The 50th Annual National Huckleberry Festival in Jay Oklahoma coincides with Fourth of July weekend. The big day of festival events is Saturday July 01, 2017. Venues are scattered around town. Go to the Oklahoma Tourism website to learn more or the Huckleberry Capital of the World Unofficial Facebook Page to see all the smiling faces. Lets take a look at what’s to see and do. I guarantee there’s at least two things on this list you’ve never done!
See a Fire Engine Sirening (that’s a word right?), Horse Riding, Candy Throwing, Politician Waving Parade
When’s the last time you watched the wonder and pure joy in a child’s eyes as they wait patiently, with a Wal-Mart bag turned candy collection device in hand, for a parade to begin. Never? Then its about time.
Get Your Car Envy on at the Outdoor Car Show
Jay, Oklahoma has become somewhat of a car aficionados paradise over the last few years. It started with the annual Jay Cruise Night (this year August 12, 2017) that has grown to one of the largest in the state. Don’t know what a Cruise Night is, think grown man toys, the biggest, brightest, prettiest. It’s about bragging rights but all in fun! At the Huckleberry Festival you get a little taste of all that, up close and personal. Come back in August for the big show.
I hear ya asking, “What’s a huckleberry?” First off its NOT a blueberry. Ok, its blue and a berry, but still not a blueberry. It has a unique flavor. Think blueberry but more concentrated sweetness with a slight citrus tang. Try some in a recipe.
Race a Turtle
Well, technically you don’t get to race the turtle, the turtles race each other, but its still exciting none-the-less. Where else but in small town Oklahoma can a turtle race be run every year at the same time for 30 years. Them’s some old turtles!
The Cherokee Hog Fry is a unique slice of Cherokee culture you only find in full-blood communities. There’s a skill and art to cooking the hog just right. Its usually served with “beans and taters” , some fry bread and every once in a while, wild onions. Buy a plate, the money goes to help out organizations. In return you get a taste of true Cherokee.
Play (or watch) Cherokee Marbles
This ain’t your grandpa’s marble game, unless your grandpa was a traditional Cherokee that is. With marbles the size of billard balls, teams of expert players maneuver a homemade course the looks deceptively simple.
Buy a Bigfoot T-shirt
Bigfoot mania has taken hold in Delaware County. They even filmed a TV show about it. Bigfoot and Huckleberries are two things we seem to have in common with the Pacific Northwest. Maybe there’s a connection??? Hmmmm. Buy a t-shirt at the Arts and Crafts show. Mine says “Big Foot Likes Indian Tacos”, designed by a local Cherokee artist. I love the looks I get when I wear it.
Take a huckleberry pie home (but you have to bid and win first).
Huckleberry pie. MMMM. You know how many huckleberries it takes to make a pie? Well, I’m not sure either, but a lot. I know because when I was a kid my mother kept telling me it wasn’t enough and I’d have to go back to the woods, fight off the chiggers and snakes to pick more. I’d eventually hear the magic words, “oh. That’s enough” But it was soooo worth it.
Did someone say Ferris Wheel?
Nothing says festival like a Ferris Wheel. Sure, there are faster rides and there are scarier rides but there aren’t sweeter rides. Slow down and take your sweetie on the Ferris Wheel.
Nothing beats a hometown Fireworks Display. The anticipation of the next explosion of color. It makes it even more amazing when you know the local townsfolk are literally putting on the display, one pyrotechnic at a time. No synchronized displays, no orchestras playing in the background, just lots of of ooohs and aaahs.