WEATHER UPDATE: Due to record rainfall that has made the festival grounds unusable (and forecasts for more in the coming days), the 2015 Chuck Wagon Gathering & Children's Cowboy Festival is being moved to the Museum's upper campus. Guests can enjoy a memorable experience with lots of indoor activities, entertainment and food samples (while they last). 

Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, which means it's time for one of my favorite annual OKC events: The Chuck Wagon Gathering & Children's Cowboy Festival at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. This two-day festival (May 23 and 24) is a great way for you and the kiddos to kick-off the unofficial start to summer here in OKC.

Open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., start your day on the festival grounds, which are down the hill on the east side of the museum. Tickets are $15 for adults, and children 12 and under are free. Admission to the festival includes sampling of all the cowboy fare you care to eat. We're talking beans and cornbread, peach cobbler and lots of other stick-to-your ribs chow cooked in dutch ovens over campfires, just like the cowboys used to out on the trail. After a hardy meal, the kids can join in all the great crafts and outdoor activities. Personal favorites for the little ones in my household are the pony rides, bandana decorating, rope making and archery. A family ride in a real stagecoach or covered wagon is always a hit too. There's live entertainment as well, including historical re-enactments and great western music.

Be sure to make your way up the hill to the museum as well, because admission to the festival also includes admission to the Museum and its fantastic collection of Western art and artifacts. The museum is open until 5:00.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is marking 50 years in existence this summer and for half of those years it has played host to this award-winning festival. Memorial Day weekend in OKC just isn't complete without a visit to both.