WATONGA – The scents of Swiss and Cheddar will fill the air this fall as Watonga presents the 36th annual Watonga Cheese Festival and Art Show Friday and Saturday.
Hosted by the Watonga Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma favorite offers a wealth of attractions for people of all ages and interests. Admission to the family-friendly event is $5 and free for children younger than 12.
The two-day festival features live entertainment, crafts, an art show located in the sanctuary of Oasis Church on Main Street, and, of course, a bevy of cheese-related activities, including tastings and cooking contests throughout the downtown area. Additionally, attendees age 21 and older are invited to sample Oklahoma wines that pair perfectly with cheese, according to a news release.
New to the event will be the General Tommy Franks Museum Roadshow, which brings the world to Oklahoma students. The traveling exhibit showcases items from 24 different countries and presentations geared toward enhancing leadership and cultural education for kids. Some of the museum archive items on display include Bedouin jewelry, knives and swords from Yemen, rugs from Afghanistan and military uniforms.
Oklahoma talent also will be spotlighted at this year’s Watonga Cheese Festival as it hosts the inaugural “Watonga’s Got Talent,” which will feature the best of Oklahoma amateur talent.
In addition, the Devon Energy Stage will feature musical acts to get toes tapping, including the Watonga-based Gypsum River Band, country singer-songwriter Kaliea and Tulsa’s award-winning Kristin Nicole Band, as well as slight-of hand illusionist, MajicJon, who also will act as master of ceremonies during the weekend event. Appearing on the Apple Market Stage will be the Children’s Circus, the International Tribute Show Night Magic, the One Man Circus and juggler/unicyclist Michael King.
Returning to the Watonga Cheese Festival this year is Race the Rail, a 32-mile bicycle race against the AT&L Railroad from Watonga to Geary and back. Registration and more information about the race can be found at www.racetherail.com.
The Watonga Cheese Festival will kick off at 10 a.m. Friday with an opening ceremony at Centennial Park at the corner of West Main and Leach Street in downtown Watonga. Other activities at the festival include the Classic Car show, Rat Race (sanctioned 5K, 1K and one mile fun run, Saturday morning), games, rides and amusements for kids of all ages.
The highlight of Saturday’s events will be the spectacular annual Cheese Festival Parade at noon. Sponsored by Mercy Hospital Watonga, this year’s parade will feature several area junior high and high school bands, floats, classic cars, clowns, characters and much more.
Hours for the Watonga Cheese Festival are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, to apply for “Watonga’s Got Talent” or to rent a booth space, contact the Watonga Chamber of Commerce at (580) 623-5452 or go to www.watongacheesefestival.com.