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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Raindrops Keep Falling on Your Head?

We’ve mentioned before that here in OKC, we have the benefit of experiencing all four seasons. Who doesn’t love that? It means we get to really live it up weather-wise, but come spring-time, it also means that we need to be weather wise.

Oklahoma’s location east of the Rocky Mountains and north of the Gulf of Mexico mean that we are sometimes a hot spot for some interesting weather. Cold dry air from the Rocky Mountains and Canada have the potential to gather over our state with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, sometimes resulting in thunderstorms or even more severe weather including tornadoes.

Like other states that have the potential for severe weather, here in Oklahoma, we are pretty well prepared for what Mother Nature might throw our way. Nearly 200 tornado sirens are operated across Greater Oklahoma City. These sirens are utilized when a tornado warning exists in our area. What’s a tornado warning? Here, our meteorologists issue watches and warnings (both for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes). Here’s a brief overview from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

And to help you get prepared for any storms that might come our way, the City of Oklahoma City has assembled a number of references and resources on their site to help. Included in this powerhouse of preparedness are tips for building an emergency supply kit. So go on, download your favorite TV station’s weather app, make sure your weather radio has new batteries and be like a Boy Scout because who doesn’t like being prepared?

climate, community, weather
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Get on Up to Guthrie

You want to know one of the best things about living in Greater Oklahoma City? It’s more than just Oklahoma City. Sure, we love everything Oklahoma City has to offer, but Greater Oklahoma City is, well, greater. When combined with all of the surrounding cities, there is so much to do and experience it would take a lifetime to do it all. So you better get started.

This week, we’re going to focus on one of OKC’s neighbors to the north – Guthrie. Guthrie just so happened to be Oklahoma’s first state capital (you can read more on that here) and it’s a pretty perfect place to spend a day (or more). So head north (a mere 35 minutes up I-35) and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Guthrie has a website full of suggestions for how to fill your time (and belly) while in Guthrie.

Here are just a few of the many options you will find.

family-friendly, food, Guthrie, movies, restaurants, theater
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Fried. Good. Onion. Good. Burger. Good.

The fried onion burger is an Oklahoma original, created by frugal chefs in the 1920s looking to make their beef stretch a little farther. They started pressing heaping piles of thinly shredded onions into their beef patties and found that the recipe wasn’t just more economical, it also tasted great.

From these humble beginnings, fried onion burgers soon became a staple across Oklahoma. Here are two OKC diners that serve up some of the best Onion Burgers you’ll find anywhere in the state.

Tucker’s Onion Burgers
Opened in 2011, Tucker’s is a relatively new purveyor of this classic dish. Their sleek, retro diners in Uptown 23rd and Classen Curve serve up fresh onion burgers as well as hand-dipped shakes, fresh cut fries, homemade lemonade and more.

Bunny’s Onion Burgers
Bunny’s is one of the classic Onion Burger joints in OKC, having served up onion burgers and other diner fare for more than 50 years. Visit their original location northside or their newest location southside.

If you want to head a little ways out of town for a scrumptious onion burger, we suggest making your way to El Reno. Located a mere 30 minutes west (and a little bit north) of Oklahoma City, El Reno is so famous for onion burgers that the town hosts an annual Fried Onion Burger Day the 1st Saturday of May. You don’t want to miss it. We promise. There’s a 750-lb. friend onion hamburger involved. For real.

Check out even more mouth-watering burger spots on Travel OK’s list of the top burger joints in Oklahoma.

[Photos courtesy of Tucker’s Onion Burger and Frontier Country Marketing Association]

food, history, Oklahoma, restaurants
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (1)



Capital Shenanigans

Back before Oklahoma became the 46th star on the United States flag, it was just a territory with dreams of gaining statehood. But even as a territory, it needed a capital city. The city of Guthrie (located just 35 minutes north of Oklahoma City) was chosen as the Territorial Capital in the months following the Land Run of 1889. And when Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907, Guthrie became the state capital.

But you say, “Wait a minute. Oklahoma City is the capital of Oklahoma.” Well, my friend, you are correct. The deal was that Guthrie would remain the capital until 1913 and then the people of Oklahoma would vote and choose a permanent location. It didn’t really go that way, though. Instead, Gov. Charles Haskell called for an early statewide election and on June 11, 1910, a majority vote chose Oklahoma City as the capital.

Legend has it that Gov. Haskell actually broke into the courthouse in Guthrie under the cover of night to steal the state seal and bring it to Oklahoma City. While we hate to ruin a great story, in all actuality, the Secretary of State brought the state seal by order of Gov. Haskell to the Huckins Hotel, making the Hotel the State Capitol of Oklahoma until the capitol building was completed in 1917. You can read a full account of the state capitol move here and here.

[Photo from Oklahoma Historical Society]

Guthrie, history, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Things to Do & See: April 29 - May 5, 2014

Tuesday, April 29
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies; 8 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W Reno; 602-8700; ticket prices and availability vary.
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. Round Rock Express; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; ticket prices and availability vary.
Yoga with Alexis Persico; 5:45 - 6:45 p.m.; Water Plaza Room, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; $5 for members, $10 for nonmembers.
Poetry Reading by Missouri Poet Laureate William Trowbridgep; 7:30 p.m.; Pegasus Theater, UCO, 100 N University Drive, EdmOnd; 974-5847; Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, April 30
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. Round Rock Express; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; ticket prices and availability vary.
Bringing Books to Life; 10 - 11 a.m.; South Lobby, Crystal Bridge, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; admission is free; best for ages 2-5.
Full Circle Obedience Course; 7 – 8 p.m.; The Pavilion, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; $75 for members, $90 for nonmembers.
Wednesday Night at the Movies; 6 p.m.; Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave; 231-8650; admission is free; recommended for ages 13 and older.

