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Farmers Market waits to be discovered as Oklahoma City's version of Cain's Ballroom

Steve Lackmeyer was soon reminded after the chat that Oklahoma City does have its own music venue — Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market at 311 S Klein Ave.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: August 14, 2012

The good folks at NewsOK launched an experiment two weeks ago where every Friday at 10 a.m. I host a live chat with readers. For 60 minutes readers have asked about everything ranging from plans for a new boulevard, ongoing downtown development and a lot of inquiries about housing.

I failed, however, in answering a question about why downtown Tulsa seems to host more concerts than Oklahoma City:

“I'd argue that we lose more of the smaller concerts due to the fact we've not been able to come up with our own version of Tulsa's incredible Cain's Ballroom.”

I was soon reminded after the chat that Oklahoma City does have its own music venue — Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market at 311 S Klein Ave. Yeah, I messed up. But what's worrisome is that so few people corrected me compared to those who made it a point that they agreed with my conclusion.

Leave it to the very gracious William McAnally, whose family owns the historic market, to provide me with cover on this mistake.

Despite the history of this venue, built back in 1928, with an incredible facade, wonderful old wood ballroom floor and musical heritage, not enough folks know that the market is back in business.

The market never actually closed. When it was built by John J. Harden, the market was promoted as a way to clear up the mess farmers were creating along California Avenue. With its opening, Oklahoma City had one centralized place for farmers to sell their produce and a community event center as well. The upstairs of the market hosted music legends Hank Williams, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Daniels and Arlo Guthrie. Cain's can't be duplicated, but one can argue Farmer's Public Market is every bit its peer.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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