The 89er Days celebration held in Guthrie every year which commemorates the land run of April 22, 1889 has been a ritual since the turn of the century as has the buttons that are sold to help pay for the parade and other events going on during this celebration.
And, for Linda Harris, a member of the 89er Parade committee, the past few months have been spent helping create the design for this year’s button which features the celebration theme of “Frontier Oil.” The 89er Days celebration runs April 16-20.
Harris, owner of Willoby’s Feed and Outfitters in Guthrie, said after the committee approved the theme she went to work on the design.
She said she went online and found an artist name Gary Crouch of Burleson, Texas whose latest work focuses on the history of oil and gas and the American West.
The button features Oklahoma’s frontier with an early-day oil well highlighted. The graphic artwork was done by Jarrett George of Red Dirt Graphics of Guthrie.
“I researched this and I found Gary Crouch,” Harris said. “His work to me is amazing. He gave us permission to use one of his prints for the design of the 89er Days button and posters.”
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Harris, a Stillwater resident, said 500 buttons have been printed for this year’s celebration.
The buttons have been a part of the 89er celebration for many years. Since its inception there have been only three individuals having their pictures featured on the buttons. Those include Western film actor Tom Mix, famed rodeo star Lucille Mulhall and Eddie Lou Halsey who was the 89er Parade Queen of 1939 and was featured on the 2011 button. She and her late husband Hump Halsey were featured on the 2004 button.
Harris said the buttons have become a collector’s item for people.
One of those long-time collectors is Mrs. Halsey who recalls that in the early years the Guthrie Chamber of Commerce sent two buttons out to each Guthrie resident and requested two dollars be sent back to the Chamber.
Mrs. Halsey says that way of “selling” the buttons soon disappeared as the money collected never came close to the number of buttons distributed.
Harris said the buttons are now on sale and are available at her store located at 221 E. Harrison Avenue and at various merchants around Guthrie.
She added that she is donating a framed print of Crouch’s work that is depicted on the button to be auctioned off Tuesday, April 16 at the Chuck Wagon dinner held at the Logan County Fairgrounds.
Harris said she is happy with the button’s final look.
“I’m very pleased with our button,” she said. “I’m very proud of it. It stays with our tradition and heritage.”
The ‘89er Celebration activities this year includes the Chuck Wagon dinner served from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16 at the Logan County Fairgrounds. The event includes a dinner, auction and an Irish dance performance from Betty Thompson who served as Miss Oklahoma 2011 and was first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. Other events include a carnival from April 17-21; youth all-star baseball game between Guthrie and Edmond; a classic car show on Friday, April 19; a rodeo at the Logan County Fairgrounds Friday April 19 and Saturday April 20 at the Logan County Fairgrounds and the 89er Day Parade will be held Saturday April 20 at noon former Devon Energy CEO Larry Nichols and his wife Polly serving as parade grand marshals.
For more information visit www.89erdays.com.