Thursday, May 1
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. Round Rock Express; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; ticket prices and availability vary.
High Tea at UCO International House; 3 – 7 p.m.; UCO International House, 912 N Chowging Ave., Edmond; free to the public.
Oklahoma Farm to Fork Market; 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.; Heritage College, 7100 S Interstate 35 Service Road; Free to the public.

Friday, May 2
Rollin’ Thunder Rally; 4 – 10 p.m.; OKC Downtown Airpark, 1701 S Western Ave; 364-3700; ticket prices vary based on events.
Derby Days Happy Hour at the Park House Restaurant; 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Park House Restaurant, 125 Ron Norick Lane; 232-7275 (PARK).
Oklahoma Farm to Fork; 3 – 7:30 p.m.; Oklahoma Heart Hospital South, 5200 E Interstate 240 Service Rd.; free admission.
Summer Shed Tour with TobyMac, Skillet, Lecrae, Capital Kings, Tedashi, and We as Human; Doors open at 5:30  p.m.; OKC Zoo Amphitheatre, 2101 NE 50; 424-3344; General admission at $25.75.
Friday Films, Family and Fun; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Southern Oaks Library, 6900 S Walker; 631-4468; free admission; all ages.

Saturday, May 3
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies; TBD; Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W Reno; 602-8700; ticket prices and availability vary.
Rollin’ Thunder Rally; 7 – 11 a.m.; OKC Downtown Airpark, 1701 S Western Ave; 364-3700; ticket prices vary based on events.
Derby Days Happy Hour at the Park House Restaurant; 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Park House Restaurant, 125 Ron Norick Lane; 232-7275 (PARK).
Bushanan’s Vintage Flea Market; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Oklahoma State Fair, 3001 General Pershing Blvd; 948-6700.
Gun, Knife & Outdoor Equipment Show; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Oklahoma State Fair, 3001 General Pershing Blvd; 948-6700.

Sunday, May 4
Bushanan’s Vintage Flea Market; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Oklahoma State Fair, 3001 General Pershing Blvd; 948-6700.
Gun, Knife & Outdoor Equipment Show; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Oklahoma State Fair, 3001 General Pershing Blvd; 948-6700.
Beginning Farsi; 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.; Edmond Library, 10 S Boulevard, Edmond; 341-9282; $30/month; for adults and teens.

Monday, May 5
Quilting Basics; 6:30 – 8 p.m.; Ralph Ellison; 2000 NE 23rd; 424-1437; free admission.
Showtimer’s Classic Country Dance; 7  p.m.; Midwest City Senior Center, 8215 E Reno, Midwest City; 732-4665; entry $5 donation.
Tai Chi; 4 – 5 p.m.; Northwest Library, 5600 NW 122nd St.; 606-3580.

calendar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Do You Know Your Land Run?

April 22, 1889, marked an important date in Oklahoma history when thousands of settlers staked their claim on the Unassigned Lands of Oklahoma and created what we now call Oklahoma City. And since today marks the 125th anniversary of the Land Run, we think this is the perfect time to brush up on your Oklahoma history. Read on for some fast facts about the city that was built in a day – literally.

  • In March 1889, Illinois Rep. William Springer amended the Indian Appropriations Bill to allow Pres. Benjamin Harrison to open the region for settlement.
  • Under the Homestead Act of 1862, settlers could claim lots up to 160 acres in size – but they only received a title to the land if they worked and improved the land for five years.
  • People waited at the boundary of the new territory for weeks before the Land Run even started, and soldiers were tasked with keeping the rowdy crowd in line. Some sneaky citizens slipped through, though, and crossed into Indian Territory before the sound of the gun. These people were labeled “Sooners,” which is the source of the Oklahoma’s nickname “The Sooner State.”
  • Cannons and pistols fired at precisely high noon on April 22, giving the go-ahead for people to stake their claim on a tract of land. Those that participated in the mad dash were called “Boomers,” since they waited for the boom of the cannon to charge into the new territory.
  • The term “Boomer” did not originate with the Land Run, however. The term first referred to participants in the “Boomer Movement,” in which settlers claimed that the Unassigned Lands were public property and should be open to anyone for settlement. Leaders of this movement included David L. Payne (namesake of Payne County) and William L. Couch (first mayor of Oklahoma City).
  • An estimated 50,000 gathered to claim their own 160 acres of “free land.” By nightfall, 11,000 agricultural homesteads were claimed.
  • Many settlers were forced to contest others who claimed the same farm or lot, and a few of these legal battles made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision of Smith v. Townsend in 1892 caused those who entered the territory illegally to lose their claim on valuable land.
history, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Happy Birthday, OKC!

One thing is for sure, OKC knows how to celebrate in style and its 125th birthday will be no different. The folks at the City of OKC are planning one heck of a party at City Hall today and everyone is invited.

