LahomaPalooza draws people named Lahoma to Oklahoma

The first LahomaPalooza, on July 20, featured pony rides, helicopter rides, a parade, fireworks, children's face painting and vendors along Main Street selling such items as handmade quilts and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
by Nasreen Iqbal Published: July 29, 2013
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What's in a name?

Mayor Theresa Sharp said hundreds of people found out when the town welcomed visitors to celebrate Lahoma and those who share its name.

The first LahomaPalooza, on July 20, featured pony rides, helicopter rides, a parade, fireworks, children's face painting and vendors along Main Street selling such items as handmade quilts and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

The idea came to event organizer and Florida resident Lahoma McMillion in 2008 when she and her husband drove through the town just west of Enid to see what it was all about.

“I had never seen my name on anything and suddenly here I was in this little town with the same name. I went into the convenience store and had lunch with locals. I fell in love with it. I spoke with the mayor and he said I was the first Lahoma to pass through and that if I ever came back he'd throw me a parade,” said McMillion, 38.

Five years later, McMillion, a special education teacher, wife and mother, touched base with the current mayor, Sharp. Together, the two spread the word that Lahoma would host its first public celebration since 1978.

“I put it in our towns' monthly newsletter; I posted signs at the gas station and post office. News spread by word-of-mouth and the townspeople got so excited,” Sharp said.

Lahoma resident Bruce Nixon made wooden Christmas ornaments for all the Lahomas.

McMillion created a Facebook page to invite people with the name Lahoma to LahomaPalooza. More than 130 Lahomas registered, and about 20 with that name made it to the first festival, which attracted about 700 people altogether.

“We had Lahomas come from California, Texas, New Mexico, New Hampshire and of course, Oklahoma, ages 30 to 99,” McMillion said. “They all had their own story. We were all different and yet all the same. We all felt a little odd growing up, not sure of what our name meant or where we belonged. Then we came here and suddenly we belonged somewhere.”

McMillion said the word has Native American origins and means “the people.” In her case the name is given to someone in every second generation. She inherited the name from her grandmother, and her son will name his daughter Lahoma.


by Nasreen Iqbal
Reporter
Nasreen Iqbal is a graduate of the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. She writes about news and events that occur within the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area.
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