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Indian Festival and Pow-Wow at Stone Mountain Park

STONE MOUNTAIN -- From Thursday through Sunday afternoon, Stone Mountain Park will be under the influence of traditional Native American culture. The park hosts the annual Indian Festival and Pow-Wow to celebrate tribal life from around the country.

"It's an emergence into the Native American culture," said Jeanine Jones, public relations manager Stone Mountain Park. "If you don't know much about it, you'll have an eye-opening experience."

Thursday and Friday more than 10.000 students from around Georgia are taking a field trip to the event as a learning experience.

"It's a great educational tool for the teachers and homeschoolers," Jones said. "The organizers (of the festival) are in step with the schools to collaborate their curriculum. When the students see (the Native American studies) come to life, it drives the message home of what they've been learning in class."

Over the weekend, hundreds of Native Americans travel to Stone Mountain for the festival. The most popular events are the traditional dance and drum competitions where the sexes battle for the top prize in separate categories. Children are also allowed to enter.

On Saturday, all of the competitors come together for a grand entrance ceremony. The different tribes can be spotted by the colors, feathers and materials wore on the traditional garb. Women typically wear bells on their outfits.

Scattered around the festival are numerous live demonstrations, including birds of prey, wild life, fire starting, pottery making and flint knapping.

Visitors can immerse themselves into the culture by participating in the East meets West Encampment to compare and contrast the lifestyles of Southeastern and Plains Indians. There are chances to crawl into a teepee and experience what it is like to live in one.

Native American art and food will be on sale at the festival.

Tickets can be purchased at the Stone Mountain Park.