Cherokees join thousands at 2018 Red Fern Festival
This aerial shot shows visitors attending the Red Fern Festival on April 28 in downtown Tahlequah. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Whether as a planner, visitor, vendor, artist or administrator, Cherokees played an integral role in all facets of the 2018 Red Fern Festival held April 27- 28 in the downtown area of the Cherokee Nation capital.
From the CN Courthouse Square to Northeastern State University, the streets were alive offering music, food, culture, arts and crafts, as well as a coon hunt and hound dog field trials.
On April 28, CN citizen and Main Street Tahlequah President Shay Stanfill said Mother Nature played a hand in the festival’s success as Oklahoma just finished its second-coldest April as the festival started. “We’ve had beautiful weather both yesterday and today.”
“There’s a strong Cherokee presence everywhere this year,” she added. “There’s Cherokee food vendors, artists and crafters, clothing retailers who are Cherokee Nation citizens all up and down main street.”
Officials said the festival had 110 vendors for its 13th year and an unofficial attendance of 16,000 visitors. Among the festival events and attractions, there were Cherokee National Treasure demonstrations, bouncy houses, a chili cook off and Plein Air painting competition.
Cherokee Nation citizen Callie Chunestudy served as a Plein Air official.
“So Plein Air is just basically outdoor painting, and the Arts Council (of Tahlequah) has collaborated with Red Fern so we have it at the same time so painters can come into town for the festival, go all over town to different sites. So they just paint scenery from Tahlequah.”
CN citizen Ashley Vann said she came to the festival for social reasons.
“I knew lots of Cherokees would have booths, showing their arts and crafts, but I’ve really enjoyed just running into friends on the street.”
For upcoming events or the 2019 Red Fern Festival, go to www.tahlequahmainstreet.com