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Oklahoma's Best Festivals, Exhibits and Events in Summer 2014
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Oklahoma's Best Festivals, Exhibits and Events in Summer 2014

Picture of Barbara Speed
Updated: 26 August 2016
Every summer, the hot weather and hometown quirks of Oklahoma draw visitors in their thousands. This year is no different, and with the usual lineup of festivals, events and cultural dates on the calendar – plus some one offs – there’s no shortage of ways to get a cultural fix. From food fairs to music festivals and theatre, these events will help you make the most of your time in Oklahoma.

Theatre | Shakespeare in the Park

Until 27 September

A mainstay of the Oklahoma summer, Shakespeare in the Park is a non-profit theatre company that turns 30 this year, and to celebrate they’re putting on four striking productions: Pericles, Twelfth Night, Anthony and Cleopatra and Macbeth will all be performed over the course of the summer. Anthony and Cleopatra will star Kathryn McGill, artistic director and one of the company’s founders, taking on a rare acting role, opposite company actor Rick Nelson. The main venue is the Myriad Botanical Gardens, a large park in downtown Oklahoma City with beautiful gardens and conservatories, so take a walk before or after the performance.

Shakespeare in the Park, Myriad Botanical Gardens Water Stage, 301 W Reno Ave, Oklahoma City, OK, United States, and other stages throughout the city, +1 405-235-3700

Food | Taste of Summer

19 July

This ice-cream festival sees the Northeast town of Broken Arrow taken over by ice cream devotees. There will be all-you-can-eat ice cream, face painting, local bands and a chance to buy arts and crafts made by locals. The cold treats are provided by Blue Bell, well-known for their unorthodox flavours – try the Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy or Southern Blackberry Cobbler varieties. Blue Bell also open up their creamery for tours during the event, so you can see how the ice cream is made. While you’re in Broken Arrow, take the chance to visit the Historical Society Museum and the Ray Harrell nature park.

Taste of Summer, 1500 S Main St, Broken Arrow, OK, +1 918 251 1518


Art | Shifting Frontiers by Jason Cytacki

Until 6 September

This collection of cowboy portraits and landscapes offers a look back to the days of the American frontier. Cytacki attempts to undermine the iconic status of cowboy images by highlighting how fabricated they were, through his use of the diorama form, with torn pieces of cardboard representing aspects of the landscape. The exhibition is in the gallery’s Tulsa World Gallery, dedicated to encouraging upcoming talent in the state; the artist is an assistant professor at the nearby University of Oklahoma and is a rising star on the Southern art scene, focusing on the American perception of self and identity.

Shifting Frontiers, Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum, 1400 Classen Dr, Oklahoma City, OK, +1 405 523 3231


Music | The Gondoliers

11 – 13 July

The Gondoliers is a comic opera, telling the tale of two just-married Venetian gondoliers who find out that one of them has become King of Barataria, but need their foster mother to tell them which of them it is. It’s the light relief on Cimarron Opera’s summer schedule, and is the perfect choice for those overwhelmed by the thought of a full-on opera. Cimarron Opera is an Oklahoma based, semi-amateur company who run an opera camp each year;The Gondoliers is being performed in two sessions, over two days at the camp and over two days at the Nancy O’Brian Center in Norman.

The Gondoliers, Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts, Stubbeman Ave, Norman, OK


Art | Gallery Walk

Throughout the summer

Paseo’s First Friday gallery walks, held on the first Friday and Saturday of every month, are the perfect way to take advantage of the long summer evenings. A range of galleries open their doors from 6pm-10pm on Friday and 12pm-6pm on Saturday. Walking between them, you can take in the sights of Oklahoma City’s oldest arts district, which include restaurants, boutiques, and over 20 galleries. Over Memorial weekend, Paseo also hosts its own art festival, featuring works from local artists alongside live music and performance art pieces.

Gallery Walk, various galleries, Paseo Arts District, Oklahoma City, OK, +1 405 525 2688


First Friday Gallery Walk
Courtesy Paseo Gallery


Culture | American Indian Exposition

6 – 9 August

This yearly expo showcases the arts, crafts and culture of 14 Oklahoman Native American tribes. Over four days, there are pageants, food competitions, a parade, a nightly dance competiton and the hotly contested Indian of the Year award, held on the last day. Talented artists also exhibit and sell their work at the event.The expo is the first and only exclusively Native American operated cultural event of its kind, and has long been based in Anadarko, a town which self-identifies as the Native American capital of the US, and has a large population of Native American residents. .

American Indian Expo, Caddo County Fairgrounds, Anadarko, OK, +1 580 483 5095


American Indian Exposition	
Courtesy American Indian Exposition


Music | Woody Guthrie Folk Festival

9 – 13 July

This folk festival, known as ‘WoodyFest’ to locals, is held every year in memory of the life and work of Woody Guthrie. Okemah, a small town in central Oklahoma, is Guthrie’s hometown, and the festival is the biggest event on their calendar every year. The festival is held across the Crystal Theater and the Brick Street Cafe during the daytime, and there are outdoor performances in the Pastures of Plenty (a park which also contains a memorial to the singer). This year, the festival kicks includes sets from Otis Gibbs, Samantha Crain, Lauren Lee and Randy Crouch, among a long list of folk legends and hotly tipped talents.

Woody Guthrie Folk Festival,Crystal Theater, 401 W. Broadway, Okemah, OK


Food and Music | H8&8th Night Market

Last Friday of each month until October

Food trucks and live music descend on Hudson Avenue in Midtown Oklahoma City on the last Friday of each summer month for the H8&8th Night Market, one of the largest food truck events in America. The mini street festival started in 2011 and regularly draws over 30,000 visitors. On offer are over 40 food trucks from the local area including the 2 Brothers Bistro, Crepe Brewers and Cafe Bella on Wheels – expect to find a huge variety of food and drink, and an equally eclectic collection of live music. There’s also a market of local craftsmen and shops at the 7th street shopping video.. The festival is free to attend and runs from 7 until 11pm.

H8&8th Night Market, Corner of NW 8th and Hudson, Oklahoma City, OK


Art | Gods and Heroes

Until 14 September

This visiting exhibition from Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts includes 140 paintings, sculptures and sketches from the 17th-19th centuries. It draws out the epic themes prevalent in that period in the works of artists like Nicolas Poussin, Rembrandt van Rijn and Albrecht Duerer. The École des Beaux-Arts trained some of France’s most talented artists from this period, so the exhibition seeks to give a look at how they were trained through using sketches and early works alongside more accomplished pieces. The museum itself is expansive, and the Beaux-Arts pieces are beautifully displayed in gilt frames in one of the larger galleries.

Gods and Heroes, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Dr., Oklahoma City, OK, +1 405 236 3100


By Barbara Speed