American Indian Festival brings past to present


File Photo Richard Braveheart dances in the Grand Entrance Song during annual American Indian Festival in 2010.


• What: American Indian Festival

• When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday

• Where: Gwinnett County Fairgrounds, 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville

• Cost: $4 to $7

• For more information: Visit www.vitwind.com

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Step back in time and learn how Native Americans lived, survived and celebrated life at the American Indian Festival at Gwinnett County Fairgrounds from Saturday, May 26, through Monday, May 28, as several tribes come together to pay homage to their heritage.

Voice of the Wind of Winder is a Native American-owned business that presents educational programs based on the Native American culture and hosts the event each year. Owners Toadie and Ryan Eddy, a mother-son duo, continue to produce the traditional festival year after year.

When the event opens each day, attendees have the opportunity to take in the Native American way of life through storytelling, flute playing, poetry and primitive skills in the center circle.

A special presentation called the grand entry ensues during the festival -- 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 1 p.m. Monday. The grand entry includes dancers and color guards entering an area to create a large dance circle. Different tribes dance specific ways during the ceremony. For those who can't decipher between the many moves, all of the dances will be explained during the session.

For live music, the Locklear Sisters from Clark Lake, Mich. perform during the day. Sisters Summer and Amber Locklear are Lumbee Indians who sing country and pop music. The festival is their first stop on their spring tour through the Southeast and Midwest.

Besides music and dance, there are arts, crafts, pieces of jewelry, pottery, paintings and other Native American artifacts on sale or display throughout the three-day event.