'89er Day History

Historic 89’er Day Highlights


On the 75th anniversary of the 1889 Land Run, the community celebrated with a rodeo parade that featured a dozen roundup clubs. A reenactment of the arrival of homesteaders on the train, a showing of the movie “Oklahoma,” a Native American powwow, an opera, and an art exhibit were also included in the celebration.


In 1979, actor James Garner came home to Norman for the 90th anniversary of the Land Run of 1889. Garner was the Grand Marshal of the large parade and a train of covered wagons crossed the South Canadian River in a reenactment of the opening of the Unassigned Lands in 1889. The celebration also included melodramas and a fiddling contest.


The largest celebration of the anniversary of the Land Run of 1889 was the “Centennial 89’er” in 1989, the 100th anniversary of the Run. Seventy bands and floats and 70 were entered and 73 covered wagons and buggies made up the parade. Grand marshal for the parade was Jonathan Norman III, the great grandson of Abner E. Norman, for whom the city was named. Art and history exhibits and a tour of historic homes were also part of the festivities.                            







The 1999 celebration was dedicated to veterans of the Thunderbird 45th National Guard Division. A monument to the division erected on the site of the old National Guard Armory was dedicated as well as a statue of Abner E. Norman at the Municipal Building. Two grand marshals led the parade:  Col. Neal Harris, whose father made the Land Run along with his parents when he was a year old, and Dr. Morgan Lee, who was an optometrist in Norman for over 40 years. Both men were Thunderbird veterans in World War II and Korea.


                  The 2013 celebration was weather-themed: “Workin’ Up a Storm.” The parade, which included Scottish bag pipes, was the launch of the “Surrey with the Fringe On Top.”


                  The novel True Grit provided the theme for the 2014 celebration of the Land Run, the unofficial 125th anniversary of the Run. “89er Norm” made his debut at the parade.       

The '89er committee

Brad Benson, Stefanie Brickman, Sandy Dunaway, Karin Ford (vice chair), Susan Grossman, Bryan Jenkins, Gary Kramer (chair), Michelle Linnemann, Mike Pullin, Fred Queen, Kathryn Ramsey, Andy Rieger, Jamie Shattuck, Tom Thomas, Bob Thompson, Nathan Thompson, Lori Thrower, Jeffrey Wilhite