Wilson Rawls novel “Where the Red Fern Grows” was set in the Ozark hills in and around Tahlequah Oklahoma. The novel tells the tale of an adventurous young boy who saves his money to travel to Tahlequah, Oklahoma to purchase two red-bone hound hunting dogs. The first film was made in 1974 and featured many locals from the Tahlequah community and surrounding areas and was remade in 2003, both filmed in and around the Tahlequah area. It’s only fitting that Tahlequah host the Red Fern Festival.
The festival spans seven blocks and hosts over 150 arts and crafts vendors and gourmet food trucks. There are many activities for all ages. The inflatables, petting zoos and kids games naturally attract kids, while the showcase of live music attracts the young and the young at heart. There is an annual Miss Red Fern Pageant that’s a hit with festival-goers and the rubber duck race through the Town Branch Creek is always a must. Coon Hunters come out to compete in the Hound Dog Field Trials to find out who’s top dog.
The Red Fern festival continues to grow each year both in size and in heart. What once started as an event of under 1,000 attendees has grown to an estimated 15,000+ attendees with people coming from all over the United States.
Thank you to our 2023 Red Fern Partners!
Hound dog Trials Partner
Small Stage Partner
Be a part of Tahlequah's favorite event of the year! Would you like to serve your community? Do you need community service hours? Do you have a business looking to get involved in the community? The Red Fern Festival is ran by volunteers and logs hundreds of volunteer hours throughout the weekend. There are many opportunities to be involved in this beloved community event.
Tahlequah Main Street Association is looking for volunteers in the following categories: Set- Up/Break down Registration Fundraising Kid Zone Wayfinding and many more... Let your skills serve the Tahlequah community. Sign up today
The mission of the Red Fern Festival Pageant is to showcase the striking personality, natural charm and character of the amazing youth in Cherokee County. Due to the pageant being considered a natural beauty pageant, simplicity and charisma are the most important factors for the contestants.
Plenty of Fun for the Young and Young at Heart. Live Music, Touch the Truck, Inflatables, Trackless Train, Gelly Ball, pony rides and much more!
Join in on the fun and visit with Local Heroes! Take tours of helicopters, police cars, fire trucks, ambulances and more! Bounce on the inflatables, play Gelly Ball and take a ride around on an 18 person train!
Red Fern Shopping Days
Downtown Tahlequah is home to a wide variety, from boutique shops to mom and pop shop's. There's a bike shop, barber shops, jewelry stores, a men's clothing store, western wear, boot repair, skateboards, Cherokee cultural destinations and museums, fine art galleries, a jazz lab and a playhouse, acupuncture, bacon & eggs, burgers and steaks, coffee and tea, something healthy if you please, nutrition specialists, gaming gurus, boutiques, and wedding gowns and something for prom, a place to pawn, places to eat, places to drink and a place to buy things made in Tahlequah. All unique and different in their own special way. Most importantly they are all locally owned.
Shop, Dine, and Experience beautiful historic downtown Tahlequah during Red Fern Shopping Days, you'll be glad you did!