MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

October 3, 2011

Muskogee’s Heritage Days set for this weekend

— Follow in the footsteps of Bass Reeves or meet “Rooster Cogburn” during Muskogee’s Heritage Days this weekend.

Downtown Muskogee Inc. is the host of the annual “Muskogee’s Heritage Days: A Living History Festival” on Friday and Saturday in the Historic Depot District at Third and Elgin streets.

The “Bass Reeves’ Legacy” walking tour starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Three Rivers Museum. Costumed interpreters will tell the story of Reeves, one of the most significant lawmen in Indian Territory history.

Reeves was a slave in Texas who escaped at the outset of the Civil War and fled into Indian Territory, where he learned the land and the languages of the Native tribes.

After the war, Reeves settled in Van Buren, Ark., and was recruited by the “hanging judge,” Isaac Parker, as a deputy marshal for the federal court at Fort Smith. He also served the Paris, Texas, court before he settled in Muskogee to serve its federal court. He lived the rest of his life in the city.

The tour follows Reeves’ footsteps in the historic downtown area. Tickets for the tour are $15 and are available from Three Rivers Museum.

The tour will be followed by a visit from “John Wayne” as the intrepid Fort Smith Marshal Rooster Cogburn and other memorable movie characters. Ermal Williamson, who portrays John Wayne, will present his show at 7 p.m. at the Roxy Theater.

Organizers will serve an authentic chuck wagon breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday behind Three Rivers Museum.

The Three Rivers Museum and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame will offer Native American dance and song, storytellers, an Old West medicine show, live music, and western crafts and vendors of food, including barbecue, tamales, hot dogs, soul food and popcorn.

Organizers say there might be an attempted train robbery and a shootout at the depot. Also planned for the day are antique cars and collectibles, a magic show and vintage games for children.

The day also includes outhouse races at 2 p.m., and a concert at 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

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