GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - This weekend, Arena D of the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales will be jumping with the sounds of drums, dancing feet, and oohing and ahhing from the crowd. It's the 50th Annual Fall Pow-Wow of the Louisiana Indian Heritage Association.
You are invited to experience the pageantry, the bustling marketplace, and the fragr ant smell of Indian frybread this weekend, November 18 and 19.
Ginny Richard, who's grown up playing a part in the pow-wows, says, "A pow-wow combines the down home feeling of a family reunion with the excitement of a cultural festival."
One of the very first things they will do Saturday at noon, is perform the traditional Gourd Dance. "From the solemn gourd dancing to bless the circle prior to grand entry to the intense thrill of competition songs, the drum will speak to you. You'll be captivated as all of the dancers fill the circle, with each style of dance carrying its own story and meaning. Dancers learn to represent their dance's story very young and have the responsibility of educating the others about and carrying those traditions into the next generation," said Richard.
These events can really excite children, and they can join in the fun. "Children are often swept away with joy and want to join in the fun," Richard said. "You'll see their little heads bobbing as they jump up and down with the drum. There are special opportunities throughout the weekend for the audience to enter the circle and dance with us. No experience is required! We'll show you what to do!"
Holiday shopping can also be done at the pow-wow. "Craft vendors of various tribal backgrounds will be selling everything from bead work and jewelry to clothing and regalia items like shawls. We will also have three silent auction rounds. Some of the featured items include original artwork and passes to the Audubon Nature Institute's attractions. In addition, we will be raffling off two very beautiful blankets. Tanger Outlets has donated gift bags with coupons for the first 500 people," Richard said.
The convenient distance means it is not difficult too drive in and be home in time for dinner. The pow-wow is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 am. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. This is an alcohol and drug free event. No ice chests are allowed. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. There is an admission fee of $5 for adults and $2 for children over 12. Kids under 12 and veterans/military/first-responders get in free.
For more pictures, view the slideshow from last year's pow-wow to see the colorful traditional garb.