The city of Coppell hosted Oak Fest on Sat., Oct. 19. The annual event, held every October, celebrates the spirit and community of Coppell as represented by the city’s favorite tree, the oak. It featured numerous vendors and performances from bands and other live acts, as well as bounce houses and activities for children. Among the performers were Texas bands Maiden Texas and DownTown Fever, as well as Professor Brainius, a science-based show for children, and the Side Street Circus, a group of jugglers, magicians and polka musicians.
Although Oak Fest has little do with oak trees directly, the name comes from Coppell’s logo, which features a wreath of oak leaves, “representing the city’s most prominent trees, longevity, and additionally, the oak wood used to build the railroad ties that put Coppell on the map,” according to the city’s website. The festival is Coppell’s alternative to Oktoberfest and is very much directed towards families with small children. The event has occurred annually for eight years, drawing in 10,000 to 12,000 people every year, according to Sheri Freestone, a programs manager for Coppell Parks and Recreation.
Freestone was raised in Coppell and tries to do what she can to help the city she loves. “We’re very community-based. We care a lot about our citizens in general. It’s not about making money for us, or bringing in the best businesses. It’s about actual citizens that live right here in the city,” she said. Coppell Parks and Recreation hosts numerous other events throughout the year including a Christmas lights parade, an Easter egg hunt and an Earth festival. Oak Fest, however, remains one of the most popular events in the city and draws one of the biggest crowds.
Other citizens in attendance gave high praise for Coppell’s quality of life and sense of community. Jim Baird is a captain in the Coppell Fire Department and was on call to attend to potential medical emergencies at the event. Baird moved his family to Coppell from Dallas a few years ago and is very satisfied with the community. “It’s definitely where you want to raise your family,” he said. “From the fire service side or the police side you could have some more action, you know, but from living here as a parent and as a citizen, you can’t beat it. You’ve got all the stuff you need to raise small kids, and you’re safe. And it’s small enough that you know enough people that live on all different sides of town.”
Several of the vendors at the festival were political organizations and figures, including the Coppell Republican Club and Texas State Representative Bennett Ratliff.
Lisa Titensor is the Vice President of Hospitality with the Coppell Republican Club and a longtime resident of the city. She values the intimacy of Coppell’s community and location. “(Coppell) feel(s) like a small community, but you’re surrounded by freeways, so you can get anywhere you want. This feels like a small city, and not just an extension of Dallas,” she said. “(I) love it because it’s very conservative (with) lots of different churches, and a very religious neighborhood, which is great. Fine morals, high standards…this is like the Americana of the past.”