The 47th Annual Poarch Creek Indian Thanksgiving Pow Wow will take place this Thursday and Friday, November 23 and 24, at the Poarch Creek Indian Reservation, 6477 Jack Springs Road, near Atmore.
The public is invited to enjoy a brilliant display of authentic Native American dress and exhibition dancing by tribes from throughout the country.
Performances of ancestral dancers in authentic dress are at the core of the festival, during which American Indian music and dance shows continue throughout the two days. These exhibitions help visitors understand the meaning of the dances, and the significance of the dancers’ costumes and accessories.
Competition dancing in four age categories, each with a male and female division, is also a large part of the Pow Wow, as are drumming competitions.
Cash prizes ranging from $200 to $12,000 will be awarded to first-place winners, while second- and third-place finishers will also earn a significant cash prize. In all, $92,000 in prize money will be awarded.
Another festival highlight is the crowning of the Poarch Creek Indian Princesses, which begins at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Visitors will be able to shop from numerous booths for crafts, quilts, and other keepsakes.
Food is also a big part of each year’s Pow Wow. Attendees may feast on barbecue, buffalo burgers and corn roasted over oak wood fires on open pit grills. Community churches join in the festivities each year by providing traditional turkey and dressing dinners, along with ham and fried chicken plates. Other choices abound for smaller appetites.
The Thanksgiving Pow Wow was established in 1971 as a homecoming for tribal members and has blossomed into a traditional gathering for not only the 20 or so tribal nations represented during the annual dance competition, but also for non-Indian individuals and families.
More than 10,000 people are expected to attend Thursday’s activities, and another 5,000 to 6,000 are expected at the Friday event that features an afternoon of dance and drum competitions.
Gates open and festivities begin at 10 a.m. each day and continue until time for the grand entries. Thursday’s Grand Entry is scheduled for 1 p.m. and Friday’s Grand Entry set for 12 p.m.
Admission is $5 per person for those age 11 years and older. Children 10 and under will be admitted without charge, and dancers and singers must pay the general admission price as their registration fee.
No pets, drugs, alcohol, weapons or ice chests will be allowed.
There will also be a 5K Turkey Trot, for which registration will begin at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The run will start at 7 a.m. from the Buford L. Rolin Health Department. For more information on the race, call 251-368-9136, extension 2253, on Thanksgiving morning.