PAWHUSKA, OK (KJRH) — Pawhuska Police Chief Nick Silva was reinstated less than 24 hours before "The Patriotic Party on the Prairie". During the four days after he was suddenly fired, Silva worried about security for the event. When he was reinstated, he immediately got to work on last-minute preparations.
The crowd grew to as many as 8,000, more than double the town's population, and the festival served as a healing experience for neighbors in the community.
"We’ve been through a lot with the police chief lately, and we did have some flooding in the store," said Doreen Linder, owner of Salt Creek Marketplace in downtown Pawhuska. "We’re just so thankful to have this kind of a holiday.”
Chief Silva’s worry was the size of the crowd coupled with the disorganization of the department once he was removed as chief on Friday. But once he got back to work, he worked with several other organizations, and made all the necessary preparations. They included hard barriers to avoid cars going through crowds, water refill stations, and adding more officers as well as putting several on standby in case they were needed.
Silva said he couldn’t be happier with the mood of the town.
“It’s been tremendous," Chief Silva said. "This is an upcoming tourist town, there’s people from all over here. You can go through the parking lot and see people from Colorado, Illinois, Nevada - from all over the country coming here to visit this town.”
Silva says this year’s crowd was so much bigger than any in the past because the city upped their vendors from 17 to 55, and several surrounding towns canceled their events due to the recent flooding.
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