Tahlequah is home to activities, volunteering, entertainment |

From playing or listening to music and enjoying activities on the area’s lakes and rivers, to volunteering and attending the multitude of events held downtown and at sites in the area, there are endless ways to enjoy Tahlequah and the surrounding area.

Shop for vegetables, honey, and birdhouses at the Tahlequah Farmers’ Market; play a concert on the Illinois River or at a local club or restaurant; walks or jaunts through a hiking and biking trail – the recreational possibilities are endless.

Tahlequah offers something for everyone. Local musicians play in a number of venues throughout the year, from a bar to a tank operator. They play indoors and outdoors, depending on the weather. Local artists play country and rock ‘n’ roll, as well as Red Dirt, reggae, gospel and jazz, topped off with the annual Jazz Fest in the spring.

In the summer, the River City Players – which brings together professionals and students – offer exceptional music and dance performances. Northeastern State University also offers live theater through the Theater Department and the Sequoyah Institute.

River City principal and teacher Robyn Pursley said the most important thing for people to know about their activities is that everything is open to the public and all drama and Sequoyah Institute productions are free to students at the USN. They offer a children’s theater production each season.

“For RCP, this season we present ‘Vinyl Classics: Country and Rock ‘n’ Roll.’ What people should know about RCP is that it’s been an NSU tradition since 1983, and thousands of customers join us every summer from all over the country. We have artists on stage from all over the state and the country and we have a live band on stage at every show,” Pursley said.

The shows run from June 16 to July 23, Thursday to Saturday. The box office number is 919-444-4500 or tickets are on sale online at goriverhawkstickets.com.

Various art courses are offered throughout the year by the Cherokee Art Center, Tahlequah Arts Council, Continuing Education at NSU, and Tahlequah Creates.

A plethora of volunteer opportunities are available for those looking to make a difference, from fun to serious. Most volunteers will agree that they get more than they ever imagined by giving back and that they often learn new skills or hobbies.

The CARE Pantry schedules volunteers about once a month to help stock shelves or assist customers. Habitat for Humanity builds homes to help people, including a Women Build project. Like most volunteer groups, they will train volunteers who may start with little building skills and teach whatever they want to learn.

Linda Cheatham, executive director of Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity since July 2009, said Habitat’s vision is that everyone deserves decent, affordable housing.

“In Cherokee County, one in six people spend more than half of their income on housing, leaving little left over for food, medicine and utilities,” Cheatham said.

To qualify for an affordable Habitat home, the applicant must have a credit score of 640 or higher, a steady job to pay off a mortgage, be willing to partner with Habitat to complete sweat equity, and not be a registered sex offender.

Founded in 1990, TAHFH is currently building House 31. By building with volunteers under the supervision of a construction supervisor, the cost is greatly reduced. The selected and qualified owner pays only the cost and not the market value.

To become a volunteer, go to the site, www.tahlequahhabitat.org and register to work. No skill or experience is necessary. To generate funds for building homes, TAHFH has opened two ReStores that accept donations from the public and then sell these items at low prices. The ReStore Home Improvement store is located at 17165 W. Mud Valley Road and the ReStore Rack Clothing store is located at 198 W. First St.

Help In Crisis is a non-profit organization that annually sponsors the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser where local men put on their stiletto heels and literally walk a mile. Help In Crisis provides support to people experiencing domestic violence, and its goal is to break the cycle of violence for victims and their children through transformational care that aims to educate and empower, with a vision of a community where peace prevails.

Brad Eubanks has just participated in his 12th year of participation in Walk A Mile.

“It’s super important to a lot of us, especially me personally. When I first heard about this, the first thing I thought of was the former family members: my mother, anyone who has experienced any type of domestic violence. And then I became a dad, then I became a dad again – two girls,” he said.

Court-appointed special advocates give a voice to children who have been separated from their families by the justice system, through no fault of their own, in hopes of bringing them home, if deemed safe. For more information on training, contact Jo Prout at 918-456-8788.

The Tahlequah Arts Council – Cherokee County Arts and Humanities Coalition Inc. – promotes regional arts and artists and strives to enhance economic development and community development through the arts. It hosts arts events – art exhibitions like the traditional Tahlequonia, courses and the Leadership Arts Youth Summer Camp, Arts Under the Stars, on the second Sunday with two speakers with a focus on history and organizations at nonprofit, and the annual Winter Concert on the first Sunday in December. The group also recognizes arts volunteers and arts supporters who make a difference in the community through an annual event.

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