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One of OKC's oldest neighborhoods celebrates with its annual fall festival

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Mesta Festa
Noon-6 p.m. Saturday
Mesta Park
1900 N. Shartel
Free
www.mestapark.org

Born to William Skirvin, an 89er-turned-oil tycoon and founder of the Skirvin Hotel, Perle Mesta was known for her elegance, as well as by her widely popular moniker: the "hostess with the mostest."

Mesta did not spend a great deal of her life as an Okie, but as a socialite, hostess and later United States ambassador to Luxembourg. Her life story includes the likes of U.S. presidents, movie stars and a quaint neighborhood in Oklahoma City that bears her name, Mesta Park.

Founded in 1902, the neighborhood is a Historic Preservation District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Skirvin built a house in the neighborhood in the early 1900s. The residence would be a home to Mesta for small stints of time throughout her life.

The Mesta Festa shindig originally started as a small mixer for the neighbors to get to know one another. Fifteen events later, and the annual Mesta Festa has become a block party for residents and neighboring communities alike to partake in a host of activities, from which the proceeds benefit the upkeep and beautification of the neighborhood.

Over the years, the festival has garnered a reputation for local beer, talented musicians and an all-around good time, said Harry Meister, resident and event committee member.

"All of it is so exciting," Meister said. "The best part, though, is looking out over the crowds of people and seeing them enjoy a fall afternoon in our neighborhood."

In fact, the annual fest helped solidify Meister and his wife's decision to move to Mesta Park in 2001.

"We figured that after attending Mesta Festa, any neighborhood that does something so fun must be a place we wanted to live," he said. "Plus, we loved the house."

Each year, nearly 1,000 people participate. Now considered a staple of the neighborhood, the event also attracts a great deal of participants from local businesses. Several local breweries and wineries " such as Texas Sux Beer, Coach's, Bricktown Brewery and Deer Creek Winery " will conduct tastings.

Although the event is free, a $12 donation allows free refills on beverages from the breweries. Chicago dogs from the Prohibition Room and fare from Big Truck Tacos have become a crowd favorite, Meister said.

From face painting to vendor booths to local artists' exhibits, Mesta Festa also offers activities for the entire family. The nearby Wilson Elementary PTA will host games and art stations for children. Live music comes courtesy of 105.3 The Spy and local bands such as Rico Muerte.  

For more information, visit www.mestapark.org. "Ta'Chelle Jones | photo/Mark Hancock

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