Check out this NewsOK video taken Saturday at the 15th Annual Septemberfest, a free fall festival that takes place at the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion and Oklahoma History Center.
Gov. Frank Keating and first lady Cathy Keating started Septemberfest in 1997. The activity-packed, family-friendly event is organized by the nonprofit Friends of the Mansion and hosted each year by the governor and first family. This year’s event was the first for Gov. Mary Fallin and her husband, first gentleman Wade Christensen, to host. To read my interview with Fallin previewing the event, click here.
Septemberfest is rapidly becoming my family’s favorite of the myriad festivals offered around Oklahoma in the fall. On Saturday, my husband and I took our two younger children to the event, and we were thoroughly entertained for 4 1/2 hours. We didn’t even get to half of the activities offered, either.
Although attendees are invited to bring picnic lunches or buy food from on-site vendors, we got all the lunch we wanted for free: The state beef council was grilling up hot dogs, the peanut commission was handing out samples, the milk council was offering up cold chocolate or white milk, and the wheat commission was passing out cinnamon roles and wheat bread. We also got free samples of watermelon and watermelon salsa, soy nuts and sheep’s milk cheese. For dessert, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s chuckwagon was dishing up peach and apple cobbler.
My 4 1/2-year-old son Gabe, a proud farmer in training, was in heaven: He climbed on old tractors, learned to lasso a hay-bale steer, made a rope, milked a cow, zipped down a giant inflatable slide, explored a giant teepee, checked out the pioneer-era reenactment and got a cowboy hat temporary tattoo. With his dad’s help, he turned cream into butter, and with my assistance, he sawed a round of wood off a big log.
As for my 14-month-old daughter, Brenna, she adored seeing and touching all the animals at the petting zoo, dancing to the music of local kindie rockers Sugar Free Allstars and especially riding on a cart pulled by a miniature horse, which she was convinced was a big dog.
Since we didn’t mind waiting in line and noshing on free samples for lunch, we could afford for Gabe to pick out a little toy for himself and his sick cousin at the Oklahoma History Center gift shop’s clearance sale. After the souvenir purchase, our total cost to attend Septemberfest came to a walloping $2.71, quite the entertainment and educational value for a full Saturday.
Families, mark your 2012 calendars for Septemberfest, and expect to see the BAM clan there.