Over the past year or so, I’ve been to many small towns all across Oklahoma, sampling the diverse cultural pleasures (and cultish plagues) that each rural municipality of this state has chosen to celebrate through their varied area festivals and other local hullabaloos; but of all these friends and lovers, there’s really no one that compares to Luther.
From the completely genuine townsfolk to the fiercely independent businesses, if I’m being honest, I entered the city limits expecting the worst of humanity but left with only the best vision of it; the reason why I was in town this past Saturday was for, of course, the 2019 Luther Pecan Festival, the city’s tribute to the vaunted nut.
While the first pecan festival I went to earlier this year in Okmulgee was mostly a dud, Luther’s proved that everybody does love a nut by having plenty of pecan pickings for salty shoppers, which should really be the first rule of these things; nut-lovers were gleefully lined up and down Main Street to sample just a taste of the town’s pecans and, even better, their many variations of the pie and, to a lesser extent, the pralines.
Attending with my festival-going pal Jodie and her beau, we had a slice of that very pie as soon as we entered the grounds, with a sinfully decadent filling only a dessert-loving Satan could love, complete with a buttery crust made from the tears of chubby angels. It was a most welcomed welcoming, as was the brilliantly iconic flavor of the sweet potato pound-cake, a new taste sensation I lustfully want more of.
Walking past a trough filled with corn-feed that allowed children to “swim” in it for about five minutes, as well as plenty of demonic baby goats and other assorted animals of the night, the Luther Pecan Festival was a true family affair, with the most notable vendor being the Metropolitan Library System; so many festivals in Oklahoma treat reading as a liberal disease, so it was remarkable that Luther actually celebrated book-learnin’.
I did feel somewhat bad for pie-smeared chubby children that wanted to ride the miniature horses though; with a weight limit of 75 lbs, I can only send a tortured glance to the fat little hundred-pounder that has to sit on the sidelines as his somewhat fitter friends laugh on the back of these tiny steeds. It only gets harder—and heavier—kids.
But maybe that tyke might look up and see area band Parachute dad-rocking the entertainment stage, playing tunes like “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” to the mostly enthusiastic crowd and start slinging an axe or something; and, you know, as much as I joke about this style of local music, give me this combo of middle-aged dudes rocking out over an entropic ensemble of bored indie musicians anyday.
It was over here, by the bandstand, where a local woman named Ginger was passing out maps and offering help and information; she came up to me and said hi and was familiar with my work. She asked me to say nice things about the festival; I told her that it might be my favorite Oklahoma festival yet and probably will be for a while, at least until I go see some rattlesnakes in Waurika next year.
With nary an Herbalife or Scentsy salesperson within shopping distance, I was free to spend some easy money on not only a couple of small pies benefitting an infant crisis center, but also a large bag of pecans for an experimental pie my girlfriend was thinking about making on Thanksgiving, even though I reminded her that all year is a good time for pecan pie.
And, in case you were ever wondering, Ken Boyer really is everywhere! Ken Boyer! Ken Boyer! KEN BOYER!