The Blue Dome Arts Festival is an annual community event that focuses on promoting local artists, handcrafters and performers and has become a spring tradition for families across our great state. What began in 2004 as a small gathering to showcase a handful of local artists has grown to become the regional event it is today, attracting over 500,000 guests just last year. Even with this incredible growth, our focus has never strayed from being loyal to who we areâ€¦ a LOCAL festival promoting LOCAL talent. Entering our 14th year, we will proudly welcome nearly 300 Oklahoma artists, 25 performers and 20 mobile chefs to showcase their talents during this three day family-friendly celebration in downtown Tulsa's historic Blue Dome District.
The Blue Dome Arts Festival began as a simple idea that started in artist Virginia Harrison's backyard with a handful of local artists who wanted a chance to showcase their work. Michael Sager, the landlord of many Blue Dome buildings at that time, offered up the streets of the Blue Dome District and a festival was born. Catering to local artists who painted or handcrafted their own art, the Blue Dome Arts Festival had a very grassroots feel to it which offered something new and fresh to both the artists and their guests. After 10 years of growth, the festival changed hands when Michael Sager sold the iconic Blue Dome Building at 2nd and Elgin to Chris and Jo Armstrong, owners of Arnie's Bar. The Armstrong's were no strangers to throwing festivals as they have been hosting the huge St. Patrick's Day party in downtown for over 10 years and had also created Eat Street Tulsa, the largest food truck festival in the state, which occurs every fall. After running the Blue Dome Arts Festival for 10 amazing years, Sager felt that it was time to "pass the torch," and the Armstrong's were very excited and honored to have been the chosen couple for this opportunity to run a festival that they had always appreciated and enjoyed themselves.
Trying to make your mark on a festival that you already love is difficult, so the changes they made were ones that represented who they were as individuals. As parents of young twin boys, they looked to increase kids activities and make sure that the festival was incredibly family friendly. Most recently, they added a PetZone that even includes the 4-legged family members. As huge supporters of all things local, they built up a big food truck food court which provides festival guests with the very best eats all while supporting small, local business on wheels. Beyond that, they loved the festival and didn't want to make a lot of changes to an event that they had always enjoyed themselves. They focused on the roots of the festival, making certain that all art must be local and handcrafted. After all, it's an arts festivalâ€¦ not a flea market. They wanted to make sure everyone in Tulsa knew that when you come to Blue Dome Arts Festival, you should feel good about any purchase you make since every penny of every dollar you spend stays in our wonderful state. For Blue Dome, it's all about supporting local art, local talent, local fun!