The National Sand Bass Festival – Madill’s “Jumpin’ Little Summer Fest”, held the first full week in June, attracts 30,000 people each year from all across the United States. Held on Madill’s town square, the festival features a carnival, an arts and crafts fair, food booths and an entertainment slate. Events include the King Sandie Fun Run, King Sandie Fishing Tournament, and the 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. There are also terrapin races, a car show, talent search, and games and competitions for children. Free Nightly Concerts featuring local bands, gospel singing, talent search winners, and well known Nashville Recording Artists. Past performers include John Michael Montgomery, John Anderson, Sawyer Brown, T. Graham Brown, Billy Joe Royal, The Forrester Sisters, John Conlee, Exile, Eddy Raven, Kingsmen, The Florida Boys, Brian White, Mark Chestnut, Steel Magnolia, Buddy Jewel, and Blake Shelton.
Fort Washita, dating back to 1842, is located between Madill and Durant on Highway 199. Established to protect the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians from the more warlike Plains Indians, the fort was active until the start of the Civil War, about 1861, when it was abandoned. Confederate forces from Texas occupied the fort and it became a major supply depot for Confederate troops. The Fort Washita Volunteers meet at the fort every fourth Thursday at 7pm to study the fort’s history. There are many reenactments groups who use Fort Washita for their camps. One of the largest and most interesting is the Mountain Man Rendezvous, held the first weekend in April. Over 200 participants camp out in authentic surroundings and dress in period clothing. Visitors will number 25,000 to this event, and the reenactors are especially interested in showing school children through the camp and explaining life in the 1800s to them. The fort is open year-round during daylight hours at no charge. (580) 924-6502.
Museum of Southern Oklahoma and Marshall County Genealogical & Historical Society – The Museum of Southern Oklahoma began preserving yesterday for Marshall County in 1975. Since then, it has continued to bring together and assist those interested in the discovery and collection of the history and genealogy of Marshall County. Also available is specialized family and genealogical research. Hours are based upon volunteer availability. Admission is free. (580) 795-5060. 400 W. Overton, Madill.
Kingston has a City Park located in the heart of Kingston. Madill has 2 City Parks: one with tennis courts, basketball courts and swimming pool, and another with a fishing pond, walking track and soccer field.
The Madill FFA Rodeo occurs in April and is the oldest rodeo in Oklahoma. August brings the 65th annual Madill Round Up Club Rodeo. Each showcases rodeo competitors and have earned state and national recognitions.
The annual Madill Art Show, held in October in the Madill Community Center in City Park, features amateur and professional artists from Southern Oklahoma and North Texas competing for prize money and ribbons. The show features several hundred entries of original oils, watercolors, mixed media, pottery, sculpture and junior division entries. At the Guaranteed Purchasers Reception, local business representatives and individuals come to a special reception prior to the opening and select their art object for purchase. This special patronage of the show guarantees that 30 or more entries will be sold prior to the opening of the show to the public. Artists may request a brochure or entry blank from the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce.
Lake Texoma is famous for its striped bass, or striper fishing. The lake record stands at 35.12 pounds (from 1984)!
Golfers are in luck with two excellent courses to use. The championship Chickasaw Pointe Golf Resort, on US 70,has a world-class layout of nearly 7,000 yards of scenic rolling hills, picturesque lake views, and super-smooth bent-grass greens. The Buncombe Creek Golf Course, located in a rural area, offers an ever-changing course to meet the levels of performance of any golfer.
The Marshall County Antique Iron Tractor and Implement Show is in April each year. Activities are scheduled for the young and young at heart. Antique implement demonstrations are given. Activities include tractor pulling, arts & crafts, food vendors, tractor rodeo, tractor games, and lawn mower races. The most important activity that takes place is lots of good wholesome fun.
Fourth of July Fireworks at Texoma Roosevelt Bridge celebrate Independence Day as well as the glory of Lake Texoma.
In September at the fair barns in Madill, the Marshall County Fair is held with activities such as: softball throw contest, stick horse rodeo, pie contest, antique tractor display, car show, and other activities. The Chamber hosts the Little Mr. and Little Miss Marshall County Pageant during the Fair.
The Reuel Little Classic is an annual 5K, 10K and a half-marathon run which honors long-time attorney and political figure Reuel W. Little and is quickly becoming one of the best organized, best attended runs in the state. The run takes place every October in Madill.
There are three community Christmas Parades during December: Kingston Holiday Parade, The Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade in Madill, and the Enos/Cardinal Cove Christmas Parade.
Lebanon celebrates their heritage over the Labor Day holiday with their Annual Homecoming; then in October, they host “Stampede Days” with mutton bustin’, team roping and bar-b-que eating.
National Wildlife Refuge – Located just east of Marshall County off Highway 377, lies the 16,464 acre Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge which is one of more than 540 refuges throughout the United States managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. NWR lies at the upper Washita arm of Lake Texoma and is administered for the benefit of migratory waterfowl in the Central Flyway. Most of the refuge including the 4,500 acre Cumberland Pool, was acquired in 1946. NWR offers wildlife watching, photography, and hiking throughout most of the refuge from March 1 through September 30 and in limited areas during the rest of the year. From October 1 until March 1 the Wildlife Management Unit is closed to all public recreation except limited hunting. Good fishing draws many anglers to Cumberland Pool and the Washita River. Picnickers are welcome and a pavilion is available for group activities.
Other celebrations are announced in the Madill Record, the local newspaper, and through the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce.
National Sand Bass Festival photo provided by www.SandBassFestival.com