Autumn in Oklahoma is nothing short of a celebration! So many reasons to be happy – the crisp, cool air is beginning to replace the roasting humidity, the trees are turning vibrant shades of red, gold and orange, football season is around the corner and OKC offers a plethora of activities for all ages to enjoy. In this Fall Fun Guide, we keep you in the loop on entertainment from fall foliage drives to harvest festivals, and everything in between.
Fairs & Festivals
Oklahoma State Fair
The Oklahoma State Fair has adopted the theme “Your Fair Share of Fun” for 2022. That’s probably accurate, considering how many vastly different activities are happening at the fairgrounds — visitors can enjoy 11 days packed with competitions, concerts and shows, in addition to taking in all of the vendors, Midway rides and games and fair foods galore. (Who can resist a funnel cake, turkey leg or roasted corn dripping with hot butter?)
Disney on Ice
“Road Trip Adventures” brings favorite Disney characters into the Jim Norick Arena, with nine musical skating performances scheduled Sept. 15-19. Mickey Mouse will be joined by other familiar faces: Moana, Simba, Aladdin and even Woody and Forky from Toy Story 4. Tickets start at $20 and include outside gate admission if purchased on or before Sept. 14.
Xtreme Bulls & Broncs Tour and Concerts
On Sept. 23 and 24, don’t miss the PRCA Xtreme Bulls & Broncs Double Trouble Tour and Concerts. Viewers will be on the edge of their seats as they watch bull riders test their strength and stamina. After the dust settles, they can relax a bit and enjoy music by Trace Adkins (performing Sept. 23) or Chris Janson (Sept. 24). Tickets will cover outside gate admission when purchased on or before Sept. 14.
Sept. 15-25 evenings
Check out the fair’s schedule of free concerts — including big names like Tracy Lawrence, Tommy James and the Shondells, Foghat and more — presented in the Entertainment Plaza on the Chickasaw Country Entertainment Stage every night.
Scissortail Park Takes Flight
The new southernmost section of Scissortail Park will open to the public and connect to the north end of the park via Skydance Bridge. This newly completed portion of Scissortail Park will nearly double the size of the park to 70 acres. The park foundation, along with the City of Oklahoma City, MAPS and its partners, will host a ticketed first-look gala on Sept. 15 and a free weekend-long “Scissortail Park Takes Flight” celebration Sept. 23-25. The three-day event will include guided tours, children’s programming, music and dance, health and wellness activities as well as a concert. Many programs will be offered both in English and Spanish. The sports courts will be open to the public for open play several hours each day, and will also showcase expo games with professional athletes.
Czech Festival in Yukon
Beginning with a parade down Main Street at 10 a.m. and concluding with polka bands and folk dancing at Yukon Czech Hall at midnight, the Czech Festival is an action- packed day dedicated to the city’s Czech heritage. This 50-year-old tradition features carnival rides, arts and crafts booths, the crowning of Oklahoma Czech royalty and favorite foods like klobasy sausages and sweet kolaches. Even though more than 2,500 dozen of the fruit-laden treats are baked for the festival, local vendors often sell out by afternoon.
Orr Family Farm
Sept. 24 – Nov. 12
Admission includes activities such as hay rides, train rides, a corn maze, pumpkin patch and animal barnyard, jumping pillows, a carousel and more. Pony rides and homemade treats sold separately. Tickets can be purchased online for a discounted price; kids 2 and younger are free.
Chester’s Pumpkin Patch
Sept. 24 – Oct. 31
Come check out this patch’s new giant slide, barnyard games, pony rides for children, tractor rides, petting zoo (zoo food sold separately), three-acre mystery maze, live music on the weekends and more. Admission is $6 for ages 11 to 64, $12 for ages 1 to 10 and free for ages 64+ and children under 1. Be on the lookout for an “early bird special” on its website in early September.
Pumpkinville at the Myriad Botanical Gardens
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Pumpkinville boasts 30,000 pumpkins arranged in themed vignettes throughout the Children’s Garden. Admission includes pumpkin murals, mums, cornstalks and haystacks, a well as unlimited activities such as Mo’s Carousel rides, pumpkin games (e.g., bowling, chess, reading time, crafts) and access to food trucks (food sold separately). Purchase pumpkins in the pumpkin patch area, and ride the Pumpkinville Express Train that travels throughout the gardens. Tickets are $8; members and children 2 and younger are free.
