TAHLEQUAH — Red dirt to bluegrass music will fill the air at the Seventh Annual Red Fern Festival today and Saturday in Tahlequah.
The activities at the family-friendly festival are drawn from elements of the classic novel “Where the Red Fern Grows,” about a boy and his two dogs.
The festival is anchored at Norris Park in downtown Tahlequah. The 5Cs Car Show and the hound dog field trials takes place at Capitol Square and Sequoyah City Park, respectively.
You can whet your appetite for barbecue, catch crawdads, marvel at hound dogs, admire classic cars, find arts and crafts, listen to live music, watch the movie, eat funnel cakes, do the cake walk, buy ferns and race a duck. You can also pitch horseshoes, enter pickles in the canned food contest and play in a checkers tournament.
“Red Fern Festival is going to be even better this year,” Drew Haley, the Tahlequah Main Street Association’s program director, said in a media release. “A lot of the things we’ve added will cater to kids.”
The festival begins at noon today, and festival-goers can peruse booths set up at the park while enjoying a variety of mobile munchies. The old-fashioned cake walk organized by the Park Hill chapter of Oklahoma Home and Community Educators returns for the seventh year. It will take place at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Keetoowah Cherokee Casino Music Stage.
For the movie, bring lawn chairs and blankets and be sure to arrive early to get a good spot. The movie will end Friday’s activities.
The festival takes on a county fair atmosphere Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. A contest pitting the best canned foods — strawberry preserves, pickles, apple butter, wild plum jelly, green beans, for example — will be featured.
The old-fashioned children’s games start at 10 a.m., with the crawdad hole taking center stage.
The event also features music both days.
Tonight is Red Dirt night at Norris Park. Monica Taylor and Don Morris kick things off at 6:30 p.m.
Taylor grew up in the heart of red dirt musiccountry in Perkins. Taylor will be joined by Red Dirt Rangers bassist Don Morris.
The Red Dirt Rangers take the stage at 7:30 p.m. A certain kind of music grew up and took root in Stillwater, which became the epicenter of what would come to be known as Red Dirt music. The band will mark its 25th anniversary this year with the “Oklahoma World Tour.”
The group Country Gospell plays at noon Saturday, followed by the Sean James Trio at 2 p.m.
The Klondike 5 String Band begins its set at 4 p.m.
Taylor and Morris also will play at 10 p.m. tonight at The Branch, and the Red Dirt Rangers will follow them at 11 p.m.
On Saturday, The Klondike 5 String Band plays at The Branch at 8 p.m., and the Sean James Trio plays at 10:30 p.m.
Many more activities will be featured. A complete list is online at www.RedFernFestival.com.