National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum's Chuck Wagon Festival: four reasons to attend this Memorial Day Weekend - MetroFamily Magazine
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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Chuck Wagon Festival: four reasons to attend this Memorial Day Weekend


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Oklahoma City family fun thrives in summer.

The year’s best season seems somewhat subjective but I really feel it’s not an overstatement. I love summer; it is without a doubt my favorite season and Memorial Day Weekend is its unofficial start.

If you’re looking for Memorial Day fun, here’s our Memorial Day Fun Guide. Whether you’re planning to honor local veterans, find Oklahoma City family fun or both this three-day weekend, that guide is a great start.

What I’m looking forward to this Memorial Day is the Chuck Wagon Festival at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Last year was the first time I attended the event and it was a stand-out seasonal experience. It definitely ranks at the top of my favorite events in the year. And my kids loved it too. This month’s Kid Review is in print in the magazine and online here. My son, Isaac, can tell you why he enjoyed attending.

Here are four reasons to love the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Chuck Wagon Festival:

  • It’s two days so you have a choice of when to attend: The festival is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. I appreciate that because our weekend will inevitably involve other activities we want to pursue. I’ve just started participating in a Sunday yoga series at the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City and I can still make that plus some friends’ parties or take in another patriotic event if we plan it just right. Offering the event both days is smart because we can make it even with other things to do that weekend.
  • The price is right: Kids age 12 and under are free; adult admission is $15, unless you’re already a member, in which case your entry fee is comped. It’s worth attending with your child or a group of children to enjoy all that’s offered there. The festival’s activities are not something that incur separate fees, or rather, you won’t have to keep paying for everything your child decides to participate in for the day. If you choose to stop by the gift shop, the selection is pretty amazing and my kids always find something unique to buy but that’s not the same as having to pay for each activity.
  • The variety of things to do will keep your kids busy: I thought when we went last year that we’d be out of the house for a couple of hours, as in three max. We stayed the entire day, which I remember because it was the first time I left my then two-month-old baby. This year, I know that going with four children will be fine because each will be engaged; my sons are 12, 7, 4 and 1 and they will be actively engaged during our visit because it’s a festival where there’s something for everyone even with that broad age range. Where else can kids try archery, see a blacksmith work, make rope by spinning fibers, try blackberry cobbler and hear authors and artists talk about their work?
  • Share culture: Western culture shouldn’t be something kids just hear about vaguely in school. Getting out and experiencing some of it first-hand is more memorable and makes for a lasting impression, besides family memories. The best aspect of the festival for my family was meeting the author of “Hank the Cowdog,” John Erickson, which led us to start our summer reading off with that series of books, the same ones I read as a kid. That’s a cool thing I don’t think we’d have in common otherwise. When my children say they’re from Oklahoma, I want them to be able to talk about some of the culture that’s inherent to this area, whether that’s through art or literature or just knowing more about the state’s history.

Family memories are at the heart of the holiday, after all, of more than one kind. The Chuck Wagon Festival is an excellent way to start your summer. I know that’s how we’ll begin ours and we hope to see you there!

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