They say April showers bring Mayflowers, but for longer than I’ve been alive, they’ve also brought the annual Oklahoma Arts Festival, currently open through Sunday downtown. of Bicentennial Park.
For those who have never attended this celebration of artists and their art, or maybe need a refresher (it’s been a few years), we’ve put together a helpful list of do’s and don’ts. do for those planning to attend.
Check it out:
DO: WEAR GOOD SHOES
Whether you’re hiking from your parking spot to the festival, queuing to eat, or wandering from tent to tent enjoying the art we all claim to understand, you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet at the Festival of Les arts. Of all the things for sale at the festival, Dr. Scholl’s shoe inserts are not one of them. Fashion rules confuse me, like when to stop wearing white every year or whether mules are coming back into style or not, but one thing I do know is that good walking shoes are always in season at the Festival Arts.
DON’T: WEAR CROCS
The last two years have been pretty laid back. It’s been great having a bar of soap for the past six months, but as we begin to reappear in society, it’s time to take off those sweatpants and start dressing like adults again. I know Crocs are comfortable and convenient, but it’s time to get out your old lace-ups and start wearing them now. Gone are the days of pajamas 24/7.
DO: TALK TO ARTISTS ABOUT THEIR WORK
The Arts Festival welcomes talented artists from Oklahoma and around the country. These people are experts in their field, be it painting, sculpting or craftsmanship. Everyone at the festival is ready to tell you about their art, style and techniques. Like every work of art, every artist in the festival has a unique story. No artist goes to an art festival hoping that no one will ask them about their art.
DON’T: TAKE PICTURES OF PAINTINGS AND PRINT THEM
With the price of everything from gas to groceries continuing to rise, many of us are tightening our belts. If you can’t afford an original painting at the festival, you can purchase a print at the Print Tent or directly from the artist. What’s wrong is taking pictures of the artwork with your phone, printing them out at home, and sticking them on your walls. I don’t know if framing them makes them better or worse, but it’s kinda cheesy.
DO: ENJOY THE FOOD
The Arts Festival has a long tradition of offering visitors delicious and unique cuisine. This year’s list of vendors and options can be found on the Arts Council website, and this year at the festival I plan to try the Cajun Baked Potato with Chicken and Shrimp, an alligator basket, an order of jalapeno and cheese chicken, followed by a Chocolate Banana Royale Sundae and maybe a Nutella and Strawberry Pancake, which is pretty impressive considering I’m not planning on going there go only once. Bring Handi-Wipes and wear something with an elastic waistband. Lots of food choices, all wonderful.
DON’T: TAKE A PICTURE OF YOURSELF EATING A CORN DOG
Corn dog selfies never turn out well. They were bad enough before every elementary school kid had access to PhotoShop. It’s just a bad idea. Post a flattering photo of someone eating corn dog in the comments and I’ll change my mind.
DO: ATTEND THE PERFORMANCES ON STAGE
The Arts Festival has more than physical creators. They have storytellers. They have dancers. They have bands – lots and lots of bands. More importantly, they have three stages (the main stage, the Colcord stage, and the children’s stage) where artists perform non-stop. Performances begin each day at 11 a.m. and continue until late in the evening. From opera to jazz to rock and roll, there’s something for everyone at the Festival des Arts. My master plan for Sunday is to down my last pancake and slip into a sweet sugary coma while listening to the soothing sounds of Donovan Funk.
DON’T: GET ON STAGE
It’s been a tough month for Will Smith after slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars. Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, was banned from attending the awards show for ten years and could end up divorcing Jada Pinkett Smith, all because he left his seat and went on stage. The Arts Festival is not the place to grab a hot mic and give a Kanye-esque speech. No matter how hard the Mystical Hips dance troupe may trick you into diving onstage, please don’t. We are here to see and hear the artists, not you.
DO: BRING YOUR KIDS
I have great memories of attending the Arts Festival as a child. Every year my school would load us onto a bus and drop us off at the festival for a few hours. I remember being amazed by all the artwork, talking to the artists, and gobbling up lots of corn dogs (which I’m glad there aren’t any pictures of). You never know what will inspire a child’s imagination. Turn off their Nintendo Switch for an hour or two and go enjoy the festival. They probably won’t thank you now, but might one day. Think how rewarding it will be to pay your child’s way through college as they pursue a degree in performance dance for five, maybe six years.
DON’T: BRING YOUR PETS
According to the festival website, pets are not welcome at the Arts Festival. To everyone who claims their pets are their children, I say we’re going to need pictures of the delivery room. More than 750,000 people attend the Arts Festival each year; we all voted, and none of us want to get bitten by your dog. If not being able to bring your pet is a deal breaker, well, no more strawberry pancakes for the rest of us.
TO DO: ATTEND THE FESTIVAL DES ARTS 2022
They have art. They have artists. They have food. They have more bands playing than Rocklahoma. After canceling the show in 2020 and rescheduling in 2021, the Arts Festival you remember is back and better than ever. Head to Bicentennial Park this week to enjoy this annual gathering of artists and their art.
For more information on this year’s Festival of the Arts, including information on artists, performers and food vendors, please visit ArtsCouncilOKC.com/festival-of-the-arts