The City will host an open house today, April 22, and the event will feature free birthday cake, tours of City Hall, history lessons (better than the ones in high school, we promise), a Spokies bike tour and free children’s activities during the Festival of the Arts. Some OKC attractions are even offering free admission today to all Oklahoma City residents. See the City’s website for a full list of the fun.

attractions, festivals, free, history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Stake Your Claim

We know, you are probably all jazzed up about this Land Run talk and you want to stake your own claim on part of Oklahoma City. You may not get 160 acres, but you can make a Land Run to a nice picnic spot for some OKC birthday celebrations of your own. Read on for some ideas for your own Land Run reenactment.

  • Myriad Botanical Gardens – Grab your friends and fam and head to this 17-acre paradise for the perfect picnic spot. And with Oklahoma City’s Festival of the Arts kicking off today, you will be in prime position to enjoy outdoor performances on the Great Lawn.
  • Boathouse District – While we know the Oklahoma River as the place to experience Olympic-level paddle sports, the Oklahoma River was originally one of the boundaries of the Land Run in 1889. Pay tribute to the adventurous spirit of both roles by checking out the Boathouse District’s Sky Trails or by renting a kayak and getting on the river.
Oklahoma River, arts and culture, family-friendly, festivals, food, history, Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Back in the Day

Even though Oklahoma City was built in a day, the journey from a railroad depot to a bustling city was not easy. From gunfights to claim jumpers, Oklahoma City’s history will show you how the West was won.

On the morning of April 22, a railroad depot and a few crude buildings made up “Oklahoma Station,” but by nightfall there were between 4,000 and 6,000 people in the area, each trying to defend their claim on 160 acres of land. Streets ran at odd angles, tents were pitched in a haphazard fashion and there was no provision for organized government. Citizens banded together to choose a provisional government, and by May 1, 1889, elections were held to select permanent officials. A volunteer fire department used a hand-drawn converted beer wagon to fight fires, and a provisional police force used their fists and guns to impose order on the city.

Despite the lack of industry and a few economic depressions, the city still continued to be optimistic about its future. By 1900 the population of the citied had almost doubled, making it the fastest-growing town in Oklahoma. And when the Chamber recruited two packing plants to Oklahoma in 1909 and 1910, Oklahoma City had secured its first major industry that employed thousands of people. From that time, Oklahoma City grew steadily and developed into the place that we call home today.

history, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Things to Do & See: April 22 - April 28, 2014

Tuesday, April 22
Happy 125th Oklahoma City! Free Admission to the Crystal Bridge; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; free admission.
Yoga with Alexis Persico; 5:45 - 6:45 p.m.; Water Plaza Room, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; $5 for members, $10 for nonmembers.
Festival of the Arts; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Great Lawn, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 270-4848; free admission.
High Tea at UCO International House; 3 – 7 p.m.; University of Central Oklahoma International House, 912 N Chowning Ave., Edmond; free to the public.

Wednesday, April 23
Oklahoma City Barons vs. Texas Stars; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens; 602-8500; ticket prices and availability vary.
Festival of the Arts; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Great Lawn, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 270-4848; free admission.
Bringing Books to Life; 10 - 11 a.m.; South Lobby, Crystal Bridge, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; admission is free; best for ages 2-5.
Arts Council of OKC’s Angels and Friends Party; 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.; Crystal Bridge, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 445-7080.
Wednesday Night at the Movies; 6 p.m.; Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave.; 231-8650; admission is free; recommended for ages 13 and older.

Thursday, April 24
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. Nashville Sound; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; ticket prices and availability vary.
OKC Zoo Hosts Sciencefest; 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Global Plaza, Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 NE 50th St.; 425-0262; free admission.
Festival of the Arts; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Great Lawn, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 270-4848; free admission
High Tea at UCO International House; 3 – 7 p.m.; UCO International House, 912 N Chowging Ave., Edmond; free to the public.
Norman Music Festival; 12 – 11 p.m.; downtown Norman, Main Street and Jones Street; free to the public.

Friday, April 25
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. Nashville Sound; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; ticket prices and availability vary.
Festival of the Arts; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Great Lawn, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 270-4848; free admission.
Norman Music Festival; 12 – 11 p.m.; downtown Norman, Main Street and Jones Street; free to the public.
Oklahoma Farm to Fork; 3 – 7:30 p.m.; Oklahoma Heart Hospital South, 5200 E Interstate 240 Service Rd.; free admission.

Saturday, April 26
Oklahoma City Barons vs. Texas Stars; 8 p.m.; Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens; 602-8500; ticket prices and availability vary.
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. Nashville Sound; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; ticket prices and availability vary.
National Guard Military Appreciation Day; 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Global Plaza, Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 NE 50th St.; 424-3344; admission prices vary.
Festival of the Arts; 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Great Lawn, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 270-4848; free admission.
Crystal Bridge turns green for Energy FC kick off; 8 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.; Crystal Bridge, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 445-7080.
Norman Music Festival; 12 – 11 p.m.; downtown Norman, Main Street and Jones Street; free to the public.

