Dressed from head to toe in colorful regalia, Native-Indian dancers, drummers and singers representing more than half a dozen tribes present peak performances while competing for $15,000 in prize money at the 33rd annual Mt. Juliet Pow Wow on Sept. 27-28 at Mundy Memorial Park in Mt. Juliet.
"Pow Wow guests will see some authentic Native-American culture and experience some of the dance styles, the singing and drumming and traditions of Native Americans," said Event Organizer Cindy Yahola. "They will enjoy tasting Native-American foods and discovered unique arts and crafts items."
The participants hail from more than 10 states and Canada and will include members from such tribes as the Cherokee, Creek, Sioux, Kiowa, Osage, Comanche, Narragansett and Oneida.
"People really love to watch the men's fancy dance because it is real exciting and fast paced," Yahola said, noting 7,500 attended last year's event. "They do lots of tricks and fancy moves, jumps and flips while staying in time with the music. People also enjoy seeing the hoop dancers."
The number of competitors varies from year to year, but in 2013, more than 100 dancers entered. The singers vie in groups and perform around a big drum as at least five drummers accompany them.
The event begins at noon, Saturday, Sept. 27, with a grand entry and a parade of all the dancers behind the color guard and flags. After a brief opening ceremony and a few rounds of intertribal dancing, the competition kicks off. After a dinner break at 4:30 p.m., the competition renews at 6 p.m. The event revives at 1 p.m. Sunday, and winners are announced in late afternoon.
Between the three rounds of competition, breaks will offer intertribal dancing as spectators can join in the action. The crowds also will enjoy hooping dancing and Apache Crown Dancer, a ceremonial dance.
Native-American foods to be sampled include corn soup, buffalo burgers, fry bread and Indian tacos, while Indian jewelry, pottery, paintings, handmade flutes and other items will be available for purchase.
Yahola took the reins to the Pow Wow 12 years ago after her father and Pow Wow founder Don Yahola died.
"I do this to honor my father, but I also do this as a way to educate the public in Native-American culture and to help dispel the stereotypes that people have of Native Americans and just to help people know that we're still here," Cindy said.
Her dad, a Muscogee Creek born in Wetumka, Okla., attended Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, where his father and uncle studied at Cumberland University Law School.
Serving as the head staff of this year's Pow Wow are master of ceremonies Robert Daughtry of Jay, Okla.; arena director Jimmy Reedy of McMinnville, head judge Gabe Bullock of Livingston, Texas; and host drum group Rattlesnake Mountain of Cherokee, N.C.
Gates open at 10:30 a.m. both days at Mundy Memorial Park in Mt. Juliet, just off Interstate 40. Admission is free for ages 5 and younger; $4 for ages 6-12; and $7 for ages 13 and older.
For more information, contact Cindy Yahola at 615-443-1537 or go online to mtjulietpowwow.com.
Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.