Come and Get It: The Chuck Wagon Festival at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

I have a slight confession to make: in my many years of living and dying in Oklahoma City, I have never been to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, not even once. While I have always wanted to attend the vaunted Chuck Wagon Festival, I never made it out for various reasons, ranging from the outright lazy to the downright political.

But, in this slight return to form after the disastrous Covid, as the museum seems to continually attempt to add more Indigenous history to their Western bravura, I felt that, especially with the line-up of Native eats that were apparently available, this was the year to not only finally attend the food-based west-fest, but to actually feel the historical change to a time thankfully long passed.

We had to park a ways away, as by Saturday afternoon, the place was absolutely teeming with sweaty visitors; after a short walk to the museum—and a brief moment checking in, the medium-priced ticket charges waived—we walked around the main area, with its John Wayne and Ronald Reagan statues lining the various walls, standing tall, appearing stern, and holding firm to the establishment’s dusty ethos...

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