Go big with return of noodling

Go big or go home – in a way it’s kind of both for the return of Pauls Valley’s premier community festival coming in just a few days.

The Okie Noodling Tournament set for Friday and Saturday, June 18-19 is definitely big as it brings in thousands of visitors with some, at times, coming from around the globe.

It’s also coming home to Pauls Valley after last year’s noodling festival was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which at that time still had pretty much everything shut down.

The city of Pauls Valley event is again getting some help from the local chamber of commerce, which is also turning to others for a little help.

President Nancy Runge says the chamber has been helping to get various vendors signed up for the festival weekend.

It’s also still calling out for volunteers to step up to help once the festivities begin next week.

“We’re trying to recruit volunteers to help with the setting up of vendors on Friday and then on Saturday we need people to man the entrances and the VIP area,” Runge tells the PV Democrat.

“We just need people there making sure everything’s going OK – wherever they’re needed. I would like to have at least 20 to 20 volunteers.

“We need as may people as we can get. Whatever we can do to help the city, that’s what we’ll do.”

The chamber is also helping to oversee some of the many activities planned for Saturday at Wacker Park, including a watermelon crawl at 1 p.m. and a kids’ catfish eating contest at 4 p.m.

Vendors will be setting up around 10 a.m. that day, while the noodlers themselves are scheduled to bring in their catches throughout the afternoon.

The festivities actually get started with Okie Noodling Eve – a free concert Friday night, June 18 featuring Kody West with special guest Cody Hubbard.

As for anyone wanting to help, volunteers can fill out an easy form on the chamber’s website or they can call the chamber at 405-238-6491.

•••

Another part of Pauls Valley coming out for the festival in full force will be the local police department.

Police Chief Mitch McGill says all his officers will be there to ensure the festival stays on the friendly side.

“It hurt not having it last year, but that should make this one even bigger,” McGill said about the festival.

“It will be a big event and that’s good for the city. People are ready to get out. We’re definitely getting ready to have a big crowd.

“All of our officers will be there because we want people to have good time and a safe time.”

The department’s assistant chief, Derrick Jolley, says the police presence will be more about helping than anything else.

“Mostly what we’re doing at an event like noodling is helping with a found cell phone or a found debit card, things like that,” Jolley said.

“We spend a lot of time doing community policing.”

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