I remember vividly the first time we landed at Tulsa International Airport in 2014. We got off the plane, saw the local signs, and could actually check-in to the airport on Facebook using location services. It just got all kinds of real! We actually made it!
With Hanson Day 2016 now less than a month away, I thought it was time to reflect on past experiences, provide suggestions of no relation to Hanson, and (hopefully) provide helpful tips to those having first time Hanson Day jitters. Here’s Pt. 1.
Our first year at Hanson Day 2014 was extremely memorable in that everything was shiny and new! Forget diamonds. I was cool with Tulsa being my new best friend. It was my second trip post-breakup but it was the first that crossed “uncharted waters”. I’m glad that my sister was able and 100% willing to accompany me on my first soul searching adventures. It has made Hanson Day so much more important to me in that it is a bonding trip for us to experience the unknown yet something we both love, together. However, we didn’t bond with much of anyone else the first year which I semi-regret. We enjoyed our party of two and just mostly observing, but I could see large groups of fans all mingling like they’ve known each other forever. I made small talk with people in line, giggled with girls at the lectures when Momma Hanson told us where to find more chairs (since there initially wasn’t enough), but that was the extent of it. Part of this was because I had just started branching out more in the community through the Hanson.net forums and the Hanson phone app. And with just recently reactivating my old Hanson.net membership, it was starting over from scratch there too.
For our second year of Tulsa Travels during Hanson Day 2015, I had already branched out, meeting people in the fan community online for over a year. It was by this means that I met most of the ladies who I collaborated with on our MOEY Group Lip Sync submission. We called ourselves The Madelines. We had made a video together, living all over the country, and most of us having never met in person. How awesome is that? By the time Hanson Day 2015 came around, I recognized fans on the street and in event lines. I was even more giddy when they recognized me first. These building relationships came in handy the first day back in Tulsa when my map was telling me that Guthrie Green was by the Brady Theater, and we were a few blocks lost. I called up one of my fellow Madelines, feeling like an idiot, and she pointed me in the right direction. Her help got us into the registration line right before closing. Lifesaver.
The Hanson community is big but small at the same time. I suggest interacting on the Hanson.net forums, join the Hanson Day Facebook page (someone may need to send you an invite), and say hi on the app (which appears to fluctuate in popularity). Especially if you don’t know many people attending, the community is overall so welcoming that you’ll feel like you know people already when walking alongside them in Tulsa.
I like my favorites when traveling to places I’ve been to before, but I prefer limiting to a couple favorites and then incorporating new menus.
When we arrived in Tulsa the first year, it was already after 7pm on a Thursday. By the time we got to the hotel, it was dark, Hanson Day registration had closed, the store wasn’t open, and with it being a weekday, many places were closed or were close to it. After taking horribly dark pictures at 3CG (How could we not!?!? It’s the first time seeing Hanson sacred ground), the only place that looked semi lively was The Tavern. It is located between The Fairfield Inn and 3CG Records. I am a cheese lover, so I enjoyed the Angry Mac N Cheese. Cheesy goodness with cayenne pepper. My sister didn’t love it. The desserts were delicious – bread pudding and pineapple upside down cake. Those both got our recommendations. I’ll admit that I was nerd and totally fan-girled when I read a local article the next day, showing Hanson in a photo sitting near where we did at the Tavern. Menu:
To me hands down my favorite complimentary hotel breakfast is at the Embassy Suites near the San Francisco airport. That probably doesn’t help you much here, but my close second favorite is at the Fairfield Inn in Tulsa. Eggs, bacon, sausage, pastries, toast, cereal, coffee, juice, milk… and DIY waffles! I didn’t know how to work the waffle maker to feed myself, but luckily I have an awesome sister who would make both our waffles for us. Thanks, sis! For the record, the waffle maker looks easy enough; totally user error. I’ll miss you this year, waffles!!
After attending Hanson Day only two years, it feel weird to say that Caz’s Chowhouse is a place we always go to every year, but since we are fully planning on going this year, I think it’s safe enough. We always enjoy Caz’s outside of fan club dinner hours, and I think one would appreciate it a little more during this time. Their menu overall looks like a million calories of the best comfort food, so I never liked the thought of paying more money for an entrée and my menu options being limited. To each their own. In the past we’ve ordered burgers, chicken and waffles (first timer!), chicken and biscuits, and an assortment of desserts. This is also where I tried my first Mmmhops which is like a rite of passage. I’m not a huge beer drinker, but I couldn’t visit Tulsa and NOT try it. My sister reminisces about the chicken and biscuits throughout the year and that’s her regular. I like to try something different every time. And this is where I actually tried fried green tomatoes for the first time. Lots of firsts! I’ve heard they’re good, but for those that know me, I think tomatoes are disgusting and make me cringe. So this is a big deal! This place was such a hit for us the first year that we went back a second time the next day… only for dessert and it was during the Street Team Leaders dinner. The fact that I inhaled 3 pieces of shared dessert and a glass a milk with the probability of Hanson walking in and right by our table speaks volumes of how much we highly rate it. If you’re trying to save some of your food budget, many of their portions you can split and eat half for lunch and half for dinner. Or you can just eat it all at once. I will never judge!
And did I mention that sometimes their menu includes Hanson sightings?
We tried Mexicali because of convenience for lunch in 2014, and I know some folks are totally going to disagree and give me side eye, but it was uneventful for us. They just weren’t the authentic tacos that we are used to eating in California. We didn’t even think to go back last year. Don’t know if it was just a fluke that day we went or if it’s because I’m comparing it to what I’m used to eating at home, but it didn’t work for us. Many others absolutely love the place, so I definitely say you should go if you like Mexican food and make your own opinion. If someone really, really convinced me, I may try them again for round 2.
The Rusty Crane was a new one for us in 2015. They did their own spin on tacos, and I loved these way more than Mexicali. I recommend the Dr. Don’s. They also had a cute deck-vibe patio area that we enjoyed while eating dinner before the Saturday concert… until it started raining. It’s within walking distance of Guthrie green, just further than those right by the studio.
If you make your way over to the Blue Dome district, we highly recommend Fassler Hall if you are up for a German spin, but keep in mind that it turns into a loud, noisy bar later at night. I loved the Kraut Burger. Sauer kraut and Gouda, please! Nom, nom, nom. My sister and I shared the potato pancakes served with apple sauce. We just talked about how good these were earlier this week. Menu:
I hope that if you walk over to Blue Dome it means you’re stopping by the Blue Dome Art Festival which happens to be the same weekend as Hanson Day. More on that in the next post. If you do stop by though, they have an assortment of food trucks. I love trying local food trucks in my hometown, and we thought this gave us opportunity to try local eateries for lunch that don’t have the brick and mortar. And we topped it off at the gelato truck, yum!
Next time, let’s talk about exploring and local sights.