2017 Prince of Peace Easter Pageant
The annual Prince of Peace Easter Passion Play is a narrated dramatization of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This Easter passion play is the longest running of its kind in the United States. Created in 1926, this passion play drama is held outdoors in the Holy City of the Wichitas near Lawton with the stunning Wichita Mountains serving as a backdrop.
Make sure to attend this signature event at the Holy City of the Wichitas Saturday, April 15, starting at 8:30 p.m.
Remember to dress warm, in layers, bring your lawn chairs and blankets. They suggest coming out early in the afternoon on Saturday to find a good spot on Audience Hill. There is no admission charge or tickets. They do ask for donations, but will not turn anyone away if you choose not to donate.
Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club's All Corvette Show & Wichita Mountains Dinner Cruise Weekend
The Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club's All Corvette Show & Wichita Mountains Dinner Cruise Weekend was in Lawton March 24 – 25.
The show took place at the Apache Casino Hotel with activities on Friday and Saturday. Corvette Clubs from around the state of Oklahoma as well as Texas, Kansas, and Arkansas, attended.
Classic Lawton Chevrolet began the event with a Welcome Reception from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 24. From the dealership, participants went on a 60 mile cruise through the Wichita Wildlife Refuge on route to a dinner banquet at the Apache Casino Hotel. On Saturday, March 25, the club hosted a Corvette show that featured over 100 Corvettes.
A significant portion of proceeds from the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club's All Corvette Show & Wichita Mountains Dinner Cruise Weekend were given to local charities.
Great Plains Coliseum was taken over by robots
On February 11, 2017 The Great Plains Coliseum was taken over by robots, yes you heard that correct!
Students and mentors from all over the state of Oklahoma traveled to Lawton Fort Sill this past weekend to show off their robots and to compete in a day-long competition. Over 20 teams competed for the chance to go to the World Vex Robotic Competition. This event showcased the promising youth we have in our Lawton Fort Sill community and also in the state of Oklahoma.
Comanche County Basketball Tournament
Visitors flocked to Lawton for the Annual Comanche County Basketball Tournament this past week. There were over 8,000 people at the Great Plains Coliseum over the course of the 5 day tournament. Family and friends from three counties in Oklahoma came to Lawton to support their team. These fans ate in our restaurants, shopped in our local shops and purchased gasoline here. This tournament is a great tradition that Lawton looks forward to hosting every year. Thank you Comanche County Basketball Tournament for having such a positive influence on our community!
Visitors in Lawton
Despite the snowy weather participants and crowds still made it out to The Great Plains Coliseum and Expo Center to support the "On Target with Kiwanis" Archery Tournament and the Great Plains Winter National Pig, Lamb and Goat show. The archery tournament had 183 archers and over 300 viewers. The Great Plains Winter National had over 300 pens full of pigs and lambs. This year’s events included something new, a goat show with 40 goats were exhibited.
Lawton Loves Basketball
The Annual Comanche County Basketball Tournament starts January 16th and will go through January 21st at the Great Plains Coliseum. The tournament includes five schools from Comanche County, two from Cotton County, and one from Tillman County. The tournament has been in existence for over 70 years and is a great tradition in our community. Make sure you come out and support the youth of the Southwest!
We’re excited to show you the progress of the new Apache Casino Hotel Event Center that will be opening this Spring! The new venue will be a great place to host banquets, conferences, weddings and concerts.
The event center will be able to seat up to 1,200 people comfortably. For a more intimate feel, there are also three VIP balcony boxes. They will be kicking off their opening with three concerts, The Oak Ridge Boys on March 23, Special 38 on April 6, and Montgomery Gentry April 20.
We hope to see everyone at the Business After Hours that Apache Casino Hotel will be hosting at their new Event Center February 16, 2017.
James Farrell Award Presented at City Council
The James Farrell Award was present at City Council
The James Farrell Award of Excellence is rewarded to cities that do an outstanding job of hosting ASA/USA Softball National Championship Finals. To receive the award, cities must attain an overall rating of 95 percent or greater from the ASA/USA Representative, Umpire-In-Chief and National Office.
Visitors coming to Lawton
Visitors will be eating in Lawton restaurants, shopping and buying gas as they compete in the Great Plains Winter National January 6-7 at the Comanche County Fairgrounds. This is an open premier regional show that is held the second week of January each year.
The show will run Friday evening and all day Saturday. This year’s event will feature something new for attendees, a goat show on Friday. Last year the Great Plains National Pig and Lamb show had 300 heads of livestock and 64 room nights.
