Main Street programs across the state were celebrated recently during the 32nd Annual Oklahoma Main Street Awards Banquet, held September 20 in Oklahoma City at the Embassy Suites Downtown Medical Center Hotel. Sponsors for this year’s event included The Cherokee Nation, The Chickasaw Nation and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
“The Main Street Awards Banquet celebrates the imaginative, and hardworking people who are dedicated to revitalizing and preserving the historic commercial districts in their communities across Oklahoma,” said Buffy Hughes, director of the Oklahoma Main Street program. “It’s always competitive, as well as highly coveted, and these awards emphasize and embody the best people, programs, design, and events happening on Main Street. Congratulations to all the winners and a huge thank you to our sponsors for helping us honor the people who want the best for their corner of Oklahoma.”
Programs across the state competed in 20 award categories representing the “four points” of the Main Street Approach – Organization, Promotion, Economic Vitality and Design. Panels of outside judges for each point reviewed the entries and determined the winners. In addition, Program of the Year and Director of the Year were also recognized.
To determine the Main Street Program of the Year, the Oklahoma Main Street Center measures various quality ratings for each local Main Street program. These include meeting the 10 Standards of National Accreditation and other activities such as attending the annual awards banquet and additional trainings, timely submission of Main Street Award nominations and reinvestment reports, etc. This award is a mark of program excellence, and measured involvement within the program.
The 2021 Main Street Program of the Year:
Main Street Enid, Inc.
In the world of Main Street, people tend to lose their last names once becoming a Main Street Director. This was certainly true of “Watonga Bob.” Always an informal guy on a first-name-basis-as-soon-as-he-met-you, Bob Shoemaker took on the program director position later in life after a successful business career. He passed away suddenly in 2010 but not before leaving an indelible mark in the Oklahoma Main Street world. A common refrain heard about Bob was “when all others said it couldn’t be done, he went to work and got it done.” In 2011, the Program Director of the Year award was renamed in honor of “Watonga Bob” Shoemaker because of his work ethic, service to his community and promotion of the Main Street Program.
The 2021 Watonga Bob Shoemaker Award Recipient:
Melyn Johnson, Main Street Guymon, Inc.
The Four-Point award winners for 2021 are:
Kendall Whittier – George Kaiser Family Foundation
Best Community Education/Public Awareness
Guymon – Virtual Fiesta
Best Volunteer Development Program
Newkirk – Paint Main
Main Street Hero
Newkirk – Hannah Cross
Best Creative Fundraising Effort
Kendall Whittier – Kendall Whittier Rent Relief Program
Premier Special Event Under 1,000 Attendees
Hobart – Hometown Harvest Day
Premier Special Event Over 1,000 Attendees
Enid – Holidays on Ice
Best Retail Event
Enid – Comic Con Crazy Days
Outstanding Image Promotion
Kendall Whittier – visitKendallWhittier.com
Creative New Event
Tahlequah – Veteran Banner Program
Best Placemaking Project
Enid – Under Her Wings was the Universe
Best Interior Design Project
Kendall Whittier – American Solera
Best Façade Rehabilitation Under $10,000
El Reno – El Reno Main Street Façade
Best Façade Rehabilitation Over $10,000
Okmulgee – Ford Lofts
Best Visual Merchandising
Collinsville – Farm Hippie Farmers Market
Best Building/Business Branding
Enid – Settlers Brewing Co.
Best Adaptive Reuse Project
Kendall Whittier – Four. Seven. Three.
Best Business Practices
Altus – Gunkel Law Group
Ponca City – Ponca City Development Authority
Best New Business
Enid – Enid Brewing Co.
Businesses of the Year
Durant – Roma Italian Restaurant
Tulsa Route 66 – Red Fork Distillery
The Oklahoma Main Street Center would also like to thank the Embassy Suites Oklahoma City Downtown Medical Center Hotel, Cory’s Audio Visual, Evergreen Productions, Inc., Jerry Hymer Photography and Dale Rogers Training Center Awards for their help in putting together this year’s banquet.
For more information about each of the awards or the Oklahoma Main Street Center, please call (405) 815-6552 or visit OKcommerce.gov/mainstreet.