Dickens on the Boulevard brings the 1800s to Claremore for Christmas

Traditions run deep in Claremore, and one of the town’s favorite is kicking off the holiday season with Dickens on the Boulevard in downtown Claremore.

For the last 21 years, Claremore has celebrated holiday with the Victorian-themed Christmas festival right in the heart of downtown. Donning historic attire, the streets of downtown are flooded with shoppers enjoying the crisp winter air, holiday music, shopping and re-enactors.

Dickens on the Boulevard brings all that back this year on Nov. 17 and 18, starting at 6 p.m. each night.

“This is such a fun event,” said Jessica Jackson, Claremore Main Street director. “It’s brings the 1800s into 2017 with historic attire, hand crafted goodies and the stroll and street dance, while also starting the holiday season with Christmas shopping, Santa Claus and carolers.”

Walking the three blocks of Claremore’s historic downtown, visitors will be greeted by actors in a “living window,” street urchins and even a chuckwagon feast. A carriage ride to the Belvidere Mansion and back and a saloon – Wantland Public House — with sarsaparilla and a chance to play cards with the Territorial Marshals give guests even more of that Victorian spirit.

Gearing up for Christmas, Santa Claus will be on site in the Cranberry Merchant, 417 W. Will Rogers Blvd., for photos for $5, and just down the street will be a living nativity by Shepherd’s Cross.

New this year, a Victorian fencing demonstration will take place in the middle block at 7:15 p.m. both nights. A group from Texas will exhibit fencing technique straight from the Victorian era.

“We are thrilled to add the fencing demonstration this year,” Jackson said. “The crew will be on hand after their show to teach guests their skills.”

Following the demonstration, the annual shootout will take place at 7:45 p.m. The Territorial Marshals will take the stage on Friday while the Tri-State Gunfighters will perform the re-enactment on Saturday.

Each year, the event features a Victorian costume contest with categories for different ages and genders as well as for the best dressed couple.

Following the costume awards presentation is the festival’s nightcap – the Victorian stroll and street dance. The stroll is the perfect opportunity for young and old to get together on the street and enjoy the old-fashioned entertainment.

“Seeing hundreds of people gather in the streets for the dance is inspiring,” Jackson said. “That sense of community and togetherness – it reminds us of the past and captures the Christmas spirit better than anything else I can think of.”

Stores stay open during the event. Shoppers can qualify for the Dickens Dollars drawing by visiting each of the participating stores and asking for their complimentary ticket. Additional tickets may be available with purchases.

Dickens Dollars are gift certificates that spend like cash at participating stores. There are multiple drawings each night. Winners receive Dickens Dollars, which are good to spend through Christmas Eve.

The Tales from the Top tours will be all new this year. It is a ticketed tour that takes guests through the upper floors of five downtown Claremore buildings. A short never-before-seen play will take place in each one, and guests may have an opportunity to poke around the 100-year-old buildings.

The tour begins at 6 p.m. and last about an hour. Tickets are $12 and are limited. They can be purchased beginning on Nov. 1 at the Claremore Main Street office, 419 W. Will Rogers Blvd.

Adding a new tour this year, Claremore Main Street announces an afternoon Historic Walk, which takes guests from the Will Rogers Hotel to the Belvidere Mansion while relaying aspects of Claremore’s history and telling stories that most Claremore residents don’t know.

“The Historic Walk is something we wanted to add this year for those history buffs in town,” Jackson said. “We guarantee each person will learn something new about the town we call home, and about our downtown, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

Tickets for the Historic Walk are $8 and are limited as well. The tours will be at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18. Tickets go on sale at the Main Street office Nov. 1.

“This might be our best Dickens on the Boulevard yet,” Jackson said. “We’ve added new features while keeping all the activities Claremore has grown to love. There’s so much to do, you really might have to come both days!”

Dickens on the Boulevard is hosted by Claremore Main Street. RCB Bank is a major sponsor of the event while Wantland Law Firm is the saloon sponsor. Supporting sponsors are Price & Sears Law Firm, Claremore Chiropractic, Three-Twenty on Main, Kevin Fortna, CPA, and Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority.

For more information, visit us online, call 918-341-5881 or email .

Seven local women named Leading Ladies

The 2017 Leading Ladies Award winners.

Seven Claremore women were honored with the title Leading Lady when they were recipients of the third annual Leading Ladies Awards, presented this year at the Leading Ladies Expo by News on 6’s LeAnne Taylor earlier this month.

The women were: Rising Star, Caitlyn Campbell; Leader in Health, Dava Baldridge; Behind the Scenes, Kim Prock; Community Supporter, Cindy Bissett; Nonprofit Leadership, Lisa Saylor; Business Leadership, Sarah Fiegener; and Leading Lady of the Year, Jill Ferenc.

Each woman was honored with a special plaque and a custom Rustic Cuff with the words “Leading Lady” on it.

