Red Fern star coming to Tahlequah for Red Fern Festival

Apr. 23—Stewart Petersen, who starred as 12-year-old Billy Coleman in the original movie "Where the Red Fern Grows," is expected to be in Tahlequah for the upcoming Red Fern Festival.

Petersen is scheduled for several events, beginning with Thursday, April 25, at the showing of the 1974 version of the film. The movie is at 6:30 p.m. at the NSU Playhouse. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the door for $10.

There will be a question-and-answer session after the movie with Petersen.

On Friday, April 26 at 5 p.m., Petersen will be at "Too Fond of Books" for an autograph session. The book the movie is based on by Wilson Rawls will be available for sale for those who want Petersen to autograph it.

Registration for the car show on Water Street, which is hosted by 5C's Car Club, starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 27. Petersen is judging the show.

Designated parking for the festival is on the Northeastern State University campus — one lot behind Wilson Hall, another behind the library, and a third on the lot with the NSU Biology Department greenhouse.

A shuttle service will run three buses on Friday and four on Saturday. The route is continuous and people can catch it at the lot they choose to park and at the festival for a ride back to their car.

Besides starring in "Where the Red Fern Grows," Petersen acted in "The First Vision" in 1976 and "Seven Alone" in 1974.

Rain is forecast for the weekend, but Kelten Weaver, marketing coordinator for Tahlequah Main Street Association, said it won't stop the festival unless it is severe, as stated in the weather disclaimer on the website.