Tahlequah, Oklahoma is the Cherokee County capitol and the Cherokee Nation capitol. It is located along the Illinois River and just a short distance from Lake Tenkiller. Among an ever growing list of annual events is the Red Fern Festival, celebrated annually in the spring in downtown Tahlequah. The city hosts a diverse group of national, regional, and local shops and restaurants, and the main campus of Northeastern State University. The Cherokee Nation is the city's largest employer. Additionally, Tahlequah features two hospitals and an urgent care center. The population is around 16,496, which does not include the residents of the 8 surrounding communities within a 3 mile radius. Those communities expand the Tahlequah area's available workforce. Tahlequah is 75 miles (Approx. 1 hour drive via toll road) from the Tulsa metro area.