National Sand Bass Festival Begins - - No One Gets You Closer

National Sand Bass Festival Begins

MADILL, OK -- The courthouse square in Madill is transformed as the National Sand Bass Festival gets ready to kickoff.

The rides are ready, the plush prizes are awaiting their winners, and all the delicious fried food that's a friend of your arteries and mine is piping hot.

Which means it's time for this year's installment of the Sand Bass Festival.

"The square is full and you know people are just backed up and parked from one end of town to the other," said Terry Rushing, a Madill resident.

Board members of the festival say the week long hub of activity helps give a boost to local businesses.

"It draws many people into our community, those people spend money here and it's great for our town," said J.J. Self.

Foot traffic was light Monday afternoon as attractions and food vendors were continuing to set up, but committee members with the Sand Bass Festival say by this weekend, they're expecting crowds of close to 10,000 people.

That's more than three times Madill's listed population of 3,770--according to the US Census.

But vendors like Susan McBrien, who's been traveling to the festival since the mid-eighties, says it's the quality not quantity that counts.

"The local people, they really enjoy working the event as well as going to the event," said McBrien. "It helps us have that hometown feel."

Gary Pinkerton, another veteran vendor from Broken Arrow, says that's why he's been coming back for 20 years.

"That's what makes this festival so unique and so much fun," said Pinkerton.

A big Sand Bass Festival, with small time charm.

"Even amongst the vendors we're like our own little community here," said Pinkerton. "It's just a lot of fun. Everyone should come out and enjoy."

The festival runs until this Saturday.
Food vendors open at 11 AM every day, with free concerts beginning at 8:30.