A Hippo-Sized Festival

Every community along historic Route 66 has its own personality. Edmond has one particularly quirky roadside attraction that has become a bright blue beacon to folks traveling along Broadway—the Blue Hippo!  

Much like the blue whale of Catoosa, the hippo is an ironic icon for a town built on the prairie. Which is exactly why it’s so fun! The fact that the hippo’s background is sprinkled with mystery and hijackings just adds to the allure of this hometown oddity.   

As the Edmond Historical Society & Museum began creating a new exhibit about Edmond’s role along Route 66, a grand opening ceremony seemed in order–but not an ordinary ribbon cutting. They want to celebrate the exhibit in a big, humongous way. “And nothing says humongous like a hippo,” said museum director, Amy Stephens.  

The Route 66 Blue Hippo Festival will be held at the museum and in Stephenson Park on Aug 6th & 7th from Noon-4:00 each day. Activities, which range from carnival games to historic house tours, will all center around the themes of Route 66, Edmond history, and of course, hippos.

Live artists will be in the park painting or drawing—you guessed it—hippos, and musicians will be playing BLUEgrass and the BLUES. Visitors can participate in a community art project, an oversized artwork of a blue hippo that will hang in the children’s play area of the museum. Blue classic cars will be viewable, and there’s even a classic Hungry, Hungry Hippo station.  

“This grassroots festival is based on the premise that history doesn’t have to be so serious,” Stephens said. “Our Covid-weary community could get behind some silliness. Adults are invited to join in the same activities as the kids.”

Edmond certainly has other important landmarks along its route. The 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse is significant as the first school in the territory after the Land Run. The community of Arcadia, directly east of Edmond, has the well-known Arcadia Round Barn and Pops. But there’s something about a blue hippo that screams, “Stop and take a selfie!”

Although the actual blue hippo will remain at its location at 12th & Broadway, guests to the festival will have ample opportunity to take photos with a blue hippo mascot or a scaled-down version of the hippo being created by artist, Jay Tracy, for the museum’s permanent exhibit.

“Wear blue clothes, dye your hair blue—just have fun with it,” Stephens said. “I guarantee that you won’t leave this festival feeling, well, blue.”

For festival information, visit EdmondHistory.org. To learn more about the blue hippo, visit www.edmondoutlook.com/happy-the-blue-hippo

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