Returning to the scenic Ozark Mountains for its fourth year, Wakarusa immerses festivalgoers in a weekend of natural beauty, free-spirited art, and more than 100 musicians playing on five stages. Prolific rockers Primus headline on Saturday, pouring out the thick bass lines and cutting guitar riffs that line tracks such as Jerry Was a Race Car Driver. After rocking through the '80s and '90s, and becoming a household name by performing the theme song for South Park, the influential band returns, touring on the heals of its latest effort, Green Naugahyde. Though recently without his distinctive bushy beard, reggae and hip-hop icon Matisyahu headlines on Sunday, thrilling fans with his characteristically probing lyrics. Also performing throughout the weekend, soulful pop-crafters Fitz and The Tantrums continue a meteoric rise that saw them named hardest-working band of the 2011 summer festival season by Vogue and the most attractive group of talented people anywhere by their mothers. RJD2 keeps the air filled with beats throughout Saturday night, and San Diego outfit Slightly Stoopid continues two-and-a-half decades of sprightly, reggae-infused rock Saturday and Sunday. Check out the schedule for up-to-date times.
Dust clouds form from the hooves of two warhorses thundering across the jousting field. Across the way, a falcon wheels in the sky, spotting prey for his master. Meanwhile, King Henry watches from a tall stone tower, pleased with the bustling marketplace below. It isn’t the year 1539, and it isn’t planet Camelot IV in the Avalonian system. It’s the modern-day Oklahoma Renaissance Festival, held at the Castle of Muskogee every summer for nearly 20 years.
Every merchant and performer has a story to tell, from Sir Robert Vinterhawk of Birds of Prey to the painter Lady Anne, who creates lush portraits of the castle’s guests. The Tribal Circus performs gravity-defying feats without the aid of strings or wizardry, and the mysterious masked man of Cast in Bronze enraptures his audience with the sanctified tones of carillon bells. For adrenaline-pumping thrills, the human chess game —where life-size pieces engage in full battle—is second only to the raucous jousting tourney. Guests can further immerse themselves in a lost era with a spin around the maypole or by dressing up for the daily costume contest.
After a 20-year career in the air national guard, Britton Shaw still couldn’t get enough of the sky. So, he founded River Valley Paragliding to share his passion with new students. Whether soaring over local river bottoms or catching gusts of wind from atop Heavener Mountain, he performs and oversees solo and tandem flights, giving his charges hands-on experience in the air.
For Cirrus Air Express, commuting is all the fun. That's because the company does its travelling at high speeds thousands of feet above the ground. It shares its access to the sky with the community by transporting time-critical cargo, and by providing private charter services that jet off to portions of 17 different states. Cirrus Air Express's highly qualified instructors also help aspiring pilots earn certification, teaching students inside aircraft equipped with the most modern avionics available.
There was a time when Robbers Cave State Park wasn’t named as such. If it had, it would have been a pretty obvious tip for police, who might have stumbled upon outlaws such as Jesse James, Belle Starr, and the Youngers hiding out from the law. The wooded hills, rugged caves, and remote location amid the Sans Bois Mountains made it an ideal place for the infamous to disappear after robbing a train or showing the townsfolk their bare ankles.
Today, this same natural landscape attracts a different sort of adventurer—rock climbers, cave explorers, and all manner of outdoor enthusiasts. The park's 8,200 acres include three fishable lakes that teem with trout and perch, and the trails offer scenic trips for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Climbers scale and rappel sandstone cliffs, and the wilderness area's wildlife attracts hunters and nature watchers.
After trying to track down the old outlaw cave among the sandstone hills and cliffs—which can reach heights of 1,500 feet—visitors warm up next to the fireplace in one of the park's 26 cabins. To make visits comfortable, these feature fully equipped kitchens, linens, and satellite TV, as well as central heat and air. The Belle Starr View Lodge also welcomes guests, and there are plenty of sites for tents, RVs, and stockpiles of loot as well.