IDABEL, Okla. - Acrofest 2021 will happen Saturday, giving young and old a chance to celebrate the state's most famous dinosaur residing here in McCurtain County.
Acrocanthosaurus atokensis has called Museum of the Red River home for years. This free celebration of that dynamite dinosaur runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, including dino paintings, story time, birthday cake, a children's program presented by Joseph O'Neil of the Dallas Paleontological Society, an adult program presented by Dr. Holly Woodward of Oklahoma State University and more. Dinosaur movies will play all day, along with crafts, balloon twisting and face painting.
Henry Moy, the Quintus H. Herron Director at Museum of the Red River, says this annual event celebrates the naming of Acrocanthosaurus as the Oklahoma state dinosaur.
"That was something we and our local legislators kind of pushed through," Moy said. It's an all-day festival, he said, with hands-on activities for children - "face painting so they can look like dinosaurs."
The representative from the Dallas Paleontological Society will bring fossils for attendees to see and hold. Woodward's lecture will discuss T. Rex as a teenager.
"We'll have birthday cake for everybody, barbecue in the parking lot of people if people want to buy lunch. There's lots of other activities and things. People should come. It's for adults and kids," Moy said.
A cast skeleton of Acrocanthosaurus stands tall and mighty in the museum with nearby exhibit materials that explain the dinosaur in relation to the Mesozoic era.
According to the MoRR website, Acro, as it's called, lived roughly 110 million to 125 million years ago, and the riginal fossil discovered in McCurtain County was the most complete of its kind. Amateur paleontologists discovered it in 1983 roughly 20 miles from the museum site.
Now, years later, we can still celebrate its amazing appearance.
(Admission is free. Museum of the River is located at 812 E. Lincoln Road in Idabel, Oklahoma. More info: MuseumoftheRedRiver.org or 580-286-3616.)