were collecting candy thrown into the street for them. Members of the Barnsdall High School classes of 1959 and 1979, riding on trailers, were among the parade participants.

“I’m glad it rained last night (and not this morning),” Russell Hayman said, voicing approval that the weather hadn’t doused the Saturday morning festivities of the Big Heart celebration.

Claud Rosendale, president of the Barnsdall Chamber of Commerce, said the week of heavy rain across Osage County had its effect on the town’s celebration. There were fewer vendors and the crowd was perhaps two-thirds the normal turnout, he said. Rain and the threat of rain had also caused the cancellation of events, he said, explaining the Friday night movie under the stars had to be canceled.

“It would have started raining about halfway through it,” Rosendale said regarding the movie. In addition to the classes of ‘59 and ‘79, there had been hopes of having a reunion of the BHS class of 1969, but enough of them canceled that the 1969 reunion didn’t make.

The fishing tournament for kids intended for early Saturday morning had been postponed, Rosendale said, and there were hopes of rescheduling it for mid-afternoon. Children’s games had to be moved from the community center area, where the ground was soft and muddy, to pavement east of the local bank.

But the smiles and good spirits and teasing were what you would expect any year, and Osage County tourism director Kelly Bland made announcements about upcoming events elsewhere in Osage County, reminding everyone about Cattlemen’s Week in June in Pawhuska.

In Pawhuska, members of the American Legion, the Sons of the American Legion and scouts turned out at the cemetery early Saturday morning to put out flags for Memorial Day. The cemetery was wet but well-manicured, and small groups carrying flags and information about veterans’ graves spread out to do their part in recognizing the deceased who served the nation. Rosendale said flags had been put out Friday in Barnsdall.

State Highway 11 was open Saturday morning between Pawhuska and Barnsdall, and between Barnsdall and Skiatook, though there were places where standing water was close to the roadway.