Local bars, pubs to get festive for holiday events

A beer sits at the bar at Kroner & Baer Pub, where several events will be held this week for friends and family who get together for the holidays.

Tahlequah’s bars and pubs are ready to celebrate the holiday season, with a number of events lined up this week and beyond.

This Wednesday, The Branch will be having an open mic night, along with a Thanksgiving dinner. The food will be served at 4 p.m., with the music starting at 7 p.m. Manager Justin Kelley said The Branch usually closes as things start to ramp up down the street at Ned’s.

“It’s usually a little pre-game for that. We’ll have turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, dinner rolls and all that good stuff – just a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I’m going to smoke the turkey and finish it off in the oven, so I think it will be good,” Kelley said.

Kelley said The Branch will likely host some sort of Christmas party.

Technically, Ned’s doesn’t have a formal Thanksgiving event planned, unless revelers want to county “Nedsgiving.” On Wednesday, patrons can expect a lively bunch as friends and family will gather to celebrate the eve of Turkey Day. Owner Gary Kirkpatrick said he doesn’t even know how Nedsgiving started.

“We never called it that; it just evolved into it,” he said. “I don’t know why, but people just started calling it that and I figured I’d take it. It’s sort of a big deal. We’ve been there for so long and there weren’t a lot of bars to go to for a long time. Everybody gets into town, they visit their family for a little bit, and then they go down to Ned’s. They run into people they haven’t seen in years – people they went to high school with or college. It’s a fun time.”

Ned’s also does a Tacky Christmas Sweater Contest every year. No date has been set yet, but the staff will announce the event once plans have been made.

Kroner & Baer Pub is planning for live music every day this week, except for on Thanksgiving, when it will be closed. Tuesday is an open mic night, starting at 8 p.m., while the day before Thanksgiving will feature Landon Walker, from 7 to 10 p.m. After the holiday, the festivities start back up with more live music from Dan Martin on Friday, 8 to 11 p.m.; and Dominic Roy on Saturday, from 8 to 11 p.m.

“The night before Thanksgiving, a lot of people like to get out because they don’t have to work the next day, so we see a lot of people,” Owner Chris Whytal said. “And then on Friday and Saturday, we’ve been busy in previous years, due to the fact that people have family in town and they like to get out and find something to do.”

Kroner & Baer also plans to celebrate with patrons for the annual Tahlequah Christmas Parade, which is Dec. 3, at 6 p.m. The pub will be serving up warm drinks, like Irish coffees and hot chocolates, so attendees can stay cozy while they watch the parade from the patio area.

Those looking for something new to do this year can sign up to attend the Sequoyah State Park’s Wreath and Wine. The park will host two nights wherein those who are 21 and older can try some wine while they make natural wreaths, swag or garlands.

“The purpose of it is to get rid of the red cedar that’s throughout the park,” Sierra Coon, park naturalist, said. “It’s an encroaching species that can cause severe negative impacts on plants and animals in the region. To help reduce the amount of red cedar we have present, we’ve cut some down and we’ll utilize is at this event to reduce waste.”

The Wreath and Wine events will be held at the Group Camp site on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. Front Porch Wine will be on hand to give people tastings or for people to make purchases. The spots are limited, so people can RSVP by emailing sierra.coon@travelok.com. A photo ID is required to enter, and entry is $20 a person.

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