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WESTERN MUSIC: The upcoming WestFest street festival shows off the recent improvements to the Western Avenue district

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Over the past few months, Western Avenue has been a bit of a pain to drive through, with all of the detours and roadwork going on. But while it might seem like an annoyance now, Rachael Taylor, Executive Director of Western Avenue Association, believes that when it’s done, Western Avenue patrons will be amazed by the “leaps and bounds” the district has come over the recent year.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a huge improvement in the amount of notice the district is getting,” Taylor said. “We’re doing a lot more events and expecting a lot more walkability, a lot more foot traffic in the area. The director before me did a really good job of trying to get the community engaged with the district and really helped us elevate in Oklahoma City to the level of some of the other districts.”

Looking for a way to show off these improvements, the district did a citywide survey, asking locals what they would like most in their districts and the number one answer that kept popping up was “street festivals.” It was from this that the idea for WestFest was born.

WestFest, which the district hopes will become an annual event, will focus on the businesses and eateries in the area—including the reopening of VZDs and the new Sandwich Club—while also celebrating the neighborhood with two stages of live music, as well as a beer garden featuring local brews and, of course, food trucks.

Taylor added that it’s also a good time to celebrate the “changes made to the streetscape and the enhanced walkability, including the addition of bike racks and wider sidewalks.”

“My hope is that we bring a lot of people in the area and just have a really good time on Western Avenue,” Taylor said. “A festival in a small area like that will hopefully bring a lot of people into the district and raise awareness of our new sidewalks and everything that’s been happening. It’ll bring a little bit of fun back to the area after all of this construction.”

The free event is scheduled for Saturday, September 19, starting at noon with bands such as Annie Oakley, Bowlsey, Beau Jennings & the Tigers, Jarvix and Gabriel Knight Hancock, to name a few, playing on into the evening.

“It’s important to support the small businesses that we have in our district and throughout the city,” Taylor said. “The whole purpose of our festival is to support the small businesses and restaurants that we have in Western Avenue, celebrate them, bring people to them and have people aware of the area, essentially.”

Check out their website for more info and updates on WestFest.

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Louis Fowler

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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