On our recent blog post on Stone Mountain, we mentioned that the park hosts several festivals throughout the year. One of the major festivals is the Indian Festival & Pow-Wow every fall (the end of October-early November). The main focus of the festival is the dance and drum competition, but there are a variety of demonstrations and informative booths, as well as shopping and food tents.
Unlike some other Pow-Wows we have been to, the festival at Stone Mountain is actually a competition. There is a Grand Entrance on each of the weekend days of the festival, followed by the competition. The competition is broken up into different categories, usually based on age and sex, and each of the categories offers something unique. Some of the dances are fast-moving and energetic, while others are slower. We recommend finding a good seat and watching for awhile, as you’ll be sure to see a plethora of dances and styles. The drum competition is also exciting and worth seeing. Because the competition draws Native Americans from all over the region, the dances and drumming in the competition are reflective of the number of tribes present-when we were there we were even able to see an Aztec ritual dance.
When you need a break from the dancing there are lots of booths set up around the festival grounds. Some of the booths are informative, providing visitors a glimpse of different aspects of Native American life. Other booths have demonstrations using Native American tools and techniques. This part is especially fun for kids.
If all the exploring makes you hungry, there are a few booths around the festival grounds that sell food. You’ll be able to find traditional festival foods like hamburgers and hot dogs, but there is also food that utilizes traditional Native American ingredients, such as maize and beans. If you’d like to purchase anything else, be sure to check out the tents with different goods to buy. There is Native American art and jewelry, knives and other weaponry, and numerous other items.
The festival is a bit pricey-in addition to the $15 pass to get into the park, the price of admission is $15 per person. However, we enjoyed our time at the festival and thought the event was a great way to learn about an important aspect of history. Because people often refer to Native Americans as a collective rather than as individual tribes, seeing the variety in the dances and drumming is also a great way to see some of the differences between tribes. We recommend going to the Indian Festival & Pow-Wow, especially those with school-age children.