Sunday, April 27
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. Nashville Sound; 2:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; ticket prices and availability vary.
Party for the Planet; 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Global Plaza, Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 NE 50th St.; 425-0262; free with paid zoo admission.
Festival of the Arts; 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Great Lawn, Myriad Gardens, 301 W Reno; 270-4848; free admission.
Festival La 29; 12 - 6 p.m.; SW 29th St. (between S Shields Blvd. and S May Ave.); Admission is free and open to the public.

Monday, April 28
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. Round Rock Express; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; ticket prices and availability vary.
Quilting Basics; 6:30 – 8 p.m.; Ralph Ellison; 2000 NE 23rd; 424-1437; free admission.
Showtimer’s Classic Country Dance; 7  p.m.; Midwest City Senior Center, 8215 E Reno, Midwest City; 732-4665; entry $5 donation.
Tai Chi; 4 – 5 p.m.; Northwest Library, 5600 NW 122nd St.; 606-3580.

calendar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring has Sprung

Spring is upon us, fellow OKC’ers. The birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, sometimes there’s a torrential downpour. We know that you’re itching to put away those winter coats for good so here are a few ideas for how to get your spring fever going:

family-friendly, museums, nightlife, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, parks, volunteer
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Keeping OKC Beautiful

We all know that OKC is a great place to live, work and play. But it’s more than that – it’s also a pretty darn good looking place. Some of that is thanks to the folks at OKC Beautiful. They really take their name to heart – from planting more than 1,200 acres of wildflowers along public roadways and encouraging local businesses and corporations to sponsor public landscapes to organizing annual LitterBlitz events and running the citywide Adopt-A-Park program.

Are you ready to discover how you can do your part? Visit OKC Beautiful to get started.

[Photos courtesy of OKC Beautiful]

community
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Get Your Green On

Did you know that each household in OKC generates approximately 4.5 pounds of waste per day? That is quite a bit of trash. Thankfully, not all of it is really trash. Sure you don’t want it in your house anymore, but that doesn’t mean you have to send it to the dumpster. A good portion of it can either be recycled or composted, helping to make your home and our community a little greener.

Recycling
The City of Oklahoma City makes being a good environmental steward easy and convenient for residents with weekly curbside recycling. Just get a Little Blue recycling bin, fill it with your permitted recyclables and leave it out the same morning as your regular trash service.

Check out these other recycling resources provided by our friends over at OKC Beautiful.

Composting
Now that you’ve pared down your trash by discovering which items you can recycle, let’s talk about another way to get rid of waste – composting.

Here are the City’s simple steps for outdoor composting:

  • Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin. Add equal parts of three basic ingredients, chopped or shredded:
      • Browns (dead leaves, branches and twigs) for carbon.
      • Greens (grass clippings, vegetable waste, food scraps and coffee grounds) for nitrogen.
      • Water, moistening dry materials as they are needed.
  • Mix these items well, stirring frequently for about six months. Make sure you don’t let the mixture become too wet or too dry. You can even cover the top of the compost with a tarp if you’d like.
  • When the materials on the bottom are dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to be used.

The City also provides a list of things that should be left out of your composting combination:

  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
  • Coal or charcoal ash
  • Citrus rinds
  • Dairy products (butter, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, yogurt, etc.)
  • Fats, grease, lard or oils
  • Meat or fish bones and scraps
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants
  • Pet wastes
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides

If you’d like more information on the magic of composting and how you can get started, contact Utilities Customer Service at 405-297-2833 or water@okc.gov for a free guide!

community, gardening
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Arts Festival Insider

You’ll hear everywhere about the Festival of the Arts, but you may not get insider tips to enjoy the event like a true local.

This huge, fun community event always takes place the last full week of April. Besides two blocks of tents filled by some of the finest artists from around the country, the Arts Council of Oklahoma City brings together varied local restaurants with food booths and a huge variety of local music.

First of all, pick your days and times with care. You can join the big crowds enjoying the gorgeous spring evenings, but mornings at the Festival have just as much music, art and food with lots more space to walk. If it happens to be wet or cold, that doesn’t mean you should stay home. Go then and you’ll find the friendliest vendors ever.

Next: parking. Skip the pay lots and come from a few blocks south where many empty lots and quiet buildings sit. Don’t be intimidated by how vacant it is – just get a glimpse of where the future public downtown park and convention center will be (you’ll need your imagination).

If you’re with kids, check out the children’s activities located in the Myriad Gardens (amazing itself). If you would prefer not to have to watch your step for fear of tripping over little ones, steer clear of the joyful chaos by staying on the north or west end of the Festival.

Faves: Take a little time to see artists in action, actually creating the work at the Artful Experiences area. This is also an ideal picnicking area with tables, grass and trees.

Another idea to get the real insider view: volunteer. Look around while at the Festival and you’ll see teams of grinning volunteers everywhere. This event is run by thousands of volunteers pitching in and they’re so enthusiastic it’s like summer camp for adults. Let the Arts Council OKC know you want to help, and you could quickly be meeting interesting folks while guiding bands to the stage, helping the festival go green or driving golf carts to deliver ice to the drink vendors.

volunteer, arts and culture, downtown, family-friendly, festivals, food, kids, music, Myriad Botanical Gardens
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Things to Do & See: April 15 - April 21, 2014

Tuesday, April 15
Yoga with Alexis Persico; 5:45 - 6:45 p.m.; Myriad Gardens Water Plaza Room, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; $5 for members, $10 for nonmembers.
High Tea at UCO International House; 3 – 7 p.m.; University of Central Oklahoma International House, 912 N Chowging Ave., Edmond; free to the public.
Art After Noon; 12:30 p.m.; Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Dee Dee and Jon R. Stuart Classroom; 555 Elm, Norman; 325-3272.

