LaFayette will play host to a very special event this weekend. For the first time, a Native American Pow Wow and Festival will take place in the city, bringing two days of history, culture and education to Chambers County.
The Pow Wow and Festival is coming here thanks to a partnership between the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission. It will take place on Friday, Oct. 17 and Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Chambers County Agricultural Park.
The event will feature Native American living history, crafts and skills demonstrations, music, story telling, competition dancing, traditional foods and craftsmen and artisan vendors.
The Pow Wow and Festival will open on Friday as an educational event for local school children from 8 am CST until 2 pm. From 5 pm to 8 pm on Friday and from 10 am until 6 pm Saturday, the festivities will be open to the general public.
Some highlights of the Pow Wow and Festival include an “East meets West” display that offers a comparison of Eastern Woodland Indians and Western Tribes demonstrating primitive lifestyles of the 1800s. It will include displays of full encampments of both peoples as well as live staged performances. “East meets West” will take place on Friday at 6:45 pm and at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Saturday.
Native American dancing activities will be featured throughout the weekend. The “First Dance” will take place at 6:10 pm on Friday and at 10:30 am on Saturday, featuring native dancers only. At 6:20 pm on Friday and at 10:50 am on Saturday, the “Social Dance” will begin, in which everyone is invited to take part in a dance circle led by native dancers. The native dancers will assist those that desire to learn the proper steps.
Saturday afternoon starting at 1:10 pm, the first “Competition Dance” will take place. This involves registered dancers competing for recognition of their skill in specific dance categories in appropriate Native American regalia. The “Competition Dance” will take place at 3:00 pm and at 5:00 pm on Saturday.
In several of the dance competitions “Luck of the Draw” dances will be held for a chance to win prize money. Winners will be determined by a blind draw. For both the “Luck of the Draw” and “Competition Dances”, participants must dress in full Native American regalia in order to be eligible for prize money.
Throughout the weekend several demonstrator displays will be on site. These will show how Native Americans made tools, musical instruments, primitive weapons and other necessities of life. There will be demonstrators showing and explaining Native American skills and techniques such as flint knapping and flute playing.
The festival will feature several stage performances, as well as drum circles and an abundance of Native American foods to sample and purchase. Several Native American vendors will also be on hand offering authentic Native American products.
Big crowds are expected for both days and officials from the Chambers of Commerce, Indian Affairs Commission and City of LaFayette have expressed their excitement about the weekend. A similar event held annually in Hamilton, Georgia typically draws about 6,000 people.