The Best Things To Do In Oklahoma This February

by Natasha Ball

02/01/2013

Every month we serve up a new batch of the best things to do around our state. Here’s the latest list of entertainment and activities only a place like Oklahoma can offer.

USS Batfish Living History Days. Hunch your shoulders and tuck your chin, or make a new dent in your skull. The entrance to the belly of the USS Batfish, the champion submarine-killing submarine of World War II, on display in Muskogee, is like the end of a pipe. A sinker of 15 ships and veteran of seven war patrols, it takes no prisoners. See the Batfish beached and open for visitors at the semi-annual Living History Days event, hosted by members of the Batfish Living History Association dressed in period naval uniforms, as part of the offerings at War Memorial Park in Muskogee. Feb. 15-17

Battle of Round Mountain Re-enactment. Walk through a Civil War encampment by day, twirl a hoop skirt and scuff up a dance floor at an antebellum ball by night. Real cannons fire at the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Round Mountain near Yale, the site of what’s said to be the first battle fought during the Vicil War in the place now known as Oklahoma. Setting up camp on the battlefield on Friday the 22nd will be Colonel Douglas H. Cooper with his 1,400 Confederate soldiers. Opposite will be 9,000 Union civilians under the Upper Creek leader Opothleyahola, on their march north in search of an escape from an alliance with the Confederacy under the protection of the Union in Kansas. The two march toward each other Saturday afternoon, and the dancing begins at sundown. Feb. 22-24

Frederick Fantastic Oyster Fry and Craft Show. The Oyster Fry that began as a fundraiser for the Manitou PTA grew not long after it got its start in 1953. That was when the festival served 120 gallons of oysters to 724 people, a feast which took place about five decades after Teddy Roosevelt passed through the town in search of wolves. The price of oysters drove the festival into extinction for a while after that, until it was exhumed in 1990 by the Frederick Chamber of Commerce. They spread out the reborn Fantastic Oyster Fry under the roof of the school cafeteria and paired it with an arts-and-crafts show featuring the work of the local citizenry. After picking between the homemade sides of coleslaw, potato chips, and sliced bread, the toughest choice you’ll have to make all day is whether you fancy your oysters—rushed the entire 500 miles from where they’re fished out of the Gulf Coast—fried, or if you prefer them raw. Feb. 23

Daisy BB Gun Days. Where better to prove your mastery of marksmanship than in the presence of the largest private gun collection in the world? the Daisy BB Gun Days event is family friendly, an open invitation for adults and kids alike to make their way to the museum in Claremore for a weekend of competition sharpshooting. While adults, who compete on Sunday starting at 5 p.m., have to pay $10 for the chance to go head to head with the armed brethren, the spots at the firing line are reserved for kids at no charge. (Start ’em young on BB guns and there’s no telling where they’ll end up. See what we mean in Natasha Ball’s latest story, “At Home On The Range,” in the Feb. 15 issue.) Feb. 23-25

New Genre XX. Experience the premier of new visual and performing arts, meet and mingle with artists from across the country and soak up a one-a-kind, no-where-else-can-you-find-this experience of nontraditional, experimental art as part of Tulsa’s New Genre Arts Festival. Buy a pass and get the full menu of this 20th-annual festival, or pick and choose your favorites of the half-dozen performances, exhibitions, and workshops available over the final two weeks of February 2013. Feb. 22-Mar. 2

PLUS: Okies in Concert. Several musicians who call Oklahoma home are headed back to stages in the Sooner State: Shawnee’s Samantha Crain releases her new album, Kid Face, with a show at Fassler Hall in Tulsa on Feb. 15. She’ll be accompanied by Parker Millsap and skating Polly—both groups hail from the heart of the state. Crain and Millsap will make an appearance the following night, Feb. 16, at Blue Door in OKC. (The office release date for Kid Face in Feb. 19.) Oklahoma City’s BRONCHO is teaming up with Stillwater’s Colourmusic and Tulsa’s Riot Bear to headline at The Vanguard in Tulsa on Feb. 16. Chockie’s Reba McEntire heads to Durant on Feb. 16 to play a sold-out show at Choctaw Casino. Tulsa’s Ronnie Dunn plays Norman’s Riverwind Casino on Feb. 22. GRAMMY-nominated rockabilly artist JD McPherson will be just up the road from his native Broken Arrow when he takes the stage at downtown Tulsa’s Cain’s Ballroom on Feb. 23. Other local artists hosting CD-release shows this month: Beau Jennings, Sweet Action, Feb. 9, VZD’s in OKC; Black Canyon, Black Canyon, Feb. 9, VZD’s in OKC, Taddy Porter, Stay Golden, Mar. 1, Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa (with The Bourgeois and The Del Toros—official release is Feb. 26). WATCH: See original music videos from some of these Oklahoma artists and more at thislandpress.com/video, under the Music Videos tab.