Calf Fry Festival

Vinita Area Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 882         Vinita, OK  74301

Always the 2nd Week of September


Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II of England headed the list of suggested judges for the World's Largest Fry Festival and Cook-Off in Vinita, OK last year.  Who will it be this year?  This is part of the annual rituals surrounding Vinita's celebration of it's agricultural heritage.  Annually, the local organizers invite the famous and infamous to this small town in Northeastern Oklahoma and, annually, they don't show up.

But maybe that’s changing.  With the festival going into its 19th year, it’s gained quite a bit of notariety.  Some people now call and request to be a judge, such as Oklahoma State Attorney General Drew Edmondson.  The Men’s Journal Magazine (Sept.. 1998 issue) did story on fun events around the country and the Calf Fry Festival was listed as the event for Oklahoma, stating calf fries were Oklahoma’s version of Viagra.

"We started inviting famous and infamous judges a few years ago and we've had a lot of fun, inviting celebrities and well-known people to come judge our Calf Fry Cook-Off," said Vinita Area Chamber of Commerce Director Elizabeth Nottingham.  "The biggest part of the fun has been finding a tasteful way to explain what calf fries are and convincing them this isn't a joke."

Among the list of celebrity no-shows are the names of Jay Leno, David Letterman, whose offices called to check the event out, and Oprah Winfrey, whose staff to didn't believe the event was real and then politiely declined on the spot.  Rejection by policitcal notables is certainly bipartisan, President Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore both sent their regrets due to other commitments, but Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh simply ignored their invitations.

 “Those who have accepted our invitation to participate in this celebration of cowboy culture in the past include President Clinton’s step father, Miss Oklahoma, radio personalities and various elected officials.  Although many of invitations to judge are turned down or ignored, we are hoping that after repeated requests some nationally famous people will decide that we aren’t giving up and will agree to be a judge” said Ms. Nottingham

This year, the Vinita Chamber is inviting the public to help find potential judges.  Essentially, if you can find their address the organizers will invite them to be a judge.  If they decline, they'll added to the list of illustrious decliners.  If they accept, you can be their host during the visit.

The only rule is that the nominee be someone very well known nationally, internationally, or at least regionally .  Call or mail in nominees and addresses to the Vinita Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 882, Vinita, Ok 74301 and (918) 256-7133.


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