Will Rogers Memorial Museum

Will Rogers was born Nov. 4, 1879. In his lifetime, Rogers became beloved across the country for his wit and wisdom. Every November, the city of Claremore celebrates “The Cowboy Philosopher” with Will Rogers Days. The Will Rogers Memorial Museum hosts a Motion Picture Festival, which runs Oct. 30-Nov. 2 (with awards named after the Rogers ranch brand, the Dog Iron), and other events throughout the city celebrate both Rogers and the city’s cultural heritage.

For a great selfie, check out the alley west of North Missouri Avenue, across from the Main Street Tavern. A large, colorful mural by local artist John Hammer celebrates Rogers, astronaut Stuart Roosa and Route 66.

On Nov. 2, the J. M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum will have a High Noon Shootout. That afternoon, a parade will march down Will Rogers Boulevard to Gazebo Park for the birthday festival.

On the same day, Rogers State University hosts a Native American Heritage Festival. Here, you can experience the art of storytelling, make-and-take craft demonstrations, traditional dances and singing, and more.

If you’re already in a holiday mood, drive up to Claremore on the weekend before Thanksgiving (Nov. 22-23) for the Victorian-era Dickens on the Boulevard event. Both nights feature live entertainment, late-night shopping, chuckwagon dining, street dances and visits with Santa. Be sure to check out Downtown Claremore’s website,, for more details and specifics regarding tour times and costs. 

The Nut House, 26677 S. Route 66, near Verdigris, is a good place to stop on the way if you’re looking for local, unique gifts. The shop operates out of a log cabin that was originally where the orchard’s pecans were cracked. You can still pick up fresh pecans here, as well as fudge, Christmas ornaments and local jams.

By late November, the Blue Whale of Catoosa, 2600 Route 66, will be shining brightly throughout the night. Many people in northeast Oklahoma have stopped to visit the roadside attraction on Route 66 during the day, but in the holiday season Blue is lit with Christmas lights at night. It makes for a quirky, festive stop on the way home.

Rhys Martin is a photographer and author from Tulsa. He also serves as the President of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association. Facebook: Cloudless Lens

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