Steeped in history, Lawton offers multiple attractions, events

A truly ugly tomato and the proud farmer who grew it received the prestigious honor of ‘Ugliest Tomato’ at a recent edition of the Lawton Tomato Festival. (Courtesy picture)

LAWTON – Nestled in the southwest corner of Oklahoma, Lawton is the sixth largest city in the state with a growing population of 93,265. Home to Fort Sill, a 94,000-acre U.S. Army post built during the Indian Wars of 1869, Lawton is steeped in history, natural beauty, Native American culture, and outdoor adventure.

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is one of Lawton’s best-known attractions, with 60,000 acres of mixed grassland, ancient granite mountains, and freshwater lakes and streams, but the town is also home to museums, historical sites, casinos, outdoor activities. adventure and cultural festivals.

This year, Lawton sees the return of favorite events and even some novelties. From tomatoes to celebrations of Native American and international culture, Lawton will have a year full of festivals and events.

July 8 and 9 – Lawton Tomato Festival

The 11th annual Tomato Festival hosted by the Lawton Farmers Market will be held this year at a new location near Fourth Street. In addition to the annual tomato contest, which awards the biggest tomato, ugliest tomato, prettiest tomato, and best tomato on show, the event will also include a salsa contest sponsored by Comanche County Memorial Hospital. . New this year is a costume walk where visitors are encouraged to dress up on the theme of “tomato”. The festival includes a tomato-themed art exhibit and plenty of tomato-based treats to sample.

August 6 – Salsa Festival

In nearby Medicine Park, the annual Salsa Fest invites competitors to bring their hottest, smoothest and tastiest salsa to be judged for the annual “Winner takes all” award. The winner will not only have the title of “Best Salsa in Oklahoma”, but will also earn all entry fees for that category. Additionally, the winner of each category will also receive a $50 Small Mountain Street Taco Hot Head Shop gift certificate.

September 16 and 17 – Lawton’s Biggest Garage Sale

Back after a two-year hiatus, Lawton’s biggest garage, antiques and collectibles sale kicks off at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 16 at the Great Plains Coliseum. Vendors will be set up with thousands of items ranging from household items, antiques and collectibles, jewelry, garden items, crafts, children’s clothing and games, and more.

September 23-25 ​​– International Festival

The 43rd Lawton International Festival is a free three-day event that celebrates Lawton’s diverse culture and diverse heritage. This family-friendly festival includes multicultural experiences and performances, food trucks and vendors, children’s games and activities, live arts and crafts demonstrations, music concerts and more. The event begins with a parade of nations and an opening ceremony, kicking off a weekend of cultural appreciation.

September 30 to October 2 – The Comanche Nation Fair

Since 1991, the Comanche Nation has hosted the annual Comanche Nation Fair each fall on the east side of the Wichita Mountains at the Comanche Nation Tribal Headquarters. Filled with activities and entertainment for the whole family, this annual Native American event includes a powwow, a small music festival, Native American arts and crafts, food, bull riding and a carnival . The annual fair also includes a parade, a traditional Aboriginal hand games tournament and the singing of Comanche hymns. The public is invited to attend.

November and December – Lawton Holiday in the Park

Lawton’s Holiday in the Park light exhibit is open throughout the winter season, starting with a ’12 Days of Christmas’ parade in November. Elmer Thomas Park transforms into a holiday wonderland of lights, ornaments, cutouts and lots of holiday cheer. The winter skating rink will also open and the vacation home will serve drinks and craft treats from Viridian Coffee Co.

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