Food, Culture & Fun: Festivals in Oklahoma - MetroFamily Magazine
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Food, Culture & Fun: Festivals in Oklahoma

by Lindsay Cuomo

Cultural festivals (and festival food!) can create a powerful connection to the world around us, near and far. Whether exploring new flavors, music or experiences or reconnecting with old favorites, sweet memories pair well with family fun at some of the best festivals in Oklahoma. Happening throughout the next year, add these festivals to your family calendar to celebrate cultural pride, homegrown crops, local talent and so much more.

Editor’s note: Due to COVID-19 precautions, some of the following events may adjust their dates, hours or programming. Please check with each venue directly to verify.

In the Metro

Red Earth Festival
Shawnee
Sept. 5 & 6

Experience unique and varied Native cultures at one of the most comprehensive Native arts events of its type. Enjoy diverse artistry through an art market, dance showcase, storytelling and more. Find all the details at redearth.org.

Plus, save the date for the first-ever Red Earth Fall Festival celebrating Indigenous People’s Day on Oct. 17 at Myriad Gardens. The annual Red Earth Parade will lead to this festival with a market and pow wow celebrating Native art and culture.

“We Can’t Wait” Block Party
NE 23rd & MLK, Oklahoma City
Sept. 12

The OKC Martin Luther King Coalition has hosted Oklahoma City’s MLK Jr. Parade for the past 40 years, and the parade is now heralded as the third largest in the United States. The group hosts a variety of additional events and initiatives throughout the year to remember and honor Dr. King’s ideals and contributions and re-pledge a commitment to peace and pursuit of justice.

The Coalition invites families to come together Sept. 12 to enjoy music, food and fun. The party begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 7 p.m. Find out more at okcmlkcoalition.org.

Fiestas de Las Americas
Oklahoma City
Oct. 3

Celebrate the beauty, flavors and talents of Oklahoma’s rich multicultural heritage! Held during Hispanic Heritage Month, this family-friendly festival highlights Latinx art, performers, food and more.

This year’s festivities will be held virtually. Stay tuned for more details at historiccapitolhill.com/fiestas-de-lasamericas.

Greek Festival in OKC
145th & N Penn, Oklahoma City
Tentatively Oct. 4-6

Fresh baked pastries and prepared gourmet dishes will whisk you away at the annual Oklahoma City Greek Festival! In October, the families of Saint George Greek Orthodox Church invite the community to enjoy a cultural experience filled with crowd-pleasing favorites. Take a tour of Greek culture as you dine on roasted lamb, spanakopita, gyros, baklava and more.

To top it off, families can shop at a Greek market featuring a variety of boutiques and enjoy live music and dancing. Stay up to date at greekfestokc.com.

India Food Festival hosted by the India Association of Oklahoma (IAOK)
Central Park, Moore
Oct. 3-11

The India Food Festival underwent significant growth in recent years. This nearly decade-old festival started as a fun gathering for association members, but last year organizers set a new goal: to welcome hundreds of hungry families and serve up traditional dishes with bold flavors that mirror the vibrancy of Indian culture.

Highlighting different regions and traditions, attendees can also enjoy live entertainment including Bollywood, classical temple and folk dance performances as well as music and traditional art. The kids’ zone is a popular place for families to hang out.

Like many other festivals, this year’s activities are moving to a virtual platform. Stay up-to-date on the festival’s happenings at facebook.com/IndiaAssociationOfOklahoma.

Iron Thistle Scottish Festival
Yukon
Oct. 16-18

Celebrate Scottish and Celtic cultures by enjoying musical acts, pipe bands, dancing, traditional food and much more. The fun begins with a fire festival Friday evening and continues all weekend. The kids’ area includes crafts and games, and families can watch the Highland Games, where athletes from across Oklahoma come to compete in Scottish games.

Find out more at unitedscotsok.com/iron-thistle-scottish-festival.