The awards were presented by KOTV News on 6’s LeAnne Taylor, a local news anchor and breast cancer survivor. Prior to the ceremony, Taylor gave a brief talk about her three-decade history as a news anchor in Tulsa.

“It was an honor to have LeAnne Taylor present the awards this year,” said Jessica Jackson, director of Claremore Main Street. “All our Leading Ladies were incredibly deserving. We were pleased with the quality of nominations we received.”

The Leading Ladies Expo was held on Oct. 12 at the Claremore Conference Center. It featured shopping, massages, hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants, wine samples, a health seminar by Utica Park Clinic and our presenting sponsor Hillcrest Hospital, a selfie station, hand massages and a lot of great door prizes in addition to the awards.

The Expo and awards are hosted annually by the Claremore Chamber of Commerce and Claremore Main Street. An out-of-town panel judged the nominations.

Major sponsors of this year’s event were A&B Bail BondsAutumn Wood, BancFirst, Carol’s Place Hair & Nail Salon, Northeast Tech, The Pink HouseRCB BankTulsa Federal Credit Union and Wallace for Life. Media partner was Values Magazine.

The Chamber and Main Street are both nonprofit organizations designed to better improve the quality of life in Rogers County and enhance business success in the area.


Rising Star: Caitlyn Campbell, RSU Student and Volunteers for Youth volunteer

Caitlyn Campbell is on her way to big things in life.

Currently a Rogers State University sophomore, Campbell is committed to staying involved in the community in addition to her full-time student status as a business administration major. She is active on campus with the RSU Young Professionals and the Honors Program.

Additionally, Campbell gives her time to the PAL Program at Volunteers for Youth, where she has been engaged in the organization’s U-Turn Academy as a tutor and has volunteered to help at their events.

“Her boundless energy and heart for service demonstrate the qualities of a rising star in our Claremore community,” one nomination said.


Leader in Health: Dava Baldridge, Chief Nursing Officer at Hillcrest Claremore

Dava Baldridge, like many other leading ladies, puts others before herself.

She has dedicated her life to improving the health of others as the Chief Nursing Officer and Operating Officer at Hillcrest Claremore Hospital.

She is known to go above and beyond with nursing care for the patients in Claremore, and is always around to lend a hand to a patient’s family in need. She has served in Claremore for more than two decades and is involved in several state and national associations for nursing.

The care Baldridge and others at the hospital give the patients earned Hillcrest Claremore a position among the top 10 percent in the nation for patient safety. In 2012, she was named the Ardent CNO of the Year and three years previous, she received the Community Health Systems CNO of the Year.


Behind the Scenes: Kim Prock, Thrift Harbor District Manager

Kim Prock exemplifies her leadership skills by going above and beyond in her job duties to continue to improve her organization.

As now the District Manager for Thrift Harbor, Prock took on a new challenge – a new life purpose – when she decided to help Hope Harbor’s Children’s Home open their first thrift store in 2011. Having now opened three stores, she has brought experience in retail sales, customer relations and volunteer recruitment.

Always leading others, Prock also serves as a mentor to many other women in the community to seek their greater potential and take pride in the efforts.

“She is a light to the community,” one nomination said. “Her presence alone exemplifies compassion with confidence … Kim accomplishes everything she puts her mind to, and we have all the confidence that she will continue to be the real driving force behind the great success of Thrift Harbor.”


Community Supporter: Cindy Bissett, Claremore Main Street retired Director and volunteer, Chamber of Commerce volunteer

Leadership is action – not simply a title or position, which is something Cindy Bissett takes to heart.

After more than 10 years leading the efforts in downtown revitalization, Bissett’s passion and community spirit is reflected in the thriving and bustling district Claremore’s downtown has become once again.

She used her conviction to inspire others, leading Board members, volunteers and others in Main Street’s vision. In addition to her more-than-full-time workload, Cindy would volunteer for other organizations and at other events.

Now retired, Cindy’s still working tirelessly at community events.

“Her heart continues to reflect someone who has a spirit of community,” one nomination said. “Cindy is consistently involved: working tirelessly at community events, leading by example to those who come in contact with her gregarious nature and joyful attitude.”


Nonprofit Leadership: Lisa Saylor, Mercy Chefs Director

Lisa Saylor shows herself to be selfless, giving up comforts to help those in need.

She is the Managing Chef for Mercy Chefs, an emergency relief organization that helps provide permanent kitchens and water purification systems for communities affected by disaster. She travels to areas in need and serves food those who are stricken with tragedy.

She and her husband have even re-purposed a bus to save on travel expenses to continue her calling. After Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, and after Irma devastated Florida, Lisa was there with helping after helping of compassion, love and service.

“She deserves this award because she would do anything for anyone, Oklahoma or elsewhere,” a nomination said.

Truly showcasing her selfless attitude, Saylor was unable to attend the Leading Ladies Awards as she had been called off to serve in California for wildfire relief.


Business Leadership – Sarah Fiegener, Rye Design Owner and Musician’s Haven Director

Sarah Fiegener is an engineer by trade and a musician by heart.