Wednesday, April 16
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Detroit Pistons; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W Reno; 602-8700; ticket prices and availability vary.
Bringing Books to Life; 10 - 11 a.m.; Myriad Gardens South Lobby, Crystal Bridge, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; admission is free; best for ages 2-5.
Wednesday Night at the Movies; 6 p.m.; Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave.; 231-8650; admission is free; recommended for ages 13+.

Thursday, April 17
Deborah Kaspari: “Drawing From the Tropics” ; 5 - 7 p.m.; Myriad Gardens second floor conference room, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; admission is free.
Magic Show with Joe Comet; 7 p.m.; University of Central Oklahoma Nigh University Center Room 421, Edmond; 974-2000; open to the public.
High Tea at UCO International House; 3 – 7 p.m.; University of Central Oklahoma International House, 912 N. Chowging Ave., Edmond; free to the public.
Oklahoma Farm to Fork Market; 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.; Heritage College; 7100 S Interstate 35 Service Road; free to the public.

Friday, April 18
Oklahoma City Barons vs. Wild Iowa; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens; 602-8500; ticket prices and availability vary.
Good Friday in the Park; 5:45 - 7 p.m.; Myriad Gardens Great Lawn, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; admission is free.
Oklahoma Farm to Fork; 3 – 7:30 p.m.; Oklahoma Heart Hospital South, 5200 E Interstate 240 Service Road; free admission.
“Beauty and the Beast” Ballet; 7 p.m.; Civic Center Music Hall; 201 N Walker; 848-8637; admission prices vary.

Saturday, April 19
Oklahoma City Barons vs. Wild Iowa; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens; 602-8500; ticket prices and availability vary.
Hippety Hop Family Program; 10 – 11:30 a.m.; Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 NE 50; 424-0218; $15 for members and $18 for nonmembers; ages 5 through 12.
Houseplant Propagation Workshop; 10 – 11:30 a.m.; Myriad Gardens Terrace Room, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers.
Easter Egg Hunt; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Myriad Gardens Children’s Garden, 301 W Reno; 445-7080; $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers; best for ages 10 and below.
“Beauty and the Beast” Ballet; 2 p.m., 8 p.m.; Civic Center Music Hall; 201 N Walker; 848-8637; admission prices vary.

Sunday, April 20
OKC Zoo Annual Hopabaloo Easter Event; 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 NE 50; 424-3344; prices vary.
Easter Sunday Brunch in the Park House; 11 a.m.  - 3 p.m.; Park House Restaurant, 125 Ron Norick Lane; 232-7275; admission prices vary.
“Beauty and the Beast” Ballet; 7 p.m.; Civic Center Music Hall; 201 N Walker; 848-8637; admission prices vary.

Monday, April 21
Quilting Basics; 6:30 – 8 p.m.; Ralph Ellison; 2000 NE 23; 424-1437; free admission.
Showtimer’s Classic Country Dance; 7  p.m.; Midwest City Senior Center, 8215 E Reno, Midwest City; 732-4665; entry $5 donation.
Tai Chi; 4 – 5 p.m.; Northwest Library, 5600 NW 122; 606-3580.
Labyrinth Walk; 6 - 8 p.m.; First United Methodist Church of Edmond, 305 E Hurd, Edmond; 341-0107; free and open to the public.

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Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Be an Artist

You too can get clay under your fingernails or paint a masterpiece. Tons of great studio art classes and workshops are available every week. Here’s a few of our favorite spots in Oklahoma City to learn to make art:

Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center:
Check out the classes and workshops for all ages, known for amazing ceramics studio, excellent fiber program and respected kid camps. Don’t miss their wine and wheel classes for a fun night of sipping and creating.
3000 General Pershing Blvd, 405-951-0000.
www.oklahomacontemporary.org

Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain:
OK, it’s not in OKC, but the Fall Arts Institute offers amazing advanced courses for educators and artists in a gorgeous Oklahoma location. This program is truly unmatched in our region.
405-605-7500
www.oaiquartz.org

Oklahoma City Museum of Art:
The Museum School offers studio classes from one-time to series for students from toddlers to seniors.
415 Couch Dr., 405-236-3100
www.okcmoa.com

Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition:
Want to get serious about being an artist? The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC) helps artists realize their potential through education, funding and exposure. Go to one of OVAC’s Business of Art workshops, exhibitions or at least sign up for the mailing list.
730 W. Wilshire Blvd., Suite 104, 405-879-2400
www.ovac-ok.org

Blue Sage Studios:
Glass blowing classes (yes, literally making hot glass!).
1218-C N Western, 405-601-2583
www.bluesagestudios.com

A Jeweler's Art:
Learn to make your own jewelry in a super friendly atmosphere.
2924 Paseo Drive, 405-557-1866
www.ajewelersart.com

[Photos provided by the Oklahoma City Museum of Art]

arts and culture, education, family-friendly
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Fresh Expressions

Want to see the freshest artists in OKC? Check out spaces that show emerging and young artists where you can expect surprises in the ideas, materials and viewing experience.

