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Watch out for the Loose Caboose

Traveling Interstate 35 north or south through Oklahoma, it is hard to miss the giant "See us for ANTIQUES" billboards that promise 150,000 square feet of vintage merchandise to be found on Main Street in Purcell. Exit 91 is the gateway to this world of magical merchandise.

Historic Main Street's wide boulevard with its old-fashioned street-center parking is only about five blocks long. Virtually every store front hosts a thriving business--eateries, salons, gift shops and eye doctors, banks, furniture stores, abstracts and attorneys--all the amenities any small community could need or desire.

But the most notable are the five uniquely different antique shops, artistically housed in their separate historic buildings that represent the variety and flavor of the store's owners and promising to satisfy the most ardent Antiques Roadshow fan.

Though every day is an antique fan's holiday in Purcell, each Labor Day weekend heralds a unique opportunity for even more magic.

This year on Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (though the stores often stay open later), the antique merchants of downtown Purcell present the Loose Caboose Festival, a family event featuring good music, fabulous food, and lots more vintage fare.

The tiny Pocket Park where the historic caboose stands in downtown Purcell is the focal point of the event, but it spills out all over downtown as vendors of antiques, art, handcrafts and food present their wares.

Local wineries offer wine tasting, and the food court provides a huge variety of thirst-quenching and tummy-tempting booths such as famous Indian tacos by Ramona Horsechief, and some of the best in barbecue.

The Loose Caboose Festival is a great family event. There is live music all day and a Children's Tent with activities like storytelling and craft making.

A sophisticated addition to this year's event is a fashion show featuring the collection of well known bi-coastal designer Karen Brown. This will be held in Foster's Photographic Studio at 1:30 p.m.

Although there is a small charge to attend the fashion show, admission to The Loose Caboose is free.

A visit to this area is worth the drive for more than antiques and a great hometown event. This is horse country and Purcell and surrounding communities remain havens of peace and natural beauty a blink away from the metropolitan areas.

For more information about this seventh annual event, visit www.loosecaboosefestival.com. Call Roselyn McAlister at 405-527-0462 and Floetta Vaughn at 405-527-5214 for vendor details.

Editor's note: Susen Foster is the owner of Pecan Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Pauls Valley, Okla. She is the author of numerous travel books. Susen can be reached at www.greatersuccess.com or call 580-622-5408.

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