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Festivals abound for tourists and Oklahoma residents

Festivals abound for tourists and Oklahoma residents

The Oklahoma City Regatta Festival at Riversport Rapids & Adventures is one of the largest regattas in the country. (Courtesy Photo/Riversport)

Every year in Oklahoma, festivals and special events bring variety, celebration, fun and history to residents and visitors. From rattlesnakes to regattas, castles to cow chips, Oklahoma’s diverse festivals and gatherings showcase the communities large and small that make the state so unique and enjoyable to visit. Here is a sampling of festivals and special events planned for 2022 in each of Oklahoma’s regions.

Central Oklahoma and Metro OKC

May 28-May 30 – The Paseo Arts Festival is an annual arts and entertainment festival held in Oklahoma City’s Paseo Arts District. Each Memorial Day weekend, more than 90 artists converge on the historic district to share their own original works of art. From paintings to jewelry to sculpture, the festival highlights the arts as well as live music and performance.

May through July – The Beats and Bites Festival at Norman’s Riverwind Casino features food trucks and live music throughout the summer. The May gig features Night Ranger and Starship, the June gig hosts Everclear with Sister Hazel and Deep Blue Something, and July will see the Randy Rogers Band and opening act Jason Young Band at the start of the month, followed by Scotty McCreery and Kyle Rainer in July 30.

June 30-July 2 – The Red Earth Festival, the largest Native arts event of its kind in Oklahoma, will be held this year at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The nationally recognized festival showcases the indigenous cultures that make up the state and showcases artwork for purchase from America’s most talented Native artists.

September 30-October 1 – The Oklahoma City Regatta Festival at Riversport Rapids & Adventures is one of the largest regattas in the country. Oklahoma City’s Head of the Oklahoma Regatta was selected by US Rowing as one of its top events. The festival features OGE NightSprints for Riversport’s Corporate Rowing and Dragon Boat League championships, with collegiate, masters and junior races in the OCU Head of the Oklahoma on Saturday and Sunday. The regatta also includes the Riversport Youth Kayak Race and the PaddleFest Dragon Boat Race.

November through January – Downtown in December is Oklahoma City’s largest and most expansive holiday celebration. The downtown celebration begins with the Oklahoma City Tree Lighting Festival on November 18 in Bricktown with the traditional countdown to the lighting of the Christmas tree with Mayor David Holt. The Christmas season continues with holiday lights along Automobile Alley, ice skating at the Devon Rink at Myriad Botanical Gardens, and plenty of holiday shows, plays, and concerts.

Tulsa Subway

May 6-8 – The annual Tulsa Mayfest is Tulsa’s largest spring arts festival held downtown in Tulsa’s Arts District and historic Greenwood District. In addition to hundreds of artists selling their own original creations, the event also features a juried youth show, food trucks, performances and concerts.

June 16-18 – The Tulsa Juneteenth Festival will be held in the historic Greenwood Avenue “Black Wall Street” neighborhood to celebrate the joy of liberation. This festival includes a block party, wellness activities, art exhibits, an interactive art project and a community-wide recognition of Juneteenth, which honors the day federal troops took control of Texas in 1865 to ensure that all slaves were freed.

June 25-26 – The first AAA Route 66 debuts this year in Tulsa leading up to the 100th anniversary of Mother Road in 2026. The Road Fest will include live music, a classic car display, interactive exhibits on the Route 66, vintage recreational vehicles, an indoor drive-in and more. Visit route66roadfest.com.

September 16-18 – Scotfest Oklahoma, an authentic celebration of Scottish and Celtic culture inspired by the 180-year-old Lonach Gathering, returns September 16-18 at Broken Arrow Events Park in Broken Arrow. As well as folk, roots and pop music, this festival also highlights Highland athletics, pipe and drum competitions, Irish dancing, whiskey tastings and cuisine from Scottish, British and Irish lands.

Northeast

April 30-June 5 – The Oklahoma Renaissance Festival allows visitors to step back in time to the 16th century at Muskogee Castle. Complete with a royal court, jousters, musicians and minstrels, the festival includes unique foods, over 125 Renaissance and modern crafts, costumed re-enactors and visitors, a life-size chess set nature played by characters, a jousting tournament, a children’s play zone, KnightWings Birds of Prey and more.

June 3-5 – SunFest in Bartlesville is billed as “Oklahoma’s largest outdoor picnic,” and the event is held annually at Sooner Park. The weekend features a nonstop lineup of jazz, blues, Christian rock, and rock, but the highlight of the event is the SunFest Car Show, which takes place on Saturday.