These places are thrilled about welcoming new visitors, even if the lighting may be low or entrance a bit hidden.

This month DNA Gallerieshighlights original artists, many of them emerging in Oklahoma. Don’t miss that they carry artist-made jewelry, T-shirts (unofficial Thunder basketball attire= most popular) and furniture, too.

Nearby, the never-complacent Istvan Gallery highlights new voices in a converted warehouse. (Bonus: the gallery adjoins a glass blowing studio too, giving you the change to watch them heat up and design glass in person!).

The Oklahoma Black Museum and Performing Arts Center highlights emerging and legendary African-American artists, showing work often underrepresented in other venues.

Always trying to incite a reaction, a.k.a. Gallery chooses artists highlighting themes you may not see elsewhere. From the macabre to religious satire, a.k.a. hopes you’ll discuss the art and keep thinking about it.

At JRB Art at the Elms, legendary Oklahoma artists show alongside artists pushing new expressions. Artists Adrienne Wright and Lisa McIlroy created a whole room to look like gardens made out of paper. The gallery is located in a beautiful historic building to boot.

[Photos provided by DNA Galleries]

arts and culture
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Art of the Built Environment

Oklahoma City has plenty to offer for architecture buffs, in both historic and modern styles.  On April 12, enjoy the AIA of Central Oklahoma’s annual Architecture Tour, highlighting recent accomplishments in local architecture. www.aiacoc.org/tour

Here are several other destinations worth visiting anytime:

For a more comprehensive list, order the AIA of Central Oklahoma’s “Celebrate 100: An Architectural Guide to Central Oklahoma” for just $10.

arts and culture
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Spotlight Once in 100 Years: Allan Houser

Maybe you got curious when you looked at every license plate in the state and you saw art – a sculpture by Allan Houser to be specific.

Celebrating Houser’s 100th birthday, museums, the Capitol and even the airport are showing his work this year. For a short time, you can visit exhibitions at fine museums, wander around sculptures outside and even enjoy all-ages family programming.

Houser, whose work has been shown around the world, is one of the most well-known Native American artists and native Oklahomans. He created so intensely, by the time he died in 1994, he had made more than 500 paintings, 2,000 drawings and 233 sketchbooks containing more than 30,000 sketches. He also created more than 1,000 sculptures in stone, wood and bronze.

Many of the exhibitions offer free admission or are part of bigger museums that are worth visiting anyway.

See www.okhouser.org for all the shows and schedule.

arts and culture, history, museums, Oklahoma
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Behind the Scenes: Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition Helping Artists

Your recommendations this week on art fun in the city come from Julia Kirt, executive director, and Kelsey Karper, associate director of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition.

Known as “OVAC,” the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition helps artists across the state realize their potential through education, funding and exposure. OVAC develops our community as one where artists choose to live and the community can experience the arts.

If you’re curious about art, you are welcome at OVAC’s public events that usually feature new, dynamic artwork in a fun setting, like the 12x12 Art Fundraiser, the Momentum exhibition that features artists ages 30 and younger or several highly-competitive exhibitions like Art 365 (up now).

If you’re an artist, you’ll want to check out the Artist Survival Kit (ASK) business of art workshops, the artist grants and awards, exhibitions and many other resources OVAC offers.

To keep up on artists and exhibitions, you can watch OVAC’s online calendar and read the bimonthly magazine Art Focus Oklahoma.

Sign up for OVAC’s mailing list here and follow more tips on Facebook or Twitter.

[Photos provided by OVAC]

arts and culture, community
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Things to Do & See: April 8 - April 14, 2014

Tuesday, April 8
Read Across Oklahoma: Mr. Duck Means Business; 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 Northeast 50th St.; 522-3186; For children 11 and under
Yoga with Alexis Persico; 5:45 - 6:45 p.m.; Myriad Gardens, Water Plaza Room, 301 W. Reno; 445-7080; $5 for Members, $10 for Nonmembers

Wednesday, April 9
Bringing Books to Life; 10 - 11 a.m.; Myriad Gardens, South Lobby, Crystal Bridge, 301 W. Reno; 445-7080; Admission is free; Best for ages 2-5
Wednesday Night at the Movies; 6 p.m.; Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave.; 231-8650; Admission is free; Recommended for ages 13+
The Central Jazz Jam; 6:30 p.m.; UCO; 100 North University Drive; 974-2000; Free Admission and Open to the Public

Thursday, April 10
Seeking Wonderful Volunteers: Volunteer Information Session; 10 - 11:30 a.m.; Myriad Gardens, Terrace Room, 301 W. Reno; 445-7087
Tai Chi; 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.; Northwest Library, 5600 NW 122nd St.; 606-3580
Heat, featuring Evangeline; 7:30 p.m.; UCO; 100 North University Drive; 974-2000; Admission Prices Vary

Friday, April 11
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W Reno; 602-8700; Ticket Prices and Availability Vary
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. New Orleans Zephyrs; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; Ticket Prices and Availability Vary
Myriad Botanical Gardens Day Trip to Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens; 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Myriad Gardens, Crystal Bridge, 301 W. Reno; 445-7087; $90 for Members, $110 for Nonmembers
Friday Films, Family and Fun; 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Southern Oaks Library, 6900 South Walker; 631-4468; Free Admission; All Ages

