By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The paint on Hester Street may run slightly, but the spirit of Oklahoma State University students and alums could not be stopped Wednesday despite the rain.
The annual Hester Street painting event was plagued with a small downpour and low temperatures, but slowly, hundreds of people began grabbing their cups of white and orange paint so they could leave their mark.
Director of Student Programs for the OSU Alumni Association Melisa Parkerson said you never know what type of weather you’ll see in Oklahoma.
“That’s what we get to experience today, but you still see the spirit that is here and they’re still out here painting those words,” she said.
Among the group were friends Taylor Killian and Melinda Hane. Killian’s three children were taking part in their first Hester Street painting.
“They love it,” she said.
This was the first of a few things Killian and children, ages 3, 6 and 9, were looking forward to. Walkaround and the Sea of Orange Parade were also on their list.
“It’s life in Stillwater,” Killian said. “It’s part of being a community.”
Hane, who also has three children, said this is the fourth or fifth year they have participated. An alumna, Hane has a daughter attending OSU in her freshman year.
“I started when they were little,” she said.
Hane said it helps her younger children see what life is like on campus and it may even create memories, despite the wet and cold.
“I think they’ll remember it more (because of the rain),” Hane said.
Kappa Delta members Taylor Phillips, Crystian Clinton and Talor Newville were also experiencing the Hester Street painting for the first time.
“I’m excited to participate in OSU stuff, but this rain is kind of a downer,” Phillips said.
Phillips said she doesn’t consider herself an artist, but wanted to paint because it’s a fun event. Newville agreed.
“I’m sure there are very talented people out here who are going to do a masterpiece, but I’m probably going to be writing OSU,” Newville said.
Newville said the words of encouragement are important to the players as they make “The Walk” before Saturday’s game.
Hopefully, the words will remain until then.
The forecast may have other ideas.
Parkerson said she isn’t worried as she is surprised how much of the art sticks around for game day.
“I think because of our streets, the way they’re shaped, and the drainage that we have, it doesn’t really just wash it away,” she said. “It’s a nice elevation so it slowly trickles off.”
Parkerson said she encourages more community members, alums and students to come out next year to help celebrate Homecoming Week.
“And hopefully, no rain,” she said.