Cheese and Wine Festival 

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39th Annual Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival Features Something for Everyone Over Two Day Run

Native American Dancers and Drummers, Live Music Fest, Rat Race, Downtown
Parade and of Course 
Watonga Cheese and Wine Highlight 2015 Festival

WATONGA, Okla. (September 28, 2015) – Yes, it is truly the days of wine and cheeses, and a little of everything else, as Watonga, the city just west of the state capitol hosts the Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival (WCWF) for the 39th time, October 9th and 10th.

Downtown Watonga is hosting its 39th consecutive festival, with a new and exciting lineup to compliment the traditional cheese-fest, and promising a good time be had by all.

The two-day festival also features 2015 Ms. Indian Oklahoma Carmen “ Pretty Horses” Sankey, Native American dance and drum troops concluding with a benefit
dance-off, the 35th annual Great Rat Race featuring a fun run, and 5 and 10K competitive running events, a parade, live music, crafts, an art show, a quilt show, a plethora of food and beverage options, wine tastings, and of course the course that started it all – cheese. A wide-range of cheese-related activities, including tastings and cooking contests throughout downtown highlight the tasty coagulate that started it all.

And as has become tradition at the WCWF, the annual OU-Texas football game will be shown via big screens throughout the festival grounds, allowing you to enjoy your grilled Bevo with a nice slab of Watonga’s finest!
“This is a small town festival that was started to celebrate our namesake cheese, and ended up being a pretty cool deal in this part of the state,” said Sharon Queenie WCWF coordinator. “Our goal is to re-energize the festival and share two days of small town fun, entertainment, culture, service, and cheese with everyone from Watonga to wherever.”

“To see thousands of people having a great time in downtown Watonga is a sight to behold each year,” added Queenie.

Admission is $5. $10 wristbands get you into all tastings.

About an hour-and-15-minute drive from Oklahoma City, the Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival has something for everyone over its two-day run. So come and smell the wine and cheeses.

About the Parade
A parade down Main Street featuring “all things Watonga” kicks off the festival each year to the delight of the crowd gathered on both sides of the street along the parade route.
The 2015 Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival Grand Marshall is Carmen “Pretty Horse” Sankey. The reigning 2015 Miss Indian Oklahoma, she is a local Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal member.

About the Native American Dancers
Beautifully detailed regalia, intricate beading and spectacular dancing and drumming from several tribes dance and drum troupes highlight the entertainment for this year’s festival.

Gathering of Cultures Benefit Dance One of Watonga’s traditional favorite beneficiaries is the Children’s Cancer Camp that offers a fun and exciting weekend away from hospitals for children with life threatening illnesses. The camp offers children and their families a weekend full of fishing, boating, camping, storytelling and more in the great outdoors.

– The one-of-a-kind benefit dance will be at the Cheyenne & Arapaho Multi-Purpose Building on Saturday, Oct. 10.

About the Great Rat Race
The 35th Annual Great Rat Race will commence on Saturday, October 10th as part of the Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival. Featuring competitive 5, and 10K runs, the Great Rat Race is known for its straight, flat course which is ideal for posting fast qualifying times. The Rat Race also features a 1K fun run, and very cool rat inspired t-shirts and medals.

About Race the Rail
The Sixth Annual Race the Rail, a 32-mile bicycle race against the AT&L Railroad locomotive, takes riders from Watonga to Geary and back. Race the Rail is believed to be one of only two, man-on-bike racing train events in the country. Any riders who beat the train receive a unique “piece of track” trophy. The 2014 event featured over 250 riders.

About the Art Show
Under a new partnership with Southwest Oklahoma State University, art professor E.K. Jeong will preside over the art show. Seven categories will be featured with winners in each category vying for the $300 “Best of Show,” $150 first place and $100 second place prizes.
A community arts project will also be completed during the festival. Any, and all are invited to participate.

About the Music
The two-day live music fest will feature bands from Box talent performing throughout the festival. Bands scheduled at press time include: Bread and Butter Band; Dante & the Hawks; Ali Harter and the 100 Bones Band. More bands and stage times will be announced later.
About the Wine
The competition is for any Oklahoma winery, and includes both Oklahoma wines and any wine produced by an Oklahoma winery. For 2015, 11 Oklahoma wineries entered 60 wines for judging. Wines were evaluated through sensory judging and lab judging. Professional and festival patrons alike will vote for their favorite wines.
About the Cheese
For 38 years they’ve been coming for the cheese. If you don’t know why, then it’s time you got to Watonga on the second Saturday in October.  Cheese is the reason for the season, so for all things cheese, including tasting and voting on your favorite, this is your place.

About the Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival
The Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival was founded as the Watonga Cheese Festival in 1976 to showcase the northwest Oklahoma town’s cheese industry. Although the cheese factory closed their Watonga location in 2007, the original recipe cheeses are still sold in Watonga. However, the festival thrives with great family entertainment, fine art shows, shopping, biking and running events, traditional cheese tasting and cooking contests and now the wine festival competition and tastings.
The 2015 Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival will be held 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 9-10 on Main Street and at the Watonga Armory in downtown Watonga.
Cost: Admission to the festival is $5. Wrist bands ($10) are needed to get into most of the attractions including the vendor tent, armory vendors, cheese tasting, art show, fiber arts show, quilt show and wine tasting.

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