MADILL – A Texoma favorite and hometown tradition is officially in full swing. Monday marked the kick-off the 34th annual National Sand Bass Festival. Lake Texoma was once known as the king of Sand Bass fishing and although those fish are no longer served up these days, the name and the tradition lives on.
The Sand Bass Festival in downtown Madill seems to have in all – from a variety of games, to lots of rides, to and tons of food.
For the Hurst Family this was their first visit to the annual festival.
"It's good so far, he's got spider man,” said Jami Hurst right after her toddler helped to win a prize at the Water Racing game.
But the Sand Bass Festival isn’t just for the young ones or the first timers. Jack McConnell of the Creekmore Masonic Lodge has been a local vendor for almost 10 years.
“We’d really like to have people come by,” said McConnell. “I’m pretty of proud of my carpentry.”
Every year McConnell builds a custom piece of furniture to help the nonprofit, charitable organization raise money. This year the mason handcrafted a solid oak blanket chest. But the modest carpenter says the booth is about more than just his handy work.
"The Masonic needs recognition,” said McConnel. We're part of the community. We're a charitable organization, and we'd like to have people know we're available."
But the festival reaches far beyond the Creekmore Masonic Lodge and the banks of Lake Texoma. Festival Chairman Doug Blevins said last year people traveled from as far away as Europe and Australia to take part in the fun and he couldn’t be more proud of the festival.
“The United Stated Tourism organization recognized us as a national festival because of how much we bring in and how many people were coming in,” explained Blevins. “It's a pretty big honor, there are not that many national festivals out there.”
The Sand Bass Festival runs through the weekend, with free, Nashville-inspired entertainment taking the stage Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.