Unusual attractions: Springtime blooms with quirky festivals across Oklahoma
Over the next few days, thousands of music fans and art lovers will flock to the Norman Music Festival and downtown Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts.
But those aren’t the only spots to find festive fun in the Sooner State.
Springtime festivals flourish like the redbuds and dogwoods throughout Oklahoma. And some of the state’s quirkiest annual events are blossoming in the next few days, from a pole-throwing celebration of Scottish culture to an arts showcase starring a 5-ton steamroller:
Iron Thistle Scottish Heritage Festival and Highland Games, Yukon: For more than a decade, the United Scottish Clans of Oklahoma has been honoring the traditions of Scotland and other Celtic nations at this event, which annually attracts as many as 8,000 people — many wearing kilts.
Friday night’s free festivities — including a torchlight calling of the clans and a ceilidh, or an informal social gathering with folk music, dancing and storytelling — will give way to two full days of pipe and drum bands, Viking reenactments, Highland cattle displays and more. The Highland Games will feature athletes vying in events like the hammer throw and caber, or pole, toss.
Hours are 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Mollie Spencer Farm (formerly known as the Kirkpatrick Family Farm), 1001 Garth Brooks Blvd. Information and tickets: unitedscotsok.com/iron-thistle-scottish-festival.
Third Annual Steamroller Festival: Artspace at Untitled, 1 NE 3 in downtown OKC’s Deep Deuce, hosts this growing indoor-outdoor arts showcase, which includes demonstrations, live music, food trucks, children’s activities, pop-up shops and an exhibit of work by the 108 high school students in Untitled’s mentorship program.
But the highlight of Saturday’s event will involve artists inking carved woodblocks that are then printed by a 5-ton steamroller. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Information: www.1ne3.org.
Inaugural RexFest: Also in downtown OKC, the John W. Rex Charter Elementary School Parent Teacher Association has invited England’s Architects of Air to fill Together Square, 400 W Sheridan Ave, with large, colorful, walk-through inflatable sculptures called luminarium.
The inaugural RexFest will feature the luminarium “Albesila,” a collection of egg-shape domes. Entering them is said to be like walking into a stained-glass window or futuristic space station.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Proceeds go to arts education at John Rex and to the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Information and tickets: OKCRexFest.com.
28th Annual Tumbleweed Calf Fry Festival, Stillwater: Along with the signature dish, the venerable “testicle festival” will serve up a country music menu, including the Turnpike Troubadours, Eli Young Band, Koe Wetzel, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Parker McCollum and more.
Gates open at 5 p.m. and the music starts at 6 p.m. Thursday-May 4 at the Tumbleweed Dance Hall, Lakeview and Country Club roads. Information and tickets: calffry.com.
Woolly Weekend, Claremore: Take in the “shear” spectacle of sheep getting their dramatic haircuts during the annual open house at Shepherd’s Cross sheep farm, 16792 E 450 Road. Spinning, weaving, hand dyeing, felting, knitting and more will be demonstrated as the wool is taking from “sheep to shawl.”
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a sheep shorn every 30 minutes. Information: www.shepherdscross.com.
The Dude Abides OKC: For the second year, local fans of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 cult classic movie “The Big Lebowski” will gather at 8 p.m. Saturday at Fassler Hall and Dust Bowl Lanes & Lounge, 421 NW 10, for trivia and costume contests, discounted bowling and a group wedding and renewal of vows by a legally recognized Dudeist Priest.
The event is for ages 21 and older. Information: www.eventbrite.com.
Bare Bones International Independent Film & Music Festival, Muskogee: Oklahoma’s longest running film festival isn’t centered in OKC or Tulsa but in Muskogee, where its celebrating its 20th anniversary in various venues.
Through Saturday, the “no frills” fest will feature film screenings, panels, screenplay readings, live music and more, culminating in the annual Bonehead Awards Ceremony at 11 a.m. Sunday at the historic Roxy Theater, 220 W Okmulgee Ave. Information and tickets: www.barebonesfilmfestival.org.
Okeene Rattlesnake Roundup, Waynoka Rattlesnake Hunt and Mangum Rattlesnake Derby: Folks with ophidiophobia — the irrational fear of snakes — likely will be rattled to know that Oklahoma is hosting not one, not two, but three long-running, small-town rattlesnake festivals this weekend.