Tahlequah Daily Press

April 26, 2013

Red Fern a great family fun event


TAHLEQUAH — By the time many of you read this, you’ll already be just hours away from milling around, or kicking back in your lawn chairs, at Norris Park. Some of you might already be downtown before your paper arrives.

Either way, you’ll be immersing yourself in one of Tahlequah’s most-anticipated events of the year, the Red Fern Festival.

Based on the Wilson Rawlins book, “Where the Red Fern Grows,” this two-day event is a celebration of family and community, a sharing of food and fun. Cliché though it may sound, there’s something for everyone here, from the live musical entertainment, to the barbecue and chili cookoff, right down to the light-hearted rubber ducky race.

And of course, among the most popular events are the car, truck and motorcycle show, and the hound dog field trials, which give “city folk” a look at a rural tradition that continues even to this day. (No raccoons are harmed during this event.)

Unless you’re reading this late Friday evening, there’s probably still time for you to sign up to participate in some of the contests slated for Saturday. While being part of certain competitions may come with a fee, being an observer is free of charge. But those who really want to delve into the flavor of the festivities should  buy a tasting kit to serve as judges in the barbecue and chili cookoff.

Several worthy organizations – like Special Olympics and the Kiwanis Club – will be hosting fundraisers, so participants will have several chances to contribute to good causes. (The duck race proceeds fund a Leadership Tahlequah class project.)

If you’re not downtown listening to the music already, we urge you to high-tail it to Norris tonight for a few hours, and then return Saturday for an entire day of family fun. Once  you’ve checked out Red Fern, you’ll be ready to start planning for next year.

Check out the website at www.redfernfestival.com right now, for the calendar of events and other particulars. We’ll see you there!