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.
The aroma of peaches fills the air each year at the Porter Peach Festival. The sweet fruits are everywhere: filling wooden barrels, baked into pies, and cheekily donning orange peels. And even if you're not next to a fresh peach, you can see one's image displayed on stage behind live bands or marking where contestants line up for the 5K run. Living up to the "festival" in the event's name, the weekend also features a classic car show, ATV mud races, and arts and crafts vendors.
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.
At Vintage Market Days, visitors can uncover treasures in the form of antiques, original art, jewelry, clothing, and home decor. The retro offerings hail from a variety of vendors chosen for the quality of their goods, not to mention their access to time-bending wormholes. The event itself is founded and run by Chanda Hakanson, a vintage enthusiast who hails from a long family line of savvy merchants.
On Saturday, January 25, restaurants from around Tulsa will gather at the BOK Center for Wingapalooza, a showcase to crown Tulsa's best wings. The field includes McNellie's, Rusty Crane, Full Moon Caf?, Lucky?s, Baxter's, and 20 other restaurants known for their outstanding wings, wing sauces, or wing preparation. In addition to feasting on wings all day and pretending to be a food critic for a made-up magazine called The Winger, attendees can also grab drinks from cash bars and listen to live cover music by My So Called Band.
Seasoned boat captains and crustacean prospectors Sig Hansen, Johnathan Hillstrand, and Andy Hillstrand gather to share with audience members their tales of struggle and survival during crab season on the high seas, as partly documented by the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch. Fishing the Bering Sea in the middle of winter demands strong wills—which can come together in times of treacherous weather and 100-foot waves or come to blows about who performs better in the three-legged crabwalk race. Selected audience members will also have the chance to don the survival suits from the Time Bandit. Following the story-swapping and previously unreleased video footage, greenhorns and avid fans will have the opportunity to launch questions at the captains, wave giant foam claws, and learn how to communicate in claw-snap Morse code.