Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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March 20, 2014

Noodling tops best festival list — Anyone searching for the most popular festival in all of south-central Oklahoma need only look to a most unique one here in Pauls Valley.

The annual Okie Noodling Festival held in PV each summer was voted tops in the category as part of a Chickasaw Country poll on the best travel destinations in an eight-county region.

This year the poll featured a dozen categories and included more than 50 businesses in the nominations and voting phases.

Topping the list for Best Festival was indeed the local noodling event — something that’s a pretty exciting thing for folks like Erin Creach, who serves as the director of tourism in Pauls Valley.

“We’re very proud to be the host city for what was voted the best festival in the region,” Creach said.

“We look forward to the festival this summer and seeing it grow each year.”

Creach is one of several members on a committee now working to prepare for the 2014 version of Okie Noodling scheduled for June 21 at the same site as last year in Pauls Valley’s Wacker Park.

Other finalists in the festival category were the Chickasaw Annual Meeting and Festival in Tishomingo, CCC Three Sisters Festival in Sulphur, Sand Bass Festival in Madill and Ice Cream Festival in Tuttle.

There were nearly 90,000 individual votes cast by the public in this recent 2014 Best of Chickasaw Country poll.

Officials with Chickasaw Country announced the winners in the 12 categories for this year’s fan-based, two-phase poll.

Paige Williams, director of tourism for the Chickasaw Nation Department of Commerce, said there was a 300 percent increase in voting compared to last year’s vote count of close to 30,000.

She counts the increase as a positive indicator that awareness of Chickasaw Country as a travel destination is growing.

“There are many factors that contributed to the significant vote increase,” Williams said.

“We have focused heavily on growing our footprint not only among the communities within Chickasaw Country but also in digital communities that exist online to show tourists the depth and quality of attractions, restaurants and festivals this region has to offer.

“This strategic tourism initiative has been met with immeasurable support from business owners as well as many chambers of commerce all working together to enhance the local economies across south-central Oklahoma.”

Others winners were Bedré Fine Chocolate in Davis for Best Attraction, Pigskins BBQ in Ada for Best Barbecue, Prairie Rose Gifts and Collectibles in Duncan for Best Boutique, Newcastle Casino in Newcastle for Best Casino, Lazer Zone Family Fun Center in Ada for Best Family-Friendly Venue, WinStar Golf Course in Thackerville for Best Golf Course, Lake Texoma in Kingston for Best Lake, Arbuckle Ballroom in Davis for Best Live Performance Venue, Artesian Hotel in Sulphur for Best Lodging, Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur for Best Museum and Fork Café in Pocasset for Best Overall Dining.

Local sites among the finalists were the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley for Best Museum, Pauls Valley Water Park for Best Family-Friendly Venue and Trail’s End BBQ & Grill in Wynnewood for Best Barbecue.

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