One of the things I look forward to every spring is the Festival of the Arts , sponsored by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City. This is a one week community celebration of all things art, music and food bringing together a variety of talented artists in downtown OKC’s Bicentennial Park. The festival has been an OKC tradition since 1967 and has an estimated 750,000 people in attendance.
One of the things I love about this festival is that it is absolutely free to attend. You can spend the whole day walking around the festival listening to great music and looking at beautiful art without spending a dime.
The music is performed on three different stages – Main Stage, Couch Stage and the children’s stage on Colcord. Some of my favorites this year were Shortt Dogg, a band that cooks up old school favorites enjoyed by old funksters from 70’s, R & B Soul Revival spanning into 80’s and ending up with the current listeners appetite for a little of neo-soul. Talk of the Town brings a little of that Glenn Miller big band sound. Em and the Mother Superiors bring roots music and meaningful songwriting to a brilliant, energetic crossroads. Grassland Caravan is a modern bluegrass band presenting traditional tunes, contemporary and re-imagined covers, and their own original works. Crossroads Orchestra brings modern sound and jazz. The Wise Guys are a cover band that draws from Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, The Cars and dozens more, is a festival favorite.
The Yumare Mexican Folkloric Dancers, Inc. perform traditional and regional dances of Mexico by emphasizing education of its history, traditions, art, music and culture.
For the visual arts, you’ll be able to check out artwork in Artists Square from 144 different artists hailing from across the U.S. From mixed media to jewelry to photography, you’ll find beauty in every direction.
Located at the center of Bicentennial Park, the Culinary Arts tent features demonstration and tastings by your favorite local restaurants, chefs and Festival food vendors. There’s something for everyone, from Strawberries Newport to jumbo turkey legs to lobster sliders!
Tom+Chee is a quirky grilled cheese business that went from a tiny food tent on a public square in Cincinnati, Ohio to a rapidly expanding franchise empire thanks to TV exposure and an investment deal on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Their Grilled Cheese Donut (which sounds kinda weird, but they are really delicious) has been featured on ABC’s “The Chew”, Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food Nation” and was named one of America’s best new sandwiches by NBC’s “Today” show.
Rococo’s is described as “East Coast Style” with an emphasis on fresh seafood. They are known for their crab cakes and also have one of the best Sunday Brunches in OKC.
International Food Row is located is located on both Couch and Colcord with booth after booth of delicious cuisine to tantalize your tastebuds!
Taste of Soul started out in 2011 as a food truck selling egg rolls and now have transitioned into a full service restaurant with an expanded menu. Their signature hand-rolled egg rolls and fried rice are “eggrollicious!”
Yokozuna is an Asian restaurant and sushi bar that is located in the up and coming area of Chisholm Creek. Their tempura fried cauliflower and steam buns are delicious!
If you are looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, Strawberries Newport’s specialty is of course their “Strawberries Newport”, Guiltless Concessions “Chocolate Banana Royal Sundae” and Snow S’more’s giant shaved ice will certainly fill the bill.
Highly anticipated year after year, the Festival of the Arts is a must see for the young and the young at heart that promises positive family fun, color, food, music and dance! If you find yourself in Oklahoma City in the spring, this is a must see event.
What is your favorite community festival to attend? I would love to hear your comments below!
Disclosure: I am not affiliated with any of the entities in this post. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in compliance with FTC regulations.