The 2nd Annual American Indian Festival, July 14-15 at Century II in Wichita will have even more for visitors to see and do while learning about and tasting Native American culture. While the centerpiece of the event is the competition pow wow, this is “much more than a pow wow,” according to Co-Chair Lynn Stumblingbear.
Dancers from across the nation will be coming to compete in the dances on Saturday and Sunday, and with all vendor booths sold out, there will be more Native arts and crafts for visitors to shop. A youth art show, hands-on learning opportunities for youth and adults, featured artist Brent Greenwood, and the festive atmosphere of a traditional Native gathering make the Festival a unique event for Wichitans to enjoy.
“This is an event the whole community is getting behind,” said Stumblingbear. “People have been great in planning this year’s Festival–we are just in awe of the people who want to help.”
A Preview Party will be held Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m. with artist Greenwood, that is also a fund raiser for the Mid-America All Indian Center (MAAIC). Tickets can be purchased through the MAAIC by calling 316-350-3340.
“We are so fortunate to have Brent this year,” said Stumblingbear. “He was one of 11 U.S. Native artists invited to the Paris Native American Indian Art Salon. Our featured artist last year, Dana Tiger, was also one of the artists.”
Central to the Festival is the competition pow wow. With increased prize money this year, more dancers are registered to compete in the men’s and women’s categories. This year’s Head Man Dancer is Jerry Perdasofpy, Head Lady Dancer is Kecia Two-Hatchett, and the Head Singer is Howard Cozad. As an intertribal pow wow, dancers in reglia representing many tribes will be competing.
Stumblingbear noted that many of last year’s vendors were leaving a check for a booth at the 2012 Festival as they were packing up. With all the booths sold out, that means more artists, jewelry, pottery, and Native fine arts and crafts will be available for purchase.
The Festival brings the culture, spirit and goods of the Southwest to the center of Wichita for a grand weekend of celebration and shopping. There will also be more food vendors, so plan to have lunch or dinner when you attend.
Doors open at 10 a.m. both days, with the Grand Entry for dancers at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The event wraps up at 10 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission is only $5 for adults, $8 for a 2-day pass; $4 for seniors 55+ and active military; $3 for youth 6-16 and children under 6 are free.
“We invite the whole community to come out and share in this Festival with us,” Stumblingbear said. “It has taken on an evolution of its own and we are so grateful to all who are helping it grow, from the MAAIC board to our volunteers and our sponsors.”