50 Stories 50 Years: Seminole National Historical Society’s Sorghum Festival

Cooking-Sorghum

Sorghum makers cooking sorghum at Wewoka’s annual Sorghum Festival

Seminole Nation Historical Society, Inc – Wewoka  |  501(c)(3) Non-profit  |   www.theseminolenationmuseum.org

 

Wewoka’s annual Sorghum Festival boasts over 150 vendors and draws visitors from across the country.

Begun by the Wewoka Rotary Club in 1976 to promote the Seminole Nation Museum, the event has grown and continues to celebrate the unique mix of cultures found in the Territory.

Funding from the Oklahoma Arts Council supports the gamut of events at the Sorghum festival. From the sorghum makers, to historical re-enactments, children’s crafts, a parade, and live music, the festival highlights local history and material culture – both important components of community vitality in rural towns like Wewoka.

In recent years, the town’s tax revenue has decreased as the loss of independent businesses, decreasing population, declining property taxes, and increasing cost of maintaining aging infrastructure have converged in a perfect but not unfamiliar storm.

For the Seminole National Historical Society, a decrease in public funding means a decrease in advertising and promotion of the festival and a decrease in the number and quality of exhibitors and demonstrators appearing at the event.

The ripple effect of such cuts would be detrimental to the attendance and economic impact of this cultural and economic draw in Wewoka.

The Seminole National Historical Society knows that cultural facilities and the events they host, like the Sorghum Festival, can contribute to community vitality by enhancing property values, growing tax resources, and becoming a direct contributor to community revitalization.

These community contributions by the Seminole National Historical Society would be severely impaired if the Oklahoma Arts Council budget were to receive further cuts.

This story celebrates 50 years of the Oklahoma Arts Council and how the state’s investments have positive ripple effects on communities across Oklahoma. See other stories or follow this link for more information.