Walk the paths of the internationally renowned Heart In the Park labyrinth from the cast-iron pausing stone at the entrance to the red heart-shaped goal in the center. As you depart, touch the wheat on the stone, to leave a bit of yourself with Heart In the Park. Located in Centennial Park in the historic district of downtown Tonkawa, the labyrinth is bordered by an historical timeline of the area. Picnic facilities are available.
Our little town of Tonkawa, OK, in 2006 was looking for a project to honor our state centennial celebration which would be coming up in 2007. Local artist, Audrey Schmitz, was challenged to come up with an idea for such a project. Tonkawa, is known as the Wheatheart of Oklahoma. To Incorporate both the wheat and the heart she conceived the idea of a heart shaped labyrinth, with a pausing stone embellished with a stalk of wheat. The labyrinth would also be surrounded by an historical timeline of the city of Tonkawa. After much discussion and other project proposals being presented, the labyrinth idea was voted on and approved.
After researching the construction of labyrinths, our committee of 15 dedicated and hardworking volunteers, consulted with and hired labyrinth builder, Marty Kermeen of Illinois, to continue the design process and turn the idea into an actual labyrinth. Marty is one of the best, if not the best, labyrinth builders in the world. He and his wife Debi own and operate the company Labyrinths In Stone, a division of their parent company, Artistic Pavers.
We found out that it is one thing to talk about a heart shaped labyrinth, and another thing to design one that can actually be built, while retaining the inherent heart shape. Marty made many drawings and they were narrowed down to one. With the assistance of labyrinth historian and author, Jeff Saward, of the UK, Marty presented us with a beautiful design that met all of the requirements.
Marty and his assistant Jorge Puga, arrived in Tonkawa on May 17, 2007, and 18 days later, the labyrinth was completed. Marty and Jorge are truly amazing to watch. They don't know the meaning of a day off once they start the construction of a project. After seeing them produce this beautiful labyrinth, in only 18 days, and with such care and meticulous perfection, everyone who comes to see the project, during its construction and since its completion, have come away with respect and admiration for what Marty and Jorge have done.
The images showing the construction of the labyrinth were taken by local photographer, Ken Crowder. After realizing the importance of documenting a project of this magnitude, he showed up for parts of each day during the process. His philosophy was, “It isn’t going to happen again, so we’ve got to document it now.” He also realized the importance of showing as much of the community support for the project as possible. As they say, “It takes a village.”
We hope that after viewing the photographs of the construction of the Heart In the Park labyrinth, you come away with an understanding and appreciation of all of the effort and hard work that went into turning a dream into reality!
Earth Day Labyrinth Walk
The Bill Collector's from Enid, OK performing Go Back Jack and Do it Again.
Since 2017, North Central Oklahoma Arts Council and Heart in the Park Committee sponsor monthly outdoor concerts from May through October on the night of the full moon. The live music performances are free and appropriate for all ages.
From May through August the concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. September and October concerts begin at 7:00 p.m. In case of inclement weather, the performance will take place in the Santa Fe Depot across the street from the park. Since permanent seating in the park is limited, the public is invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets and snacks. Pets on leashes are welcome. Restroom facilities are located in the Santa Fe Depot.
During the evening, time will be scheduled for all to walk the world’s only heart-shaped labyrinth under the light of the full moon. The walk concludes with the traditional howl at the moon from the labyrinth goal.
As of March 01, 2020 this site is being modified to make major improvements. Please check back soon to see what we have done!