Anyways, we were there to visit and that's when I spotted it. ("It" being the tee-pee's that are placed throughout the city.) It is an advertisement for the yearly tradition of the Indian Festival that is held at our local zoo. I thought it would be fun to take Broxton to see it, since I had not been since my teenage years. I was lucky enough to get media passes to go and now I get to tell you about it.
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The Indian Festival is held one weekend in April each year at Chehaw Park. Friday is normally filled with Field Trips (notice the bus in my photo) but we were welcomed just the same.
The Festival is held inside the actual zoo. You drive through until you get to the parking area for this event. Then, head towards the totem poles!
One of the tee-pee's that are at the main entrance. This festival is so much more than just entertainment. It is an educational experience to see how they live and operate on a day to day basis.
This was the first family to start the dancing for the day. It was a mom, dad and their 3 children. The dad did most of the talking and explaining of what was going on. The mom and the kids did the dances and customs. I loved their dress and of course had to ask if it was as heavy as it looks. (They answered YES, but obviously the kids weren't AS heavy...)
Broxton enjoyed seeing the soldiers and the items that they brought to show. Things like grenades, ear cleaners (*they didn't have q-tips back then) writing utensils and more. This was an actor there recreating the role of General Oglethorpe. So, as I said...very educational and informative.
Seeing the different tee-pee's were so neat to me. I did have to ask why they used the design they do (like the triangle shape) and was told it was to help keep cold air out during the winter and to let air circulate around during the summer.
They had several different tribes represented each day. I hate that I do not remember the tribe this was, but at one point they had all the males call on different children to come and join them for their particular dance style. Broxton was THRILLED to get to go out there.
The clothing that they wear are the real deal. No costume shop find here. I did have to ask if it was as hot as it looked, since we were in SOUTH GEORGIA and I was sweating in just shorts and a shirt. I don't think I have heard so many people say yes in agreement at one time! (As hot as they were, it was beautiful to see the different designs.)
From the headdress to their shoes, each authentic item was outstanding. Tell me you don't think they look hot and heavy? Could you wear this in the heat and not get hot?????
This was actually the man in charge of talking and running the whole thing. I guess you could call him a host or an emcee or something. I don't know the exact title, but they were all walking around and you could get your photo with them. Some did change from their traditional clothing to clothes more appropriate to every day wear and the temperatures, but all were great with photos all day long.
At this point, we were learning how they made the rafts / canoes for being on the water and fishing. This guy was so nice to take plenty of time to talk to Broxton and answer all his questions. He even gave Broxton a souvenir (alligator tooth) when we left.
Demonstrating how they would make items for riding on the water. they would make a fire in it and keep the fire going, while also using axes /knives and what not to carve away at the inside of a tree.
This was my favorite part of the day. They had a game of North American Stickball and called on any of the kids to come out and play with them. Basically you have 2 sticks that you use to catch the ball. You then have to throw it (with the sticks) to a pole. If you hit it between these two markers, you win points... Here is the thing... Women don't have to use the sticks and its a free for all. Men have to use the sticks and can not be overly aggressive towards the women. It was normally a men vs women game if women were playing.
Another cool thing about stickball? It was used to solve disputes between neighboring villages. They did not fight one another, but would settle the argument between a game. Wish more things were settled this way... It was fun to watch and Broxton loved playing. I wish they had local games, as I would totally go and see one.
There was so much to see and do and we really had a great time. I hope we are able to make it back again next year. Like I said, it is in South Georgia so you should totally try and go.
Next time we are back home, we will try and visit the zoo.
(Zoo admission is covered with entrance to the festival, but we had to get back home to Atlanta.)
*Thanks to Chehaw for the opportunity to attend.