Follow the rhythmic sound of drums this weekend to find a rich celebration of Yuma's American Indian heritage.
The Strong Heart Native Society's 24th annual Pow-Wow will honor that heritage through food, dance, song and art today through Sunday. The venue will be the football field at San Pasqual High School, 676 Baseline Road, in Winterhaven, Calif.
The event in past years has drawn crowds of as many as 5,000 people.
Daily admission will be $5 for adults, $2 for students in grades seven through twelve, and $1 for children in grades four through six. Weekend passes are $8 for both students and adults.
Spectators will be allowed to take photographs if permission is given. Those attending the Pow-Wow are asked to not touch participants' decorative costumes. Consumption of alcohol is also prohibited on the school grounds.
Organizers bill the Pow-Wow as "America's most fascinating cultural event."
A perennial highlight of the celebration are the colorful native dances, done in the traditional costume. Dances will include the ribbon dance, fancy shawl dance and the gourd dance.
Tribes represented by performers won't stop at local Quechan and Cocopah dancers and singers. Performers from tribes throughout North America are expected in join in the celebration.
Another popular aspect of the Pow-Wow is its Indian Traders Market, which runs all three days. The market will feature turquoise jewelry, native arts and crafts, raffles and bead work. A unique aspect of the market is that prices are not set in stone and bartering is encouraged. Tribes represented by the artisans will include the Navajo and Pueblo.
Native foods will be offered as well, ranging from fry bread to hamburgers and hot dogs. All proceeds will go toward the Strong Heart Native Society's scholarship fund.
The event kicks off today at 6 p.m., when booths will open. The traditional gourd singing and dancing will follow at 7 p.m.
Note that all times are given in Arizona - Mountain Standard - times.
Booths will open Saturday at 10 a.m., with the grand entry set for 1 p.m. A barbecue will be served from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets for the meal will be $5 for adults and students, and $4 for children ages 12 and younger.
On Sunday, the booths will open at 10 a.m. Grand entry will follow at noon.
For more information, call the high school at 760-572-0222.