Mayfest: Celebrating Downtown: Festival closes after big year
Scott and Sarah Oberste of Tulsa walk past the artists’ tents with their son Gavin, 22 months, during the last day of Mayfest in downtown Tulsa on Sunday. More than 375,000 people attended this year’s four-day festival, an organizer said.

By LEIGH BELL World Staff Writer
Last Modified: 5/22/2007  12:20 PM

Slide show: Watch a slide show of the sights and sounds of Mayfest.

More than 375,000 visited downtown over four days for the 35th annual arts and music festival.

Gone from downtown are the scent of roasting nuts and barbecue, the thud of live music, the crowds of people and the shortage of parking spaces.

Mayfest packed up Sunday night, but if the 35th annual celebration portends downtown growth, the future looks good.

More than 375,000 people rolled out to Mayfest over four days graced with gorgeous weather, according to Tulsa Police late Sunday afternoon.

That turnout approaches the record set in 2005, when teen heartthrobs Hanson performed and an estimated 390,000 people attended.

Crowds on a climactic Saturday night this year caused vendors to sell out of festival favorites from food to artwork. Between 12,000 and 15,000 people listened to Wayman Tisdale perform Saturday night.

"I think people are giving downtown a try again," said Shannon Hoopingarner, as she dunked
a gooey corn dog into the deep-fryer at Hoopingarner Concessions.

"It seems like it's getting back to the old Mayfest."

For a decade, Hoopingarner has sold treats at Mayfest, and she said crowds began to dwindle a few years back. Things seem to be turning around, she said.

Vendors hotdogged Sunday afternoon about big sales. Thousands of egg rolls bought. Pounds of funnel-cake mix used. Countless peanuts sold.

"We've gone through a whole bunch of nuts," said Mike Lesher of Mike's Fresh Roasted Nuts. "I've just completely lost track, and I'm just thrilled."

Exact numbers won't be known until August on revenue from the 2007 Tulsa International Mayfest, organized by the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa and Downtown Tulsa Unlimited.

Still, it's above budget and "expenses are in check," said Mayfest's festival chairwoman, Mary Jo Sartain.

"It's been an incredible Mayfest," she said. "All the planets are aligned."

Dallas and Carl Woods said they gave up driving home to Muskogee each evening to replenish the stock of scented candles they sold at Mayfest.

The items were going too quickly.

Carl Woods told his wife Sunday morning that they'd just have to wing it.

"Oh my gosh!" said Dallas Woods, pointing to their many almost-empty glass jars of candles. "This has totally exceeded our expectations."

This was their third year at Mayfest and by far the best, they said.

Joe Jones smoked dozens of husked corn cobs on the grill.

His business, A & J Concessions, ran out of turkey legs for a little while Saturday night, he said.

"We just couldn't cook 'em fast enough," he said.

Jones said this Mayfest was one of the best of the 15 he's worked.

"This has been awesome. An awesome year."

Leigh Bell 581-8465

2007 Mayfest by the numbers

People: 375,000 as of 4 p.m. Sunday

Indian tacos: 2,300 sold at B&G; Concession stand

Clocks: 80 sold at Humorous Clocks booth

Egg rolls: 2,000 sold at Nora Koepp’s stand

Kabobs: 1,000 sold at Koepp’s

Corn dogs: 3,000 sold at Hoopingarner Concession stand

Candles: 2,000 at Scent Sations booth

Funnel cakes: 3,000 sold at A & J concession stand

Turkey legs: 1,000 sold at A & J

Corn on the cob: 2,000 sold at A & J

Beer: 125 kegs as of midnight Saturday

Art: 550 pieces in the youth art gallery

Teddy bears: 1,000 stuffed and decorated for St. Francis Children’s Hospital

       Add your comment

(6) readers have commented on this story so far. Tell us what you think below!

1. 5/21/2007 7:21:03 AM, E T, tulsa
375,000 people only bought 18,000 items. the biggest amount sold was beer. not much sold for supposedly 375,000 people.

2. 5/21/2007 8:08:40 AM, Chris, Tulsa
Being in the food business myself, at these events I can tell you that no one reports the true numbers.

3. 5/21/2007 12:08:47 PM, Michael,
125 kegs as of Sat, midnight? That is weak! That used to be Friday night for the 3rd & Boston stands with Saturday outdoing that!

4. 5/21/2007 3:34:41 PM, charlie seraphin, tulsa
It was my first Mayfest, but it sure looked like a winner to me! It's more than's the happy, friendly people having a good time in a warm inviting environment...downtown! Can't wait for next year.

5. 5/21/2007 10:32:36 PM, Mary Beth Babcock, Tulsa
Being a new business owner (Dwelling Spaces) downtown I doubled my numbers every day!!! THANKS TO THE BLUE DOME ARTS FESTIVAL AND MAYFEST!!! thanks to everyone for all of the support! Mary Beth Babcock


6. 5/22/2007 12:56:41 AM, Tulsan,
Really, you dont think they sold EXACTLY 2000 egg rolls. Go figure. These numbers are for estimation only. And this doesnt include all of the vendors. I think by any measure Mayfest was a success.

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