The show is open to the public and the community is encouraged to come watch the event. Questions about the show can be directed to Show Chairman Robert Spencer at 580-591-2604 or find them on Facebook.
Help us welcome visiting families!
Every week we welcome hundreds of families who arrive into our community to celebrate the graduation of their soldier at Fort Sill. Many of them are new to the Army life and what military community should look like. We want to enhance their experience while in the Lawton Fort Sill community but cannot do it alone. We are looking to increase the number of volunteers that help us to greet these visiting families to our community.
Help us show the families of our brave service members that we are not Lawton and Fort Sill, but a community of one known as Lawton Fort Sill. Call 580-355-3541 to volunteer.
Family coming to town for the Holidays?
Come by the Chamber and grab a tourism guide jam-packed with things to do in Lawton!
During the ASA-USA Conference in Shreveport, LA Lawton- Fort Sill received the James Farrell Award of Excellence for being one of the Highest Rated Tournaments for 2016. The James Farrell Award of Excellence is rewarded to cities that do an outstanding job of hosting ASA/USA Softball National Championship Finals. To receive the award, cities must attain an overall rating of 95 percent or greater from the ASA/USA Representative, Umpire-In-Chief and National Office.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau welcomed visitors at Open Streets last weekend. They had gifts for tourists, and a drawing open to anyone at the event.
The Agriculture Committee has decided that instead of producing the Wichita Mountains Classic they will recruit new events to the community that have seen exponential growth in the last few years such as the Junior Mini Hereford show.
This redirection could have a huge positive economic impact on our community as new events bring in new visitors to our community. It is always important, as the world of Agri-Tourism changes, we must be fluid and adapt. We applaud our Agriculture Committee for coming together to bring new and exciting events in to Lawton.
Agriculture events create an economic impact in Lawton Fort Sill
When you’re thinking of events in Lawton Fort Sill the first thing that comes to mind may not be Agriculture events, but they play a large role in our community. One of Lawton’s Signature Events is the Wichita Mountain Classic, which is a heifer and pre-junior show the first weekend in December but we have many Agriculture events for you to enjoy.
Join us for two events this month, the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America presenting the 2016 Horn Showcase October 20 – 23, and the Buffalo Auction on October 20.
Texas Longhorn cattle are featured in the annual Horn Showcase, the premiere horn measuring contest of the TLBAA. Each year, this event breaks the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for length of horn. This event is expected to bring together the very best TLBAA Texas Longhorn cattle in the established classes to showcase the breed to cattlemen, spectators, future breeders and fans from all walks of life. The 2016 Horn Showcase will be held at the Great Plains Coliseum. The event expects to draw more than 500 spectators and participants from across the U.S. and Canada.
The largest animal measured last year was Lazy J Bluegrass. He was 119.5" tip to tip and 140.1875 total horn. He sold this last weekend in Fort Worth for 48,000.
TLBAA will bring many visitors to our community, to stay in local hotels, shop in local stores, and eat at local restaurants. Are you ready for the influx in visitors?
The Buffalo Auction will be held out at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Anyone is welcome to come out and have a great time. This event is unique to Lawton! The Convention and Visitors Bureau will be serving a $5.00 lunch at the event so stop by and say hello.
Lawton Ranger PRCA Rodeo
Lawton Rangers PRCA Rodeo is currently rated 37 in the US.
Over 400 of the most skilled cowboys and cowgirls in the country completed in the tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, barrel racing.
Oklahoma State Firefighters Association to hold convention in Lawton
The Oklahoma State Firefighters Association will host their 122nd annual convention in Lawton from June 8th to June 11th.
The convention will host nearly 600 active duty and retired firefighters, and will begin with networking activities for attendees before digging into the business of the event said Deputy Fire Chief Raanon Adams.
While work is the primary focus of the conference, there are also multiple opportunities to have fun and build camaraderie between fellow firefighters. On Wednesday, the firefighters will enjoy a variety of fun networking opportunities from fishing at Lake Lawtonka and Lake Ellsworth to a Skeet Shoot Tournament at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The convention will close with a banquet at the Lawton Fort Sill Convention Center.
In addition to professional development and entertainment, Adams said there will be a memorial service on Thursday, stating that “it is the best part of the whole convention.”
“It recognizes all of the firefighters that passed away in the previous year,” Adams said, “The names those honored in the service will be engraved into the firefighters memorial in Oklahoma City.”
The convention will take place mainly at the Hilton Garden Inn and Convention center, but the convention will also be holding various networking events throughout the community. Jacob Russell, Director of the Lawton Fort Sill Convention and Visitors Bureau, said events of this magnitude involve the whole Lawton Fort Sill community.