Festival of the Arts
Bicentennial Park, Oklahoma City
April 2021

While visual and performing arts might take center stage at the Festival of the Arts, it doesn’t take Oklahomans long to conjure up memories of their favorite dishes from International Food Row. Local restaurants and chefs show off their skills offering tantalizing dishes, free tastings, demonstrations and more, all showcasing the creativity of culinary art.

Local organizations like the Oklahoma Museum of Art’s Moderns pair with local restaurants and food trucks to serve up festival fare that gives back. The teams are working together to benefit community art programs so families can fill up knowing it’s all for a good cause.

Tempt your taste buds and see a line-up of food vendors participating in the 2021 Festival of the Arts at artscouncilokc.com/festival-of-the-arts.

Statewide

Stilwell Strawberry Festival
Downtown Stilwell
Sept. 19

The town of Stilwell proudly claims the title of Strawberry Capital of the World and they have celebrated the bountiful berry since the 1940s. Usually held in late spring, the Strawberry Festival welcomes more than 30,000 visitors to the bustling small town’s festivities each year.

A parade, carnival rides, midway games, car show, rodeo, live music, baking contests and, of course, plenty of fresh, ripe strawberries greet hungry families eager to celebrate the plentiful local harvest. Free, fresh strawberries and ice cream are always a popular snack. You can even score some champion berries up for auction!

This year’s festival looked quite different as organizers with the Stillwell Kiwanis Club have adjusted to safety precautions. They hosted the berry judging and virtual auction as well as the Strawberry Queen pageant this summer and are working to host festival-goers with a day of fun in September. Plan your visit at strawberrycapital.com.

National Indian Taco Championship
Main Street, Pawhuska
Oct. 3

If you love fry bread and Indian tacos, head to Pawhuska to taste the best traditional tacos around! Held on the first Saturday in October, the annual National Indian Taco Championship challenges locals to put their best recipes to task, with pride and cash prizes on the line.

Festival-goers can get in on the fun and help decide which tasty recipe should win the coveted People’s Choice award. In addition to the handcrafted tacos, families can enjoy local bands, Native American dance demonstrations, drum contests, barrel racing and more.

Find all the delicious details at pawhuskachamber.com.

El Reno Fried Onion Burger Day
Main Street, El Reno
April 30 & May 1, 2021

The onion burger has been a staple in Oklahoma cuisine since the Great Depression when a savvy restaurant owner added inexpensive shredded onions to plump his burger patties. El Reno celebrates this slice of Americana each May with their Burger Day Festival on Main Street.

The celebration is centered on the cooking of the world’s largest fried onion burger! Festival-goers can watch as a 350-pound bun and 250-pound patty are prepared in a 12-foot convection oven and on a 10-foot circular grill that cooks and flips the massive burger.

Continue your culinary journey with a diverse lineup of food trucks and vendors serving up everything from Indian tacos to chocolate-covered bacon while listening to a variety of local and regional bands. The festival kicks off Friday evening and continues all day Saturday. Visit elrenoburgerday.com for details.

Chandler Ice Cream Festival
Tilghman Park, Chandler
June 2021

Nothing says summertime more than a cool, creamy scoop of ice cream. The town of Chandler has dedicated an entire day to ice cream in honor of the area Hiland Dairy plant. Dairy lovers can trek from booth to booth, sampling prizewinning homemade ice cream from the annual festival competition.

Afterward, families can ride carnival rides and listen to live music from local talent. Kids can get their faces painted and hang out with clowns creating balloon animals. Get the scoop on details at chandlerareachamberok.com/events.

McLoud Blackberry Festival
McLoud
July 2021

Celebrated early in July, McLoud Blackberry Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the state. Originally a town picnic, residents gather to celebrate the annual blackberry harvest.

Today, the festival features all kinds of blackberry-themed items including fresh blackberries, cobbler, sodas and teas. Top it all off with live music, a parade, royalty pageant and fireworks. Kids can enjoy a carnival with old-fashioned games like sack races and turtle races. If you’re up to the challenge, sign up to see if you can become the next cobbler gobbler champion or enter your own blackberry creation in a baking contest.

Find more tasty details at mccloudchamber.com/index.html.

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