The 40th Bluegrass & Chili Festival featured musician Ricky Skaggs, hot food and hotter temperatures to finish with a successful two-day run, according to officials.

“It went very well,” said BG&CF organizer Dell Davis on Monday following a busy week of activity. “The heat was extreme.”

The event offered new wrinkles to the 2018 event. Officials closed off part of Cherokee Street and set up paid parking lots around the venue for $10 a car.

“The difficulty with the paid parking was the distance between lots and the downtown site was an issue,” Davis added. “We can see some improvements coming there. Some were unhappy with (paid) parking. Others were OK with it.”

The overall impact for the City of Wagoner was just too early to judge, but by most accounts the attendance was down a bit from 2018. The event in 2018 had great fall weather.

Skaggs was a big draw on Friday night as Main Street was packed.

“We had a staff meeting and the compliments were great,” Davis said. “We saw little things (to fix).”

Davis told fans drove in from as far as Minnesota and many came from surrounding states, like Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and others.

Bluegrass fans recognized Davis at Braum’s near the end of the festival and told her how much they appreciated the event. They also said they would be coming back again.

The festival helped those staying overnight with rooms in and out of Wagoner, too.

This year’s BG&CF featured a proclamation from Gov. J. Kevin Stitt. Gov. Stitt recognized the work of Davis during a Saturday ceremony with Sen. Kim David on hand.

“I was shocked…and speechless,” Davis said of the honor. “A lot of people have contributed over the year. It’s not a single person. It is a very shared honor.”

The honor was kept secret until late in the afternoon on Saturday.

“It was wonderful and very nice,” Davis added.

John covers news and sports for the Wagoner County American-Tribune. Phone: 918-485-5505