“It really becomes all hands on deck,” he said, adding that there will be plenty of free time for attendees to get out and explore the area. “From smiles, warm welcomes and friendly interactions, Lawtonians always go above and beyond to make guests feel welcome. That goes a long way in developing good memories of conventions in our city.”
The theme for the convention is “Fortituda per Unitatem” meaning “Strength in Unity”. Adams said this is representative of all of the firefighters throughout the state coming together.
“Everyone has got to be joined together,” Adams said, “That is why we choose strength through Unity.”
Southwest Oklahoma receives 4 travel industry awards
Pictured: Lane Hooton, chief operating officer of Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma;Andrea Hadley, manager of community relations and development for the Comanche County Memorial Hospital; Lori Cummins, director of marketing and development for the hospital; and Jacob Russell, director of the Lawton Fort Sill Convention and Visitors Bureau
Southwest Oklahomans took home four awards during the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association’s recent RedBud Gala, including top awards for Comanche County Memorial Hospital and the Duncan Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Memorial received the top RedBud Award in the Outstanding Event category for the Spirit of Survival run. The Duncan Convention & Visitors Bureau received the RedBud for Best Brochure or Publication — Tri-fold or single sheet for Duncan Calendar.com.
The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan won two Merit awards for Outstanding Attraction and Outstanding New Event for its Campfire, Cattle & Cowboys Gathering.
The last time a Lawton organization received a RedBud Award was in 2007, when Great Plains Country and the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce won the honor for Best Partnership.
“We are elated,” said Lori Cummins, director of marketing and development for the hospital. “We’ve been working so hard on this event for 11 years and to get recognition from such a prestigious organization validates, to me, we’re doing something right.”
The annual event raises funds for the Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma and promotes awareness of cancer, but creating tourism was always one of the goals, she said.
“We’ve always dreamed, from the very beginning, that this would become a successful event in Oklahoma and our community.”
The very first Spirit of Survival was at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Medicine Park. Heavy rain made for a soggy day for the 300 people who turned out.
But the event has grown considerably since then, even as it moved to Elmer Thomas Park in Lawton. Last year’s combinations of long-distance and fun runs drew 4,000 participants and 15,000 visitors last year.
“Hopefully this year we’ll be well over 4,000 participants and be more of a tourism draw to our community,” she said.
Cummins said the event has thrived because of the support from the city, the chamber, businesses and individuals, and it depends heavily on volunteers.
“This community has supported us from the first year,” she said.
Jacob Russell, director of the Lawton Fort Sill Convention and Visitors Bureau, nominated Memorial for the award, and Cummins and Andrea Hadley, manager of community relations and development for the hospital, provided the information for the submission.
“The RedBud award, year after year, is highly competitive and highly sought after,” he said.
Being able to advertise the event as a RedBud winner should provide a boost for the event and the community.
“That carries a lot of weight, especially to folks in the tourism industry,” he said.
The awards were presented last week at the Oklahoma History Center.
Open Casting Call for American Indians for Background Extras in LAWTON, OK
A NEW Television Series on AMC
SATURDAY, MAY 28TH from 12-5PM
Comanche Nation Headquarters Old Conference Room
584 NW Bingo Rd.
Lawton, OK 73507.
Brock/Allen Casting is hosting an OPEN CASTING CALL for AMERICAN INDIANS to be BACKGROUND EXTRAS in a new AMC series, The Son,a period piece based on the Award Winning novel by Philipp Meyer. Filming to begin in TEXAS early June - September 2016.
ALL POSITIONS PAID!
NEEDED: AMERICAN INDIAN ETHNICITIES. Males AND Females, AGES 18+, NO visible tattoos or body modifications. Headshots welcome; photos will be taken onsite.
SPECIFIC LOOKS/SKILLS NEEDED: MALE BAREBACK RIDERS, AGES 18 - 45. *All American Indians will be portraying primarily Comanche.
SYNOPSIS: The Son,is a “frank, even-handed look at the various cultures of the American West, warts and all.” There are no heroes and no villains in the rise of Texas. One of the important goals of this series is to establish a new perspective on the culture clashes of the American West and portray the TRUE story of this period of American history.
***If you cannot attend the open casting call, please submit your contact information, a current photo, availability, and city of residence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oklahoma Conference on Tourism
Adam Weber, with Bluebridge, presented on mobile apps and responsive websites.