Wings Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch
Sept. 30 – Oct. 23
Wings Special Needs Community enhances the lives of adults with developmental disabilities through social, vocational and residential programs. Its biggest fundraising event of the year is the fall festival at its location in scenic Edmond. Tickets include unlimited hayrides, games, bounce house visits, pumpkin train rides, petting zoo entry, photo-ops and access to food trucks. A vast variety of pumpkins, gourds, hay bales and pansies is also available to purchase for your fall decorating needs. Tickets are $7 per person, or you can get a family-four-pack for $25. Check the website for special Saturday activities, and for more details.
Food & Drink
The traditional German fall festival, filled with savory sausages, warm pretzels and, most importantly, cold beer, has inspired countless imitations, and Oklahoma City is host to several of these Bavarian bashes. Fassler Hall in Midtown hosts an annual Oktoberfest weekend complete with a stein hoisting competition (who can hold a liter of beer parallel to the ground the longest), a bratwurst eating contest and Dachshund (“weiner dog”) race. The town of Enid holds a First Friday celebration with beer gardens, live polka performances and loads of brats, strudels and bierock, a pastry stuffed with ground beef, cabbage and onions and then oven-baked. If you’re wanting to tone down the festivities and simply savor the flavors, a trip Royal Bavaria might relieve your hankering.
ZOObrew, Oklahoma City Zoo
There are several times during the year when you can sip local beers in the Oklahoman air with like-minded craft enthusiasts, but there’s only one ZOObrew. The yearly fall fundraiser organized by the Oklahoma Zoological Society is billed as the state’s “largest outdoor beer tasting festival,” and it lets you taste selections from over 55 Oklahoma breweries while you explore the OKC Zoo’s wildlife. The fest’s 2,500-person capacity seems massive, but tickets sell out quick.
Fall Cooking Classes
As temperatures dip, our taste buds retreat from a light, fruity summer palate to heartier fall flavors. David Crabtree, the general manager of Sur La Table in OKC, likens this shift in taste to hibernation — we want to conserve our energy and eat more food of substance. It can also be attributed to what produce is in season, such as summer tomatoes giving way to winter squash and pumpkins. If you’re interested in infusing these fall staples into your own cooking, there are multiple cooking classes in the 405 to help you learn.
Sur La Table will start offering an Oktoberfest-inspired Baravian feast course Sept. 30, which features pork schnitzel and spiced apple cake. It’ll also host a class in which students can craft pumpkin spice macarons — a delicate French classic with an autumn twist. Vitamix sponsors a fall-themed course that lets students cook lemon thyme steak and a hazelnut cocoa spread with crepes using its blenders. Classes range from $89-99 and are held throughout the week and weekend.
International Pantry in Norman will bring back its “Dinner and a Show” classes in early September in time for the fall. Curious cooks can watch and learn how to create food from a wide range of cuisines including Italian, Mexican, Persian and American. Every course is taught by local chefs who’ve launched and worked in 405 kitchens. The flavors aren’t all uniquely autumnal, but the season is popular with aspiring chefs. Sandy Brickman, one of the managers at International Pantry, said the store’s classes fill up quickly as many students return year after year.
Taking in the changing colors of fall trees is a blissful experience, but it’s better with a glass of wine in hand. Clauren Ridge Vineyard and Winery in Edmond lets you enjoy the autumn wonder of Oklahoma’s countryside with your favorite selections. For a cozier mood, Strebel Creek Vineyard in OKC features a patio nestled in trees and a wide range of samples. The Flower Shop Winery & Pizzeria in Yukon covers both eat and drink, and its decorated outdoor space includes a stage for live music.
Haunt the Zoo
Oct. 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30
9 a.m to 4 p.m.
Candy and camels? Sweets and lorikeets? This longtime Halloween tradition at the Oklahoma City Zoo is an amusing pairing, and it’s proven popular for both kids and adults. Haunt the Zoo is Oklahoma’s oldest family trick-or-treat event, going on its 39th year, said Candice Rennels, the director of public relations at the zoo. “It’s pan-generational. Parents are bringing their kids, and they came trick-or-treating on the Haunt the Zoo trail when they were little.”
Kids travel through the zoo’s habitats where elaborately themed props and hand-painted backdrops decorate the trail and costumed volunteers give them treats. “We have Sasquatch, we have a giant bat at one of our booths, and we have some new things coming out this year,” Rennels said. Kids can also snatch sweets from the bottom of an 8-foot-long tube as volunteers drop candy in from the top. The zoo will host hayrides and pumpkin painting sessions. In previous years, professional pumpkin carvers created impressive sculptures, such as a realistically detailed elephant in 2020. And, of course, there are plenty of animals for young ones to discover along the course.
