Most people, especially those from large metropolitan areas tend to think that there is nothing to do or see in the small towns that dot the landscape around the country. This is dead-on accurate for much of Oklahoma, but it's in these small rural towns that blow the big cities out of the water when it comes to the holidays.

Growing up I split my time between wherever my family was living at the moment and Hollis. It's a tiny single-stop-light town just about as far down US-62 West as you can get in Southwest Oklahoma. Like Lawton, people always thought there was nothing to do there, but it seemed there was always something happening.

Memorial Day Weekend has always been Alumni Weekend. The high school has always been small, so every graduate celebrates together with a massive community meal, parade, activities, etc. Same goes for any other national holiday growing up. A festival in between the wheat and cotton harvests in August, now it happens in October when it's cooler. Christmas, Easter, New Years, etc...

It's during those times that the people in small communities come together to be a community, and every single larger town or city suffers from inadequacies in this regard. The 4th of July in Lawton is no different. Sure, we get a day to go spend a bunch of money in the park capped with a night of fireworks paid for with our collective road money, but the surrounding towns go all out.

Marlow has what is likely the oldest 4th of July celebration events in Oklahoma history. They've been rolling out the red, white, and blue royal carpet each year since 1892... A full fifteen+ years before Oklahoma became a state, and every year they do it up as big as a small town can, 2022 is no different.

This year the celebration takes place on Saturday and starts with an Independence Day parade at 9 AM. The city park opens at 10 AM and everyone is welcome. Every year they have tons of stuff to do like bingo, arts & crafts, games, live entertainment (like a mock shootout), food, beer & wine, plus a free concert as the day enters the evening. Just like any respectable 4th of July celebration, they cap the evening with a fireworks display just after sundown, early enough the kiddos aren't already asleep.

Marlow's 4th of July celebration isn't an event where you up only to spend money, it's just about the most wholesome fun you can have in Southwest Oklahoma, just like the events your parents talk so fervently about from their childhood.

If you really wanted to experience the true charm of small-town Oklahoma, you'll have to leave Lawton to do it. I'd highly recommend making the half-hour trip to Marlow to do so. It'll change the way you see living in Southwest Oklahoma.

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