Saturday, April 12
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. New Orleans Zephyrs; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; Ticket Prices and Availability Vary
Color Run; 9 a.m.; Remington Park; 1 Remington Pl., 855-602-6567; $40/person for team runners or $45 per solo runner
Earth Fest; 1 - 4 p.m.; Martin Nature Center; 5000 West Memorial Rd.; 755-0676
President’s Concert Haydn’s The Seasons; 8 p.m.; University of Oklahoma, Reynolds Performing Art Center, 500 W. Boyd Street, Norman; 325-4101; Admission Prices Vary

Sunday, April 13
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. New Orleans Zephyrs; 2:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; Ticket Prices and Availability Vary
Malee’s Birthday Bash; 1 - 3 p.m.; Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 Northeast 50th St.; 425-0262
Young Professionals Book Club; 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.; Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard; 341-9282
OU Civic Orchestra; 8 p.m.; University of Oklahoma, Sharp Concert Hall, 500 W. Boyd Street, Norman; 325-4101; Admission Prices Vary

Monday, April 14
Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. New Orleans Zephyrs; 7:05 p.m.; Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive; 218-1000; Ticket Prices and Availability Vary
Gorilla Golf; 1 - 3 p.m.; Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 Northeast 50th St.; 425-0612; Admission Prices Vary
Music Theater Directing Projects; 6:30 p.m.; UCO, 100 North University Dr., Edmond; 974-2000; Donations Accepted

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Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to Cure That Cabin Fever

Now that the big yellow ball in the sky has started to make its presence felt in the form of more pleasant weather, naturally a young man’s (and woman’s) fancy lightly turns to thoughts of nature and sleeping out-of-doors. And thankfully, we’re in luck here in Oklahoma City, with fantastic camping opportunities within easy driving distance (more on that below in locations both in and out of the city). But you may be thinking, “I can’t go camping—I don’t know what I’m doing, and I don’t have any camping stuff!” Well, even the gear-less shouldn’t fear: The Better Life has you covered.

What do you need to go camping? Not much, really. A tent, a sleeping bag and some camp-friendly cuisine is really all you need. Apart from that, anything else you might want to take depends on your pick of location and what else you’d like to do on your trip.

We here at TBL HQ enjoy going for a simple overnight excursion near a lake or stream at one of our nearby state parks. We suggest taking:

  • a tarp for ground cover;
  • a tent;
  • sleeping bags and some sleeping mats;
  • a cooler with ice, water, drinks and any foods you might like to have along; some matches to get a fire started;
  • and something fun to do in the forest, like a telescope for stargazing, a guitar for (literally) singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire, fishing gear (and a fishing license), a cornhole set (or “bean bag toss,” if you prefer) or a pair of hiking boots or a mountain bike to check out those park trails.

It’s not a bad idea to take some extra layers for that morning chill, and some first-aid, toiletry items, bug spray and sunscreen, just in case. Some parks even have coin-op showers if you want to smooth out the experience of roughing it.

Notice that we didn’t mention firewood. When camping at state parks, depending on the location you can either gather firewood from the forest floor or simply purchase some from the park office (they discourage bringing in outside wood for fear of strange bugs or tree diseases, so keep those dirty timbers at home!). Another important note – before you strike, be sure to make sure there’s not a burn ban in your area.

Our friends over at the state Tourism & Recreation Department provide a great primer on camping for beginners that can demystify the camping experience and give you some other great pointers – check it out.

Read our other posts this week for tips on places to camp both inside and outside the city.

camping, family-friendly, outdoor recreation, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Park It at a State Park

Oklahoma’s State Parks offer some great spots for camping. Whether you want to sleep in the forest, next to a lake or waterfall, abutting red canyon walls, or even on the sand dunes or near caves that were hideouts for Jesse James and Belle Starr, our state’s park system delivers.

But that’s not all, folks. Check this link for a nice listing of all the great State Parks, national recreational areas & forests, wildlife refuges, and other spots the state has where we can all enjoy an authentic camping experience right here in Oklahoma.

[Photo by John Jernigan]

camping, family-friendly, Oklahoma, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Places to Camp in OKC

So, we’ve got your interest all nice and piqued on the camping bit, but you’re thinking you don’t want to waste too much of this beautiful weather in the car. We hear you. There are some places right here in the metro where you can still get your camp on.

Lake Arcadia
The area around this in-city-limits lake in northeast Oklahoma County has been preserved to keep the nature natural, and provides an easy escape to camping bliss. At Lake Arcadia you can fish, boat, swim, ride your mountain bike, play disc golf and more. Get more info on camping here.

Lake Thunderbird State Park
With two swim beaches and two marinas (and a plethora of boat ramps) there is plenty to do both on and off the water at this state park just east of Norman. Hear that sound? Playgrounds, horse riding stables and all 18.5 miles of the Clear Bay Recreation Area Trail System are calling you (either that or the battery in your smoke alarm needs to be changed).

Oklahoma City East KOA
Located in Choctaw, this campground offers a pool, a snack bar, a playground and even Wi-Fi(!). Tent sites with water and electricity are available, as well as those without hookups.

At Home
If you’re a beginning camper and just want to try it out, you could even simply fire up your grill and have a nice little field trip in your own backyard. So get out there, build that fire and pitch that tent! Just remember your neighbors are still there, so you may want to keep the volume of your family’s hiphop version of Kumbaya to a minimum.

