In today's divisive culture, sometimes a constant can bring people together. Not a mathematical constant such as pi or the speed of light but rather a part of everyday life.
Such is the case with Good Oil Days, Humble's annual festival paying tribute to the city's historical relationship with the energy industry.
This year was the 37th incarnation of the event and it was a splendid example of how diverse components can be forged together to create a day of family, fun and camaraderie. Historians and historical groups shared the streets with politicians. Music ran the gamut from Frank Sinatra to The Beatles. City departments informed the public of services they offer and volunteer organizations sought to educate the public and recruit volunteers. Food spanned multiple cuisines ranging from burritos to chile to kettle corn to corn on the cob and more. Diverse arts and crafts, live music and a senior plant sale were also enjoyed by those in attendance at the April 8 event.
Located at the eastern end of the festival's grounds on Main Street, the Humble Police Department anchored a row of informative booths.
"Good Oil Days is a great chance to see and interact with all the local people," said Sgt. Rich Peters of the Humble Police Department. "We'll be fingerprinting kids, providing literature on a number of safety issues and letting people know that we are there when they need us. It's always a good event for the Humble Police Department to participate it."
Echoing Peters' assessment was another city of Humble department geared toward our domesticated quadruped friends. Morgan Williams of Humble Animal Control, assisted by her husband Jacob, was eager to let the public know about the good things going on in her department, Humble Animal Control.
"This is a good event to help us get the word out about our new facility," Williams said. "A lot has changed. We now have 26 kennels for dogs instead of the 10 we used to have. For cats, we are working with the local cat placement group Wags to Whiskers of Texas. We are almost a no-kill facility now."
Speaking of Wags to Whiskers whose booth was adjacent to Humble Animal Control's, the organization's director Teri Kropik and volunteer Jae Monette made the most of the huge crowds to recruit.
"It's still early and we have already gained several new volunteers," Kropik said. "Events like this give us an opportunity to reach new people that we wouldn't normally encounter at our weekly Saturday appearance at the Humble PetSmart."
However, dogs and cats were not the only animals represented at Good Oil Days 2017. In the Kid's Zone, there was a petting zoo with goats, horses, a deer and a rather large tortoise. Adjacent to that, children had the chance to take a pony ride."
With so much going on, it makes sense that sustenance would be needed to provide visitors with the energy to traverse the five blocks of Main Street for several hours. And by all accounts, those on the consuming end were not the only ones enjoying the festive atmosphere. Food vendors also were glad they participated.
"This is the third Good Oil Days I have participated in," said Shane Nobles of Pain Train Salsa of Tomball. "We always do well here."
"It's early but we are doing quite well, said Steve Moody of Wimberley who was tempting festivalgoers with roasted corn. Moody's assistant Terry Durrett, of Bastrop, agreed. "It was definitely worth the trip over," Durrett said.
It goes without saying that at large public events in Texas, you will see politicians on hand -- especially close to an election, in this case the upcoming May 6 election for the Humble ISD Board of Trustees. Incumbents Charles Cunningham, Angela Conrad and Robert Sitton were in plain view, greeting their supporters. However, they were outnumbered by candidates Chris Herron, Abby Whitmire, Dr. Lohit Datta-barua, Ph.D., Bob Rehak, Robert Panzarella, Martina Lemond Dixon and Shawn Biazar. However, whether an incumbent or new candidate, all took advantage of the Good Oil Days crowd to get their messages out.
As previously mentioned, Good Oil Days pays homage to Humble's history. Thus, it is only natural that some of that history would be reflected. The James Tull Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) and Seth Hurin Bates Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) had their booths in front of the Humble Museum. With historical flags flying, the members of both organizations talked with visitors about their organizations, patriotism and history. A bit of that history actually manifested itself in the person of Jerry Gay, Sr.
Dressed in period clothing, Gay greeted visitors at the DRT booth and shared his own connection with Texas history.
"My ancestor John F. Chairs, Jr. fought in the Battle of San Jacinto," Gay explained. "I like this event since it is a way to promote Texas history. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas work hard to make sure Texas history is not forgotten and I enjoy being able to help them at events such as Good Oil Days. Dressing the part is one way to bring some of that history to life to give visitors a glimpse into the past."
Another touch of history came in the form of a replica stagecoach on view. Wells Fargo employees Christopher Smartt and Gus Schultz obliged numerous requests for photos as part of their mission.
"This is a good event for us," Smartt said. "People enjoy seeing the replica Wells Fargo stagecoach and that gives us a chance to tell everyone about our bank. Many of the people that we visit with today will come in later to the bank to open accounts or learn about our many services."
But what would a festival be without entertainment? No worries. Good Oil Days had a variety of entertainment of hand. Two of the most notable acts taking the stage were Beatles tribute band The Fab Five and Dave Halston performing the songs of Frank Sinatra.
In fact, Halston's performance was one of the special things about the day to festival director Mari Guevara.
"This is the 37th Good Oil Days festival," said Guevara. "It's a great one this year. We have more people attending than in recent years, more booths and more fun. The Fab Five was great and we even have Dave Halston as Frank Sinatra. How cool is that?"
Good Oil Days was presented by the city of Humble and the Humble Senior Activity Center. Proceeds will benefit the Humble Area Seniors.