One of the nation’s greatest family friendly festivals returns to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, May 24 and 25. The 24th Annual Chuck Wagon Gathering & Children’s Cowboy Festival offers food, fun and entertainment in “The Cowboy Way!” New for 2014, kids 12 and under are admitted free.
The festival provides mouth-watering food, musical entertainment and opportunity tobrowse the nation's premier Western heritage museum. Headlining the stage entertainment will be balladeer Don Edwards Saturday, May 24 and acclaimed Western singer and poet Red Steagall Sunday, May 25.
Other musicians and singers include Cowboy Jim Garling, R.J. Vandygriff; Kristin Killion Williams; The Flying Fiddler Wayne Cantwell; and the young men of the A Bar Bunkhouse Band with their popular Western swing sound. Other entertainers include Dr. H.P. Hedgethicket III, who performs a hilarious Old West Medicine Show.
The festival food is fantastic! Nine chuck wagon crews from Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas cook such delicious fare as stew, brisket, sourdough biscuits, beans, cobblers and rice pudding for visitors to sample. New in 2014, Luann Sewell Waters of Oklahoma will demonstrate Dutch Oven Cookin’ hourly from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Waters has more than 25 years of experience teaching workshops and seminars across the country on wild game and Dutch oven cooking.
The chuck wagons are invited to participate based upon the authenticity of their wagons and camps and ability to prepare food for thousands of guests over two days. The 2014 wagons from Oklahoma include Big Pasture Ranch from El Reno and the Cross Timbers Ranch Wagon from Mustang. Texas wagons include Prude Ranch from Fort Davis; Cocklebur Camp Chuck Wagon from Odessa; the Cross Wagon from Vega; the Honey Do Spoiler Wagon from Pampa; the J Bar D Ranch Wagon from Amarillo; and the Croton Creek Association Wagon from Lubbock. The Rafter J Bar B wagon from Cambridge, Kansas, will participate for the first time.
Children can participate in numerous outdoor activities: pony rides, rope making, bandana designing and crafting, to name a few. Stagecoach and covered wagon rides are offered around the festival oval, and in 2014 there will be flintknapping and blacksmithing demonstrations and old West reenactors. The Ag in the Classroom program offers butter making, and Saturday includes storytelling by Native American Tim Tingle. Inside the museum, watch square dancing by members of the Central District Square Dance Association.
Festival hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and the Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission covers entrance to the festival, food tastings and the Museum. Hot dogs and beverages are available for purchase. Activities are concentrated outdoors on the festival grounds, but a few take place indoors in the air-conditioned comfort of the museum. Parking is free, and free shuttles transport guests between the festival ground and museum entrance.
The acclaimed boutique that is The Museum Store offers festival t-shirts, music CDs, old-fashioned toys, cookbooks, art, jewelry, western apparel and a candy counter. Most guests want to browse the full selection inside the museum, but a satellite store is available on the festival grounds.
Children 12 and under and current museum members are admitted for free. Admission for ages 13 and over is $15 per person. Two-day passes for ages 13 and over are $22 per person. In conjunction with the festival, Premium Family memberships are discounted to $65, providing admission for six to the festival and to the museum year round, as well as 12 months of other member benefits.
The Presenting Event Sponsor is the Dogwood Foundation. The Major Event Sponsors are Kimray Inc., Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Shawnee Milling Company. Additional support is made possible by Museum Partners Devon Energy Corporation, Chesapeake Energy Corporation and the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation with major support from The Oklahoman.
The list of awards for the festival is distinguished. It has been recognized by American Cowboy magazine as a Top 3 pick for Best Family Event, by central Oklahoma’s Frontier Country Marketing Association as Outstanding Children’s Attraction and by the American Bus Association as a Top 100 Event in North America, to name a few. The best endorsement is that the festival is again expected to attract thousands of visitors who will partake in memory-making activities spread across the museum complex.
Nationally accredited, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District at the junction of I-44 and I-35. For more information. call (405) 478-2250 or visit nationalcowboymuseum.org