MADILL, Okla. (KTEN) — Instead of cars and traffic, Madill's town square is lined with vendors, food, games, and carnival rides this week during the National Sand Bass Festival.

It's a tradition that keeps families from all over coming back year after year.

"We feel like we are family here in Madill," said Susan McBrien, whose family owns Crown and Associates. "We have watched kids grow up... even haul our grandson with us now. Our family has been here since the early 80s, when the event started back up again."

The festival brings people together from all over..

"I started working for them about seven years ago," said McBrien's grandson, Corban Zugelder. "And ever since then I've gotten to know a lot of people here in Madill and some of the other events as well."

But before the turkey legs and fresh squeezed lemonade, there were sand bass.

"We have people from all over the United States that actually plan their vacation around the Sand Bass Festival," said event chairman Donny Raley.

The fish fry brought thousands of people to Madill, Oklahoma.

"The last year that they did it in the mid 70s they fed 28,000 people," Raley said.

The event started as a fishing tournament in 1963.

"All the fish that were caught didn't go to waste; it was fried up and served to people free of charge," Raley said.

But the event went on hiatus after 1978.

"It just outgrew Madill," Raley explained.

After 10 years, it opened back up with new entertainment and fun for the whole family.

But the name will always be there to help remember where the tradition comes from.

Click here for a full look at the schedule.

2024 Sand Bass Festival schedule.