Let the adventure begin! According to legend, an angel has to plant the seed of the red fern, and so wherever there is a red fern, it marks something very admirable and special. Many folks that make Tahlequah and Northeast Oklahoma their home feel a special connection to the area. Whether it's been touched by angels, divine intervention, or it's part of God's plan, whatever it is, there is something special about Tahlequah.
So when people ask, why is it called the Red Fern Festival? The answer is, it is a celebration of life in a special place that has a unique spirit like none other.
Tahlequah, Indian Territory was established as the Cherokee capital in 1839 after the end of the Trail of Tears. In 1843 the town was surveyed and the first main street in what would later become Oklahoma was realized.
When visiting Tahlequah we hope you take your time, stroll down the first main street in Oklahoma. Visit Lake Tenkiller and the Illinois River, they will be waking up after a long winter's rest. Let it sink in and you too may feel the spirit of the Red Fern.