The Oklahoma Conference on Tourism is an annual event that helps Oklahoma's tourism industry work together to grow our attractions and communities. With the help of a line-up of experts, attendees are kept abreast of the latest trends, tactics and tools needed to maximize opportunity, energize marketing efforts and set the path to sustained growth. They gain insight into current and coming travel trends, share best practices with industry peers, and get real ideas on how to reach more prospective travelers every day
Lt. Governor's Travel & Tourism Summits
The Oklahoma Travel Industry Association has again partnered with Lt. Governor Todd Lamb to produce the Lt. Governor's Travel & Tourism Summits, which will be held around the state. Each half-day program provides tourism education featuring speakers covering a range of topics on best practices to promote tourism in your region, and includes a townhall-type discussion by the Lt. Governor on tourism development in each of the areas visited around the state.
Tourism brings big dollars to city
Tourism is thriving in Oklahoma and is ranked as the third largest industry in the state. The most recent study - completed in December 2015 - shows the total direct travel spending in the state at approximately $8.9 billion annually.
This week, we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, and it's important to remember that Lawton-Fort Sill is a major player in state tourism. As the largest city in Southwest Oklahoma, and one of the largest in the state, our community is in a fortunate position to capitalize on travelers. And the numbers show, we benefited from $195.1 million in direct travel spending in 2014. Our unique location at the foothills of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and the historical significance of Fort Sill, allow our city remain a destination of choice for travelers and meeting planners.
As great as our tourism opportunities are, we would not find the success we have without the hard work of tourism professionals and volunteers within the industry. Whether you visit the Field Artillery or Air Defense Artillery Museums on Fort Sill, the Museum of the Great Plains or the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center, visitors are always greeted with a warm welcome from knowledgeable staffs.
This same enthusiasm welcomes guests and extends beyond our historical sites. Our local arts community works tirelessly to bring in and host diverse events such as Lawton Community Theater, Lawton Philharmonic, Arts For All, Chautauqua and the International Festival to educate and entertain our citizens and guests to the city.
It takes a team effort to help change perception, and that is exactly what has been taking place in Lawton-Fort Sill. Long gone are the days of saying "there is nothing to do in Lawton."
Finding family-friendly entertainment for the evening or the weekend is now as simple as checking one of the many community calendars promoting activities within our area. Check Lawton Calendar!
As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, be sure to thank those tourism professionals working to enhance visitor's experiences. Those individuals are also working to improve the quality of life for all Lawtonians.
How tourism impacts local economies
Thanks to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department for sharing with us the results from their tourism research studies completed in 2015. The reports may be accessed on TravelOK under the Tourism Industry Research & Reports link at http://www.travelok.com/industry_reports.
Lawton to be Host Site for Oklahoma Museum Association Conference
The Lawton Fort Sill Convention and Visitors Bureau is pleased to announce Lawton will be the host site for the 2017 Oklahoma Museum Association Annual Fall Conference. The conference will be held Sept. 20 – 22, 2017.
The Oklahoma Museum Association (OMA) Fall Conference provides leadership, education, and professional development opportunities members of the association, according to Brenda Granger, OMA Executive Director. This event is expected to bring approximately 200 people to the Lawton area.
Granger said Lawton stood out as a host site because of its strong support of museums and cultural organizations.
“The Museum of the Great Plains has a long history and reputation of being a leader in the Oklahoma museums community,” she said. “OMA is proud of the Museum of the Great Plains board in the fact that when they were offered the opportunity to undergo extensive renovations, they stepped up to the challenge. It will be fun to showcase one of the top museums in Oklahoma, and the region.”
The Museum of the Great Plains recently underwent nearly $4 million in renovations. The museum is now very interactive and family oriented, offering hands-on exhibits in an effort to breathe new life into history.
John Hernandez, Executive Director at Museum of the Great Plains, believes that this is the perfect time for Oklahoma Museum Association to bring this conference to Lawton.
“It can be difficult for old-style museums to recreate ‘experiences’ from the past,” Hernandez said, “but immersive, interactive exhibits help visitors participate in past events, and can give them a sense of what life was really like. It's the difference between only looking at a mammoth bone in a case that someone excavated, or trying to excavate one yourself, like our visitors can do in our dig site interactive. Our visitors can see the real thing in a case, but they can also get a sense of what it was like for the people who dug up the bone.”
The conference will span multiple locations in Lawton, including both the Lawton Fort Sill Convention Center and the Museum of the Great Plains.
“It is an honor to host the OMA Conference in Lawton,” Hernandez said. “All eyes will be on us as a city that has made great strides. We want our conference attendees to compare past and future conferences to what we offer, and to the great time they had here.”