Fans of Food Network's "Pioneer Woman" know that the Fourth of July is celebrated in a big way at Ree Drummond's ranch. Food, family and a booming fireworks extravaganza to cap off the night are how the Drummonds mark Independence Day.
Two years ago, Ree and Ladd Drummond took their party to town. They called it the Patriotic Party on the Prairie and opened the street festival up to everyone in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, but Tulsa television station KTUL reported that fans from Michigan to Missouri showed up for the July Fourth celebration.
A Freedom Celebration Parade through town kicked off the day, followed by concessions from the Mercantile (then the Drummonds' newest attraction in Pawhuska), street food and crafts vendors, music and games. The patriotic party wrapped up with a fireworks extravaganza coordinated by Ladd Drummond and his cowboy pals.
The Pioneer Woman announced in March on Instagram that she is "tripling the festivities, fireworks, street food and vendors" for this Thursday's Patriotic Party on the Prairie.
And among those vendors will be Ooltewah potter Karen Guethlein. She and daughters Cassie Loizeaux and Samantha Baskette are packing her car with nearly 2,500 ring dishes, their luggage and booth displays to drive to Pawhuska.
"I can't ship anything out ahead because I'm worried it might get lost or broken. I'm having to be very focused and intentional on what I take because I have to take everything I need — plus it's three women packing for five days," Guethlein laughs.
"Last year they had over 10,000 visitors for Patriotic Party on the Prairie and they didn't really promote it. I really think there may be as many as 20,000 people this year," she predicts.
A spokeswoman for the event, who asked her name not be printed, says craftspeople from across the country are coming. In fact, so many applied, organizers had to turn many away.
Guethlein is a local craftswoman who turned her cottage industry, The Brick Kiln, into a national business. In 2008, when she was 48, she taught herself pottery. She mastered a dozen items she could make from a 3-inch dish, such as personalized ring dishes and Christmas ornaments, then opened an Etsy shop.
Her pieces drew the attention of Cool Mom Picks blog, which put her work in its Christmas gift guide. Anthropologie stores picked up her line in 2014, and in 2016, Sundance company (yes, Robert Redford's Sundance) ordered 3,000 jewelry dishes for its spring catalog.
Later in 2016, Guethlein pitched her pottery to Drummond when the Pioneer Woman announced on Facebook she was searching for vendors to stock a Mercantile she was renovating. That led to an order of 1,200 dishes shipped to Pawhuska.
Guethlein says she sold her work in the Mercantile for a year, then had to take the last two years off in order to catch up on numerous orders still to be filled. It's time-consuming work because each piece involves multiple steps, all done by hand.
She is resuming her business association with the Mercantile and has a new order being delivered to the company by the end of July.
"There is some really cool pottery — a picture of the Merc exterior, designs with the shape of Oklahoma and Pawhuska written on it," she says.
Her work going to Patriotic Party on the Prairie is in addition to that order.
"I'm focusing on personalized dishes for the show," she says. "There are also patriotic pieces, horse and cowboy motifs, some Scripture dishes and I'm also going to take some spoon rests since she is a cook."
To date, the only craft show/street festival in which she has participated has been Bird & Barn (an October barn sale held in Cleveland, Tennessee). Her sales plan now is to expand into the craft-show circuit.
"Folks will be able to find me easier this year at local craft shows," she says.
Additionally, Locals Only, 1421 Market St. and Hamilton Place, carry her pottery with designs featuring local landmarks such as the Tivoli and Walnut Street Bridge.
Contact Susan Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6284.