In addition to serving the community through a nonprofit she runs with her husband called Musician’s Haven, Fiegener is the owner of Rye Design, a custom automation equipment manufacturer in Oklahoma.  Her innovative approaches are used across the nation to improve efficiency and safety in manufacturing.

Despite her talents being sought after nationwide, Fiegener dedicates her free time to her home in Claremore. She volunteers at West Bend Green, Bluegrass & Chili Festival, ZipperQ and with the Claremore Collective fundraisers while also supporting local musical artists with Musicians Haven.

“Prior to her efforts behind Musicians Haven and their community music center, Claremore did not have nearly the cultural opportunities she has led,” one nomination said, “Sarah’s many efforts show her deep love for Claremore, while leading with grace.”


Leading Lady of the Year – Jill Ferenc, City Planner

The Leading Lady of the Year is someone who exemplifies all the qualities of a Leading Lady, both in the workplace and outside of it. Jill Ferenc received a number of nomination from people she works for, people who work for her, colleagues and community members. She is clearly an asset to many.

Ferenc is the City Planner in Claremore, working often behind the scenes to improve the community she calls home. She treats everyone the same – whether it’s a multimillion dollar developer or an average citizen with a backyard project – Jill gives them her full devotion

“She can make you feel that you are the most important person around because she takes the time to really listen to our needs,” one nomination said.

She’s involved in numerous organizations in addition to her full-time job and role as a mother of a toddler, including Claremore Main Street, Grand Gateway, Claremore Collective, Rogers County Transportation Organization Policy Board and Oklahoma Chapter of the American Planning Association, of which she’s secretary.

“She lead from the front of the pack but pushes her employees to receive the recognition,” another nomination said. “Jill is the type of leader who does everything for others and wants nothing in return.”

“She has a can-do attitude and is tenacious in her dedication to our City,” another nomination letter stated. “She is a true leader, a true lady, and a great friend, to both myself and this City.”

Food Truck Thursday brings a Nightmare on Main Street

Guys and ghouls can wrap up the Food Truck Thursday season with Nightmare on Main Street, celebrating All Hallows’ Eve a few days early on Oct. 26.

The monthly event features food, live music, shopping and fun for all ages from 6-9 p.m. In October, a record more than 20 food trucks will line the streets while attendees can enjoy live music from local artist Matt Mason and do some late-night shopping.

Additionally, there will be a free Kids Zone by Cedar Point Church, a 4H Cupcake Decorating Contest at 320 on Main and beer from the Main Street Tavern.

Food Truck Thursday is always free and open to the public, but food and some activities do cost extra.

Visitors should come in costume to participate in the free costume contest. Contestants in three age groups will be judged based on Most Authentic, Most Creative, Most Original and Best Effort. The age groups are 0-5 years old, 6-12 years old and 13 and older.

“Last year’s costume contest was a huge hit. We were overwhelmed by the quality of the costumes, so we decided to do things a bit differently this year,” said Jessica Jackson, executive director of Claremore Main Street. “A panel of three judges will look over each costume and award four winners per age group based on different costume qualities.”

Judging will take place in the 500 block between 6-7 p.m. Winners will be announced on stage at 7:30 p.m. Costumes should be appropriate for a family-friendly event.

“We are excited to see what Claremore brings out this year,” Jackson added.

Many of the stores will have candy for trick-or-treaters who come by in costume. Other Halloween-themed activities will take place as well.

The Kids Zone by Cedar Point Church is completely free to attendees, but parents are asked to watch their children while they enjoy the games and fun activities. There will be pumpkin putt putt, ball toss and witch pitch games in addition to free snacks.

The Kids Zone has moved to the 500 block at the corner of Missouri Avenue and Will Rogers Boulevard to make room for more food trucks down the center of the street.

TLC 4-H is hosting a Cupcake Decorating Contest at 320 on Main beginning at 6 p.m. Pre-entry is required and available at Crystal Pistol Boutique/Mom & Pop Ceramics Shoppe, 323 W. Will Rogers Blvd.

The cost for individuals is $5 and teams and families compete for $8. Cupcakes, icing and tools provided. For more information, call Donna Daley at 918-613-1501.

Food trucks include Alpha Grill Food Truck​The Bacon Food TruckBreenie’Z PretzelsCurbside Comfort, ​C&J ConcessionsDorothy’s WichesHoops Philly TruckHot Mess BBQ, ​Kona IceLa Hermosa Taco Truck, Maw & Paw Kettle Corn, Moose Trax, Not Your Grandma’s CupcakesPie in the SkyPot Lickers, Purple People FeedersRaphael’s Southern BBQRopin Flamingo Italian IceTaqueria El Jarocho and Wild Al’s.

Food Truck Thursday runs monthly on the final Thursday of the month from May to October. This will be the final one of season.

The monthly event is hosted by the Downtown Claremore Merchants Association and Claremore Main Street, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of the downtown district and reigniting the area as the social core of our community.

For more information, visit our webpage or join the Facebook event.