By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Special Interest | Issue: October 2011
Hazel, Carmen and Leslie at the Nut House.
October ushers in a special season in Rogers County, as it is time for the pecan harvest. All up and down the Verdigris River valley, pecan trees have brought their fruit to maturity, making this a busy time of year for the Nut House, located on Highway 66 between Claremore and Catoosa. It’s also a perfect time for the Nut House to host its annual Route 66 Pecan and Fun Fest on October 22.
“This event has grown every year,” says Hazel Ward, owner of the Nut House. “We cannot give a true head count because we don’t count how many people come in—but it’s a bunch!”
As always, the event promises a day of fun and enjoyment for the whole family. There is something for everyone, with muscle and drag cars on display for Dad, indoor and outdoor craft booths for Mom, and several fun activities for the kids, like inflatables, face painting and pumpkin painting. A magician balloon artist will perform, and for the first time, a costume contest will be held. “This contest will give everyone a chance to get that costume ready in advance for Halloween and practice putting it on,” Hazel points out. “It will be a lot of fun and is open to all age groups.” Throughout the day will be hourly drawings for prizes.
Musical entertainment will be provided by country and western artists Pake McEntire, brother of Reba McEntire, and Stephanie Anne, both from Colgate, Oklahoma. While you listen to music and wander through the festive atmosphere of the Nut House, you might want to visit the concession stand, where the Sequoyah High School Marching Band will be selling burgers and hot dogs. The Nut House’s deli will also be open with sandwiches and sweet treats. And as always, you can find a great snack or treat of any variety on the Nut House shelves—bagged nuts, flavored cheeses, sweet popcorn, beef jerky, and much more.
It’s not too early to start thinking of holiday gifts, and the Route 66 Pecan and Fun Fest hosts its craft fair to help you do just that. Throughout the fair, you can find almost anything to stash away for the stocking season—pens, wine stoppers, key chains, flags, towels, potholders, jewelry, Scentsy products, totes and wallets. For those who want to display and sell their handiwork, booth signups are open through October 6.
The Route 66 Pecan and Fun Fest is a tradition within a tradition. The Nut House itself is a Rogers County landmark since 1979, when the log cabin that had been home to a man who cracked pecans was moved to its present location. Metal buildings were added to expand the operation, and Hazel points out that all the visible wood in the rafters and walls is pecan wood. The Nut House has grown from a pecan cracking and selling operation to a store filled with nuts and specialty food items, and is now home to a deli as well. The Nut House deli serves great sandwiches made only with Boar’s Head meats, Amish cheeses, and select condiments personally tasted by Hazel and staff. Hazel reports that the deli is a lunch spot for many repeat customers. “We offer a nice, relaxed, quiet atmosphere where people can come in and have a great meal and talk or do business,” she says.
Plan to make October 22 a day to remember for your whole family and visit the Route 66 Pecan and Fun Fest at the Nut House. Admission is free.