From the slightly strange to the downright bizarre, here are Oklahoma’s weirdest festivals and events. God bless our wacky state.
By Tony Beaulieu and Marley Coyne
Fort Reno Ghost Tour
June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 6, Oct. 18, Oct. 25
Historic Fort Reno, El Reno
Fort Reno was first established as a military camp in 1874, and many are sure there are still Fort residents from the turn of the century inhabiting the grounds. This tour will take visitors through a live paranormal investigation, with an optional trip to a nearby cemetery. Photography is not only allowed but also encouraged by tour guides—you never know what will show up on film. More about the tour here.
OK Kitty Video Challenge
July 26, The Paramount, Oklahoma City
With the stated aim of discovering the next Lil Bub or Grumpy Cat, The Paramount’s OK Kitty Video Challenge has been accepting cat video submission (under 45 seconds) since May 20. The winners will be screened in July with awards handed out to the top three videos. More about the contest here.
Old Time Threshing Bee & Two-Cylinder Show
Sept. 26-27, Fairview
The Old Time Threshing Bee & Two-Cylinder Show is the premier fair in Oklahoma to see demonstrations of pioneer-era farm equipment—well if may very well be the only fair dedicated to pioneer-era farming equipment. In addition to food and music, the fair’s main attraction is live demonstrations of grain milling, wheat threshing, rope making, corn shelling, plowing, saw milling and broom-making. More about the festival here.
Sucker Day Festival
Sep. 27, Wetumka
In 1953, a man named F. Bam Morrison came to Wetumka and convinced local residents to put up the money to bring a circus to town. Morrison sold tickets to everyone in town, but the morning the circus was supposed to arrive in a grand parade, the streets were quiet. The citizens of Wetumka had been swindled. Morrison skipped town the night before, and took their money with him. Instead of kicking themselves for being suckered, the people of Wetumka put on a fair with the surplus food and decorations they had purchased. Fifty-one years later, Sucker Day in Wetumka is still an annual event. More information about Sucker Day here.
Honobia Bigfoot Fall Festival & Conference
Oct. 3-5, Kiamichi Mountain Mission Campground, Honobia
The Kiamichi mountains in southeast Oklahoma have been home to dozens of alleged Bigfoot sightings over the years, in fact many residents in and around the town of Honobia claim to have spotted the infamous cryptozoic ape themselves. The annual Honobia Bigfoot Festival celebrates the region’s hidden inhabitants with music, food, Bigfoot sighting stories, and Bigfoot research workshops. More information here.
Mountain Man Encampment
Oct. 3-4, Woolaroc, Bartlesville
Travelling through time and space no longer requires a TARDIS or the title of Doctor. The Mountain Man Encampment, held each fall and spring on the Woolaroc grounds, recreates the pioneer experience in Indian Territory circa 1820, complete with 125 tents and teepees. More information here.
Oct. 18, Pauls Valley
Centered around Pauls Valley’s Toy & Action Figure Museum attendees of Superhero Day are encouraged to dress as their favorite superhero, or as their own original creations. More about Superhero Day here
Atoka Fire Truck Parade
First weekend in March, Atoka
Pull over for the annual Atoka Fire Truck Parade. Oklahoma holds claim to the title of world’s largest firetruck-themed event, featuring a total of 220—old and new. The parade showcases the artistry and design of the trucks complete with all the bells and whistles. Learn more here.
World Championship Cow Chip Throwing Contest
Third weekend in April
Beaver County Fairgrounds, Beaver
It may not be the most popular sport in America, but the residents of Beaver take their cow chip throwing seriously. Make the annual journey to the self-proclaimed Cow Chip Throwing Capitol of the World in April for festivities that include the Cow Chip Fun Run, Cow Chip Parade, Cow Chip’s Got Talent Show, and, of course, the Cow Chip Throwing Competition. More information here.
Fourth weekend in April
Elmore City Community Center, Elmore City
Sometimes you just gotta cut loose. Set in the town that inspired the movie “Footloose,” this festival of the same name features a community-wide prom and 80s garb—fashion’s finest decade. Break out the hairspray, scrunchies, and off-the-shoulder dress and prepare to dance into the arms of a young Kevin Bacon. Learn more here.
Pawnee Bill’s Original Wild West Show
Second weekend in June
Historic Pawnee Bill Ranch, Pawnee
Pawnee Bill’s Original Wild West Show performs annually in June at historic Pawnee Bill Ranch in Pawnee, Oklahoma. Touring Wild West Shows were a popular form of mass entertainment in the age before radio, television and sound film. These shows featured everything from trick riding and shooting to songs and jokes. More about the show here.