In 1980, Main Street of Humble was teeming with businesses. The city’s first bookstore had opened in 1975 in a small building on Avenue D. The used bookstore business was becoming popular in the area and it was growing so rapidly that the bookstore was now located on Main Street. The building that is now home to Humble City Café enclosed a number of small businesses. There was a furniture refinishing company, a typesetting business, a beauty salon and two or three other proprietorships. There was no Deerbrook Baptist Church. The building at the corner of Main and Avenue D was Town Hall, which sported a bar and welcomed patrons for dances. Additional businesses on Main Street included a chiropractor, an art studio and a travel agency. The Jewel Theater was still showing movies and Humble Flower Shop, Humble Barber Shop and an insurance company welcomed customers. Yes, Main Street was home to many small establishments, but it was searching for more customers.
The search for ways to bring more customers to Main Street led the business owners to join together in October 1980. The inaugural meeting was at Edelweiss Restaurant and the attendees formed the Main Street Business Association with the purpose of creating activities to draw members of the community to Humble’s Main Street. The first event was during the Christmas holiday. The business owners decorated their stores and stayed open late for one night. Wassail and cookies were offered to the patrons who attended the Christmas sales. The Christmas event was fun, but it failed to increase the number of customers on Main Street.
In January 1981, the business owners met again and developed a plan to bring a festival to Main Street. The name “Good Oil Days” was adopted based on the history of the area and a Saturday in April was selected for the event. A committee of four ladies was appointed to create the festival. As one writer stated, “It developed in January of 1981 like a Texas thunderhead, and just six short weeks after conception, this premature baby was whelped in broad daylight.”
The festival featured booths with artisans, local companies and organizations who offered their wares or food to the thousands of attendees. The business owners donned period costumes for the day. A parade made its way down Main Street before noon and activities were offered to keep the children occupied. Since beer was sold, the group was required to hire police officers for security. The city fathers were concerned about parking for the thousands of festival participants and required the organizers to have a shuttle from the parking lot of Humble High School on Wilson Road to Main Street. The driver of the shuttle had the company of one person that day as the thousands of attendees parked wherever a spot was available. The first Good Oil Days Festival was considered a monumental success even though the Main Street Business Association was short over $2,000 at the end of the day.
The city fathers were so pleased at how well The Good Oil Days Festival turned out that they no longer required security officers or the off-site parking for future festivals. The business owners coughed up the additional money to pay for the first festival and the annual tradition was born. The parade became longer with dignitaries riding in antique cars. Radio stations broadcast from the festival and live entertainment was offered on two stages. The second festival offered a silent auction to benefit the Humble Museum and the 1983 festival celebrated the 50th anniversary of the City of Humble with slices of the large anniversary cake being offered to festival goers. Since April 1981, The Good Oil Days Festival has been an annual event in Humble.
Mosey on down to Main Street on Saturday, April 6 and experience the Good Oil Days Festival for yourself. Welcome to Main Street of Humble, Texas, y’all!