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“I got a sword!” Grayson Debouse was fired up about his balloon shaped into a yellow sword Sunday.

With a big smile, he pointed to the other end of the Open Streets OKC stretch along S. Robinson 10 blocks away and said, “And we aren’t going to leave until we get all the way down there.”

Paul Debouse family
Paul Debouse, his wife and family enjoyed the mix of different people, beautiful weather and activities

His brother and sister were alternately wearing and playing with their balloons as well.

His dad, Paul Debouse and mom, Wannie looked like they were getting tired, but they still were smiling.

“It’s been a lot of fun. This is our second year out here,” Paul said. “We live out in Midwest City. We’ve been to a couple of these open street events before.”

Great mix

Brenda Hernandez, one of the promoters of the event was enthused about the as-good-as-it-gets-in-Oklahoma weather and the large crowd that filled Robinson blocked off from SW 15th Street to SW 29th Street.

Brenda Hernández
Brenda Hernández, neighborhood activist and co-founder, Tango PR.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to come out here and see what you can do on a Sunday afternoon with your family,” she said.

The design of having the route cross the Oklahoma River from north to south has been intentional over the last two years the fall Open Streets OKC event has been happening.

“I think it’s brought a lot of the downtown community over, mixing with the south side and some with the northeast side,” Hernandez said. “It’s such a great mix of people. It is a great sense of community.”

Agency exposure

One aspect of the event was exposing the participants to the many public agencies that make life better in Oklahoma City.

National Park Ranger Dan McKee - Johan Lopez
National Park Ranger Dan McKee applies an NPS removable tattoo to Johan Lopez.

The National Park Service had two ranger guides in their familiar green uniforms and straw campaign hats talking with adults and children about what they do.

Rangers Kristen Brunn and Dan McKee were putting ranger badge stickers and NPS removable tattoos on the children and explaining the what they do to the older ones.

“We really enjoy this,” said McKee. “We are both trained as guides with NPS, so we are in direct contact with the public every day.”

He and Brunn are stationed at Oklahoma City National Memorial downtown, an unusual assignment where

Safe district

If anything what it does is it makes people feel comfortable that they can walk these streets,” said Capitol Hill civic leader Santiago Arzate.

Jessica, Adamary & Johan Lopez
(L-R)Jessica, Adamary & Johan Lopez enjoyed the face-painting.

“We’re not in a district that is full of crime. It allows them to open their minds and feel more willing to come check out Capitol Hill and its neighbors.”

Arzate is senior loan officer for Interlinc Mortgage Services, LLC and has been a Capitol Hill entrepreneur with his family for years.

Normally dapper, he was having a great time dressed up as “a Latino version of The Dude” (movie: The Big Lebowski) and using his circus voice hawking the haunted theater venue just up the street at the Yale Theater.

Fernanda Reyna Diaz
Fernanda Reyna Diaz waits for a baloon tiara as it is being made.

He and several others were running the haunted theater to raise money for the various charities in the Capitol Hill area.

And about that circus voice: Yes, he used to work for in his godparents’ circus in a few of his teen years.

“It’s been going great,” he said with a big smile.

“I love that people are walking. You know, it’s the craziest thing, but people love to walk on the street.”

“This entire place has been crowed like this all day, since 1 o’clock it’s been absolutely crowed with people.”


The next Open Streets OKC event will be April 8, 2018, along NW 23rd Street

For more information, go to http://www.openstreetsokc.com.

Open Streets OKC 2017 looking north toward downtown
Open Streets OKC 2017 looking north toward downtown

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