July 14-16 – The Porter Peach Festival celebrates the region’s annual peach harvest with an old-fashioned festival that includes carnival rides, the Peach Pageant, live entertainment, arts and crafts, food fishing and more. The weekend gets even sweeter with the annual free peach, peach and ice cream parade and a baked goods and recipe contest featuring peaches.

November 2-5 – The Will Rogers Motion Picture Festival at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore celebrates the cinematic legacy of Oologah native Will Rogers. The festival includes a series of films in honor of Will Rogers’ first film and his huge popularity as a performer, movie star, radio personality, commentator and journalist.

North West

April 9 to April 16 – Toss the tokens at the Cimarron Territory Celebration and Cow Token Toss Contest in Beaver. Honoring the diehard pioneers of Oklahoma’s tough Panhandle who collected bison “cow chips” for fuel, the festival features a carnival, craft show, parade, children’s activities, shows and, of course, cow chip toss contests and other themed activities.

April 22-24 – The Waynoka Rattlesnake Hunt takes on murderous Oklahoma residents with a downtown festival featuring vendor booths, carnival rides, a flea market and the famous Den of Death with living serpents. The festival ends with a ceremony where captured snakes are measured and weighed with prizes awarded.

September 10 – The Charlie Adams Day festival in Newkirk is a real small town festival with BBQ contests, storytelling, re-enactments, arts and crafts stalls and a Cruisin’ for Charlie Poker Run. Visitors can get a tasting kit for all the BBQ favorites as well as vote at the local car show.

December 1 – Tonkawa’s Olde Tyme Christmas Celebration welcomes Santa with a parade through downtown, Santa at the Depot, and giant tree lighting. Tonkawa’s historic downtown becomes a magical Christmas paradise filled with lights and carols, as well as shopping and special performances.

South East

May 7 – Dancing Rabbit Music Festival in McAlester is an evening of live musical performances. Monthly events feature food trucks, local beer tastings and shopping throughout downtown McAlester.

October 14-16 – The Robbers Cave Fall Festival is held annually at Robbers Cave State Park in Wilburton, featuring a classic car and truck show that attracts over 500 hot rods and vehicles each year. The festival also includes carnival foods like candy apples, a handmade arts and crafts show, and live music.

November 11-13 – The Beavers Bend Folk Festival and Craft Show in Broken Bow is a popular event showcasing turn-of-the-century crafts, folk music, vintage shopping and skills like basketry, weaving, blacksmithing, woodturning and more. As well as wine tastings and an activity area for children, the festival also celebrates folk, Celtic, Scottish and American music.

South West

April 9 – The Wichitas Holy City Passion Play is an annual favorite held at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge each Easter in Lawton. Depicting the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the outdoor Easter spectacle is the longest running of its kind in the United States.

May 13 – Lawton’s Apache Casino presents The Rocky Horror Picture Show with original actor Barry Bostwick, who played original character Brad Majors. The screening of the cult classic will be accompanied by a live cast of shadows who will perform the film in real time.

July 15-17 – The Comanche Nation Homecoming Pow Wow in Walters features a full weekend of Native American activities ranging from competitive dancing to inter-tribal dancing. Tribal members in full dress are on hand to honor their culture, and the powwow also features a wide variety of Native American foods and crafts.

October 8 – The Cordell Pumpkin Festival in Cordell offers fall entertainment with a downtown parade, live performances, an arts and crafts fair, and a pumpkin baking contest. The Saturday festival celebrates the annual pumpkin harvest and begins with a pumpkin pancake breakfast, followed by an old and new car show.

central south

April 23 – The Footloose Festival in Elmore City celebrates the city’s infamous 1980 ball that ended the dancing ban and inspired the movie Footloose. Visitors to this festival are encouraged to dress up in their 80s attire to compete for a prize, browse local arts and crafts, and enjoy the day-long street festival. You guessed it – the night ends with a street party and dancing to celebrate.

July 16 – It’s All Peach at the Stratford Peach Festival in Stratford, Oklahoma’s “Peach Capitol”. Held at Stratford City Park, the festival welcomes summer with a downtown street festival, helicopter rides, muscle car show, Peach Royalty contest, peach cookout and a variety of fun, family-friendly contests .

October 29 – The annual Pauls Valley Fall Festival is a Halloween celebration and town festival that includes a costume contest, trick or treating, face painting, a live DJ and more. On-site vendors sell treats, and kids can enjoy plenty of Halloween and fall-themed games.