Annual pow-wow draws a crowd despite rainy weather

Cool temperatures and heavy rains on Friday and Saturday put a damper on the first two days of the third annual Chase City Native American Festival, limiting activities, participants and spectators. A warm and comfortable but breezy Sunday with plenty of sunshine brought the crowds out for a great family afternoon at the South Central Fairgrounds.
One sponsor said on Sunday afternoon that despite the weather, she estimated crowds for the weekend at somewhere around 500.
For years, Southside Virginia was home to a large annual Native American gathering at Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville. The event drew visitors and vendors from states along the east coast as well as representatives from most of the Native American peoples around the region.
The event was discontinued, and for years, there was no gathering in our part of the state.
Three years ago, Chase City planned the return of a Native American festival, and the event has proven popular and grown.
Despite the less than ideal start, officials considered the celebration of the culture, history and contributions that the tribes have made to our history and our area a success.
Bear and Lady Bear Brooks of Knoxville, Tenn., spent much of Sunday afternoon demonstrating life skills including wood working, bow making, cooking and more.
Bear said with a laugh, “We’ve been bouncing around from cold and rainy to warm and windy.”
The couple present life skill demonstrations at four or five events a year.
Other demonstrations were scheduled through the weekend by Melungeon, Cherokee and several others.
Also on hand for the weekend was well known Native American advocate and educator John “Blackfeather” Jefferies, Burke Lemon – Arena Director – Cherokee, Yapatoko – Host Drum, Mike Cranford – Cherokee – Head Male Dancer, Priscilla Sacra – Cherokee – Head Lady Dancer, Julia Brown Eagle Carter – Storyteller and more.