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By Melyn Johnson
June is officially Oklahoma Folklife month. It is official, but Okies tend to celebrate their traditions and old-ways and culture all year long. These traditions are often a base for the strong pride and values in our Oklahoma communities. So, officially, go to one of the many festivals this month that is based on our Oklahoma heritage.
Many folklife festivals include something from the music, dance, storytelling, craft, art, costume, foodways, skills, or rituals of a culture.
The Oklahoma Folklife Council, working with the Oklahoma Historical Society, is highlighting seven festivals around the state this month.
The Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival in Seminole is held at the Haney Center at Seminole State College on June 4th and 5th. There you can spend a day listening to story’s woven by nationally and regionally known tale tellers. It’s a day of prairie and American Indian story, with much more including story swaps, concerts, and ghost tales.
The American Heritage Music Festival in Tulsa takes place June 11-13 in Grove (northeast Oklahoma). The event planner is nationally known fiddle player Jana Jaye. At the Grove Civic Center, 18th and Main, you can enjoy watching nationally sanctioned fiddle and clogging competitions on three states. The final concert is one that you won’t want to miss. For more information go to www.grandlakefestivals.com.
Juneteenth is celebrated in Tulsa, Shawnee, Muskogee, and Ponca City on June 18-19. This celebration in the African-American culture *******
The same weekend is Red Earth in Oklahoma City, taking place the 18-20 at the Cox Center, downtown. This event features people representing over 100 tribes from across North America, gathering to share the richness of their culture. This 24th annual event includes dance competitions, art market, parade, and various exhibitions.
On June 20th is the Oklahoma Folklife Festival at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
The Celtic Music and Heritage Festival in Stillwater takes place June 20-21. This event celebrates the cultures of Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Scotland and other Celtic nations with an exploration of music, dance, livestock, living history, children's activities, athletics and more. It takes place at the Payne County Expo Center.
Rich in music traditions all throughout Oklahoma, there are a good number of exceptional music festivals and events. One such event is the outdoor Jazz in June in Norman on June 24-26. This event continues a 27 year tradition of bringing Oklahoma and national jazz and blues artists together to perform free for the public. The event will take place at Brookhaven Village on Thursday and Friday and at Andrews Park on Saturday.
Interested in more about Oklahoma’s rich traditional folklore and folklife? Go to www.TravelOK.com and click on the events tabs. You can search specific dates and find someplace that tickles your interest. Our heritage is being celebrated in rodeos, powwows, music, dramatic productions, chuckwagon dinners and trail drives (Frederick on the 5th), or even the Hook, Line, and Sinker Free Fishing Weekend in Bernice on the 5th. Take a look! Explore the website and let it take you on those Oklahoma roads to adventure. It might send you on to the Farming Heritage Festival in Shawnee on June 18-19.