Movie fans may remember a time in 1972 and ‘73 when Tahlequah, Oklahoma was made famous on the silver screen by way of one the most bittersweet movies I have ever seen: Where the Red Fern Grows. Where the Red Fern Grows is the tale of a boy and his beloved hunting dogs by written by Wilson Rawls. It was originally filmed in the Tahlequah area in the ‘70s and a remake was also filmed in the area, in 2003.
Now, the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism Council is working on creating a springtime Red Fern Festival to celebrate their unique place in movie history. If approved by the Oklahoma Centennial Committee, the new Tahlequah festival would be held in April 2007.
Events suggested for the Tahlequah Red Fern Festival include: a possum cook-off, catfish derby, hound dog show, a fern show, vintage cars, fiddling tournaments, gun shows, nature hikes and most importantly.. special paddling trips down the Illinois River. The Chamber even agreed to solicit proposals for a monument depicting 'a boy and his dog', to be placed in a local Park, during the inaugural Red Fern Festival.
It sounds like fun to me! I saw Where the Red Fern Grows at the movies when I was just a country child growing up in Oklahoma and I still find it very moving to this day. I think it is no surprise that Oklahoma folks are celebrating this great movie.
I was surprised to read about the planned monument to: A Boy and His Dog ...a darkly, funny, post-apocalyptic tale from one of my favorite Harlan Ellison short story collections! ;-)
Find out more from Tahlequah Daily Press: Red Fern Festival Taking Shape.
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