Venture out this spring to Oklahoma festivals and events to celebrate the blooming buds and bright sunshine of the season.
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As the short days of winter expand to embrace the warmer temperatures of March and April, festivals and events throughout the state prepare to welcome visitors to their celebrations of spring. From homegrown street fairs to lively Western heritage jubilees, this list of the top spring events in Oklahoma will provide the inspiration for a getaway to some of the finest events in the region.
Indulge your inner artist with a trip to Oklahoma City’s renowned Festival of the Arts, lovingly known as the city’s annual “rite of spring.” This massive artistic bonanza set in the middle of the city’s bustling downtown area celebrates visual, culinary and performing arts. Join over 750,000 visitors at this annual festival to peruse booths filled with artistic masterpieces ranging from photography and sculpture, to jewelry and oil paintings.
Come for the scrumptious culinary selections available in the festival’s famous International Food Row and be rewarded with heaping plates of Indian, Mexican, German and Asian delicacies, plus everything from barbecue sandwiches to sundaes piled high with sweet treats. Jam to live entertainment on multiple stages and take the kids to the children’s activity area for crafts and face painting.
Spring brings multicolored splendor to the Tulsa Botanic Garden during the annual Tulsa Botanic Blooms event. Stroll through one of the largest bulb displays in the state, surrounded by over 200,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses and other spring-flowering bulbs. From the garden entrance to the uniquely-themed areas around the grounds, visitors will be swimming in a sea of color. Florals flow down the stunning Garden’s A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces, a variety of blooms line the Lakeside Promenade and over 14,000 bulbs are adorn the Children’s Discovery Garden.
Held from mid-March to April, Tulsa Botanic Blooms also includes a variety of all-ages activities throughout the season. Enjoy live music on select nights, bring the kids to create crafts or unwind in the gardens with an evening picnic.
Whether you love the smooth sounds of indie pop or prefer the sharper tones of rock-‘n-roll, there is a sound for every ear at the Norman Music Festival. Attracting over 100 bands from every genre, visitors to this musical treasure trove in the heart of Norman enjoy endless live performances on multiple outdoor stages. Take in a rousing performance under bright Oklahoma skies, or duck into a local venue lining the downtown area for intimate performances and jam sessions. Poetry slams, spoken word performances and craft booths are all on-hand, so spend the entire day jumping from one act to the next.
Embrace the beauty of the blooming trees in Idabel with a trip to the city’s annual Dogwood Days Festival. An event that epitomizes spring, Dogwood Days features live entertainment, craft vendors and plenty of children’s games. This small town event, set amidst the springtime glory of white and pink dogwood blossoms, serves up a myriad of old-fashioned entertainment with a country showdown dance contest, chainsaw carving demonstrations and a barbecue cook-off.
Bring the kids for a scavenger hunt or enjoy browsing through Main Street sidewalk sales. After an afternoon in Idabel, load up the car and take a short journey north towards Beavers Bend State Park for a spectacular, peaceful drive along dogwood-lined roads.
Fashioned after the classic children’s novel Where the Red Fern Grows, the Red Fern Festival celebrates the simpler times of bygone eras with old-fashioned family activities set amongst the beautiful surroundings of northeast Oklahoma’s Tahlequah. In honor of the Wilson Rawls novel, which was set in Tahlequah, the Red Fern Festival entertains visitors with hound dog field trials, children’s games from the 1930s, a vintage car show and country food vendors. Tour locations from the novel, enjoy live music performed throughout the event and don’t miss the showing of the movie. Whether fishing for crawdads with the kids or tasting entries in the barbecue cook-off, there’s something for everyone at the Red Fern Festival each spring.
Celebrate the birth of Guthrie and the Land Run of 1889 by attending the city’s much-loved 89ers Days Celebration. Home to stunning Victorian-era brick architecture, the city of Guthrie pulls out all the stops during the month of April by rolling out the Western-themed red carpet for locals and visitors alike. Attend an 1889-style baseball game, witness as wagons, buggies and horses snake their way through downtown in the annual parade, or hot-foot it over to the 89er Rodeo for calf roping, barrel racing, bull riding and more. Visitors to this Oklahoma event will also enjoy an arts and craft show, carnival food vendors and themed window displays throughout the town.
Considered one of the top spring festivals in the South, the Azalea Festival in Muskogee glorifies the beauty of the season with events centered around the city’s Honor Heights Park, home to over 40-acres of blooming azaleas, tulips and wisteria. Take a leisurely drive on curved roadways around the park to experience the springtime charm of the area, take a carriage ride through the colorful blooms and enjoy a myriad of activities in downtown Muskogee. Visitors from around the world come to this annual festiva for a parade, food vendors, classic car shows, live entertainment and more.
Take a trip back to Indian Territory of the 1820s through 1840s at the Spring Traders Encampment at the Woolaroc Ranch, Museum & Wildlife Preserve in Bartlesville. Immerse yourself in the lives of pioneer trappers and traders as skilled and costumed re-enactors present live history demonstrations, old-fashioned craft tutorials and a variety of Western goods and wares for sale. Celebrate the Western heritage of the state as you browse the grounds filled with hundreds of tents and teepees while munching on tasty snacks and authentic chuckwagon food.
Don’t forget to visit the Fur Trade Era Rendezvous, held at the Fort Washita Historic Site in Durant, for storytellers in character, re-enactors in Western clothing and lifestyle demonstrations dating back to the mid-1800s.