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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

OSU Cooperative Extension celebrates 100 years of service with historic whistle stop reenactment

WELLSTON, Okla. – Oklahoma will experience a blast from the past with a modern twist April 12 with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service’s Centennial Whistle Stop and Festival in Wellston.

“In the early 1900s, trains were the modern way to travel and early Extension agents were allowed to ‘ride the rails,’ going from town to town presenting demonstrations and showing people how they might improve the quality of their lives by making use of the latest science-proven advances, practices and products,” said James Trapp, OCES associate director.

A train coming into town was sometimes referred to as a “county fair on wheels.” As part of its centennial celebration, Extension is conducting an historic reenactment of the type of whistle stop tours that took place in 1914.

The 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. outdoor event is open to the public and free of charge. It will take place at the Rock N Rail yard, located off Highway 66 east of Wellston.

Trapp said guests will be able to visit a variety of tents and booths offering demonstrations and hands-on activities representative of Extension programs.

“It should be fun and informative,” he said. “Some of the activities will be reminiscent of what a whistle stop would have featured back in the day, while others will provide the latest cutting-edge advances developed to help people in 2014 solve concerns and issues of importance to them, their families and communities.”

Activities will include Dutch oven food demonstrations and food sampling while supplies last, as well as exhibit booths, many of them hands-on, featuring a glimpse into historic Oklahoma aspects such as vintage children’s games, the life of an Extension agent in 1938, antique tractors and vintage canning, to modern-day science-based educational programs such as the Oklahoma Mesonet weather monitoring system, computer-based farm and ranch risk management, key agricultural practices that strengthen the state economy while also promoting environmental stewardship, raised-bed gardening, youth archery and all-terrain vehicle use and safety, among others.

State of Oklahoma dignitaries and other pre-selected guests will arrive by train at different times throughout the day. The train will be traveling to and from Wellston, Stroud and Oklahoma City. Seating is limited so a lottery system is being used to select guests for certain legs of the excursion. Lottery forms and submission instructions are available at on the Internet.

“Extension’s mission is as vital today as ever, and a constant during the past 100 years is that our successes are measured in large part by the successes of those we serve,” Trapp said. “If severe weather requires a postponement, the Extension Centennial Whistle Stop and Festival will take place May 3.”

A state agency, OCES is part of Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and consists of university faculty and staff, district and area specialists, and county-based educators.


Donald Stotts
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
143 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-4079
Fax: 405-744-5739

Oklahoma State University, U. S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local governments cooperating; Oklahoma State University in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures, and is an equal opportunity employer.

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078

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