Buckskin dancers at the Red Earth Festival

Getting Ready for the Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma City

ICTMN Staff
5/17/12

More than 30,000 people are expected to converge on Oklahoma City starting on Friday, June 8, for the 26th Annual Red Earth Native American Cultural festival.  The Cox Convention Center will be the locus of some 1200 American Indian artists and dancers from the Four Corners, where one of the largest displays of Native culture in the world will take place under one roof.

Red Earth is a pow wow dance lover’s dream. In 2011, there were 28 different dancing categories, from senior adult women’s Southern to teen boy’s Straight. The dance competition at Red Earth is fierce—many dancers who are skilled enough to travel the pow wow circuit make the festival one of their premiere destinations.

“Red Earth dancers represent the elite of Native American dance, some of the most gifted and accomplished in the world,” the festival’s website states.  For attendees, the dance competition offers the sight of hundreds of dancers, each in their own distinctive tribal dress, giving what’s essentially a master class on their specific style. Perhaps the best sight of all is seeing Northern and Southern tribes dancing in the same venue. The first Grand Entry of dance competitors begins at noon on June 8 inside the Cox Convention Center Arena. Grand Entries are scheduled at noon and 7 pm Friday and Saturday, and at noon on Sunday.

The Red Earth Festival has also become a highly regarded art show, with awards handed out in 16 divisions, not including the major award distinctions—the Kathleen Everett Upshaw Award, the President’s Award, and the AT&T Grand Award Winner.  The artistic mediums on display (and being judged) include beadwork, clothing/textiles/weaving, basketry, drawing, contemporary jewelry, pottery and oil/acrylic painting.  Much of the work can be purchased by guests. The Red Earth Art Market opens Friday, June 8 at 11 am

The grand parade, which opens the festival on Friday morning, turns downtown Oklahoma City into a moving tribute American Indian culture. To watch more than 100 tribes, in full tribal regalia, including dignitaries and tribal princesses, moving together through downtown amongst Native bands, honor guards, and floats is worth the price of admission and than some.

For tickets, you can purchase them online at www.ticketmaster.com.  Active U.S. Military and U.S. Military veterans receive an admission discount with a valid Military I.D.  For additional information contact Red Earth, Inc at (405) 427-5228 or visit their site here.

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