As I thought about what I wanted our next installment of Chamber Chat to look like, many things came to mind. I could provide an Economic Development update or discuss our Total Resource Campaign that is currently underway or one of our strategic initiatives. All would be worthy updates, and I look forward to providing those in a future article. Instead, I am overwhelmed today with a feeling of joy for our community. This past weekend is a lot like many other weekends our family has in Stillwater, special in its own way. Let me walk you through our amazing weekend, in my favorite small town.

I’ll start the weekend on Thursday because it’s my article and I get to take some creative license here. The Stillwater Chamber held its annual Picnic in the Park, a collaboration of many important stakeholders in Stillwater. The City of Stillwater provides the location, Boomer Lake Park, and all the tables and chairs. Several local businesses sponsored the event, and without their support, the event wouldn’t happen. Others provided food, supplies and talent pro bono to make the event more enjoyable but, most importantly, free for our community. More than 200 people turned out for the event to meet their fellow neighbors. 

Friday kept the amazing weekend going as our family cheered the Cowgirl Soccer team to victory. Along the way, my kids caught a T-shirt and a Pistol Pete water bottle from the team marketing crew handing out OSU swag after each goal. Those new treasures made our kids’ weekend, and the water bottles were in use for the duration of it. For those of you who haven’t watched a soccer match in Neal Patterson Stadium, you are missing out. This is a world-class facility that any community would love to have, especially a community of 50,000 residents. 

We have so many facilities most communities larger than Stillwater can only dream of having. To name a few: Boone Pickens Stadium, the Greenwood Tennis Center, Stillwater Medical Center, Spears School of Business, the Botanic Garden at OSU and The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. I can’t wait to add The McKnight Center into our weekend routine. 

Saturdays this time of year are for football. Stillwater welcomed more than 60,000 of our closest friends to town as we opened the 2019-2020 season at home. The cowboys didn’t disappoint, especially not my kids who attended their first OSU football game. Bullet was on full display as we easily handled the competition. 

Sunday, a day normally for rest in our household was not this weekend. We were happy to see the Cowgirl Soccer team beat their competition 2-0. We spent some time doing chores and preparing for the week ahead, and Sunday evening was the perfect way to end the weekend. Our middle son had baseball practice at Strickland Park. Our good friends at Stillwater Area Sports Association had the facility looking amazing, even after fighting the elements all spring. We rounded out the weekend with a cookout at a teammate’s house as we celebrated a successful week and discussed the many busy weeks ahead. We also got to sample some home-brewed beer that Brandon and I made some weeks back. It was quite enjoyable, but don’t worry –  Iron Monk, I think the group enjoys your Amber over ours.

I know a lot of communities can say they have the best quality of life or their pace of life is unique to them. I’m not saying we’re one of a kind, but it’s the right kind for our family. We’re so thankful to be your neighbors, and I hope you feel the same way. I would encourage you to experience your town this week. Music on Main, OSU Arts Festival, LexiCon, Concert in the Garden, Second Saturday at OSU Museum of Art, Cowgirl Soccer, and many other events are all taking place this weekend. You can find information about all of these events at I hope to see you out this weekend!

Justin Minges is President and CEO of the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. 

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