[Photo from TravelOK]

camping, family-friendly, outdoor recreation, parks, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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History Is Everywhere

As you drive around the city and state (perhaps looking for that perfect camping spot), you may notice plaques that, well, note places of historical significance. These can be found all over the state, but the Oklahoma Historical Society has put together a directory so that you can find markers by county.

In Oklahoma County alone there are more than 35 markers notating places like Washington Irving’s Camp in Arcadia, the east boundary of the Land Run of 1889, a Civil War cannon, and the site of the state’s first public schoolhouse, among others.

A fun idea for you history buffs out there would be to check them all out! A not-so-fun idea would be to write a six-page report on each, but hey, you live your own life, we suppose. We’ll stick with just stopping by and maybe taking a few photos for Instagramming.

Happy Historical Marker Hunting!

history, Oklahoma
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Things to Do & See: April 1 - April 7, 2014

Tuesday, April 1
Yoga with Alexis Persico; 5:45 - 6:45 p.m.; Myriad Gardens, Water Plaza Room, 301 W. Reno; 445-7080; $5 for Members, $10 for Nonmembers
Soweto Gospel Choir; 7 p.m.; Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC); 7777 S. May; 682-7579; Admission Prices Vary
Public Speaking Training; 6 p.m.; Three Rivers Museum, 220 Elgin, Muskogee; 918-360-5300
High Tea at UCO International House; 3 - 7 p.m.; UCO International House, 912 N. Chowging Ave., Edmond; Free to the public

Wednesday, April 2
Light It Up Blue; all day; Myriad Gardens, Crystal Bridge, 301 W. Reno; 445-7080
Oklahoma City Barons vs. Hamilton Bulldogs; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens; 602-8500; Ticket Prices and Availability Vary

Thursday, April 3
Oklahoma Farm to Fork Market; 11 a.m. - noon; Heritage College; 7100 S Interstate 35 Service Road; Free to the Public
High Tea at UCO International House; 3 - 7 p.m.; UCO International House, 912 N. Chowging Ave., Edmond; Free to the public
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs; 7 p.m.; Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W Reno; 602-8700; Ticket Prices and Availability Vary
UCO Kaleidoscope Dance Company’s Spring Concert; 7:30 p.m.; UCO, Mitchell Hall Theater, 100 N University Drive; 974-3375; Admission Prices Vary

Friday, April 4
Friday Films, Family and Fun; 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Southern Oaks Library, 6900 South Walker; 631-4468; Free Admission; All Ages
Paseo District First Friday Gallery Walk; 6 - 10 p.m.; Paseo Arts District, 3022 Paseo; 525-2688; Admission is free
UCO Kaleidoscope Dance Company’s Spring Concert; 7:30 p.m.; UCO, Mitchell Hall Theater, 100 N University Drive; 974-3375; Admission Prices Vary
The Cherry Orchard On Stage at University Theatre; 8 p.m.; University of Oklahoma, Weitzenhoffer Theatre, 563 Elm Ave., Norman; 325-4101; Ticket Prices Vary
UCO Muscial Theatre presents “Working”; 8 p.m.; UCO Jazz Lab, 100 N University Drive, Edmund; 974-3752; Tickets are $20

Saturday, April 5
Paseo District First Friday (Saturday) Gallery Walk; noon - 6 p.m.; Paseo Arts District, 3022 Paseo; 525-2688; Admission is free
Drop-In Art: Mixed-Media Landscapes; 1 - 4 p.m.; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Dr; 236-3100; Free with paid museum admission
Oklahoma City Barons vs. Charlotte Checkers; 7 p.m.; Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens; 602-8500; Ticket Prices and Availability Vary
UCO Kaleidoscope Dance Company’s Spring Concert; 7:30 p.m.; UCO, Mitchell Hall Theater, 100 N University Drive; 974-3375; Admission Prices Vary
The Cherry Orchard On Stage at University Theatre; 8 p.m.; University of Oklahoma, Weitzenhoffer Theatre, 563 Elm Ave., Norman; 325-4101; Ticket Prices Vary
UCO Muscial Theatre presents “Working”; 8 p.m.; UCO Jazz Lab, 100 N University Drive, Edmund; 974-3752; Tickets are $20

Sunday, April 6
The Cherry Orchard On Stage at University Theatre; 3 p.m.; University of Oklahoma, Weitzenhoffer Theatre, 563 Elm Ave., Norman; 325-4101; Ticket Prices Vary
Oklahoma City Barons vs. Charlotte Checkers; 4 p.m.; Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens; 602-8500; Ticket Prices and Availability Vary
UCO Muscial Theatre presents “Working”; 8 p.m.; UCO Jazz Lab, 100 N University Drive, Edmund; 974-3752; Tickets are $20

Monday, April 7
Quilting Basics; 6:30 - 8 p.m.; Ralph Ellison; 2000 NE 23rd; 424-1437; Free admission
Showtimer’s Classic Country Dance; 7  p.m.; Midwest City Senior Center, 8215 E Reno, Midwest City; 732-4665; Entry $5 donation
Tai Chi; 4 p.m. - 5 p.m.; Northwest Library, 5600 NW 122nd St.; 606-3580

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Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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