Rennels recommends buying zoo tickets beforehand online, and a purchase of a Haunt the Zoo bag is required to collect candy. There will also be another All Grown Up event Oct. 28 from 6 to 11 p.m., when adults 21 and older can enjoy a dance floor, bar and food truck. For each event, costumes are encouraged to take part in the Halloween fun.
Exquisite Corpse Costume Ball, Artspace at Untitled
This fifth annual fundraising event for the Artspace at Untitled is inspired by the surrealist art exercise of passing a sheet of paper among artists, each adding their unique contribution before folding and hiding their work from the next person, resulting in a fantastical hodgepodge creation. The Deep Deuce gallery expands this concept to larger linoleum, and 12 artists create three interchangeable thirds of a body in a costumed celebration. With drinks, live music, palm readings and a costume contest, this ball revels in the bizarre creativity that Halloween embodies. Tickets to the costume ball are $150 for admission and five tokens for drinks and activities, and proceeds fund ARTSPACE’s free programming and high school mentorship program. The resulting works will be displayed for free until Dec. 31.
Spooky & Scary
Guthrie Haunts ScareGrounds
Fridays and Saturdays, Sept. 16-Nov. 5
Just north of Guthrie, across a river and in an isolated field, lies the Guthrie Haunts ScareGrounds, with a grand and ghoulish concourse of jugglers, hula-hoopers, medieval combat fighters and scare actors. “It’s like a spooky carnival,” said owner and operator John James Pagonis. This waiting area is meant to occupy visitors as they wait for the main scare, and it also has food trucks, beer, a theater, a karaoke DJ and mechanical bull rides.
For hardcore scare-seekers, Guthrie Haunts offers touch upgrades, which allows performers to interact with visitors, such as placing them in an electric chair or shackling them. For a little more, you can add fake blood.
The 2022 haunt is still under construction, but the season opens Sept. 16 with half price tickets ($10), and then continues every Friday and Saturday until Halloween weekend, when it’ll be open Sunday and Monday as well. During the final weekend, Nov. 4-5, the lights will be turned off for visitors with epilepsy to enjoy the scares.
Twisted Mindz Haunted Attraction
This growing haunt in Wheatland serves striking scares at a reasonable price. With plenty of jumpscares and chainsaws, this 25-15 minute maze has ranked high with local horror enthusiasts in the past few years. Look out for the unofficial mascot Pigman, who, according to the attraction’s Facebook page, has been relaxing in the pool in hungry anticipation for the haunt season. Tickets are $15 cash only, and the scares start Sept. 30 and continue each Friday and Saturday of October.
Wicked Forest of Terror
A meandering, wooded trail is this OKC haunt’s biggest draw. Its outdoor setting lends it a sweeping atmosphere of creepiness. Bring your more adventurous kids to the attraction’s Tiny Terror nights, when they can walk through the spooky sets without scare actors or eerie sound effects for only $5. Regular tickets are $30, and the season begins Sept. 24 with every following Friday, Saturday and Sunday open for frights. It’ll also be open two Thursdays before Halloween, and on Halloween itself.
Haunt the River, Oklahoma River Cruises
Oct. 14-15, 21-22, 28-29
This creepy cruise down the Oklahoma River is adorned in haunted decor. Nourish your spooky soul with a cash bar, light snacks, Halloween music and a costume contest. Cruise tickets are $35, and riders must be 21+ to hop aboard the eerie boat.
Murder Mystery Weekends at the Stone Lion Inn in Guthrie
Friday and Saturday nights
If solving a classic case of “Who done it?” intrigues you, head over to the Stone Lion Inn in Guthrie. Built in 1907, this Victorian mansion hosts Murder Mystery dinners every Friday and Saturday night. Up to 40 guests — dressed in 1920s character with scripts in hand — can enjoy a seven-course meal and then work together to untangle a hilariously twisted plot. One will be killed; one will be the killer. The event lasts about four hours, depending on the group’s detective skills, but there’s no need to rush home: The Stone Lion Inn houses five guest suites. Two additional suites are located across the street in the Caretakers’ Cottages. Overnights are encouraged — but not required — for murder mystery guests, and breakfast is served in the morning. Call 405.282.0012 for reservations.
If you’re interested in where to find fantastic fall foliage in Oklahoma, here’s a list of state and national parks with wonderful views and the lushest of leaves.