My family has had a tradition of coming to the New Mexico State Fair, but not so much for the fried foods, or to see prize winning vegetables, but for the Pow Wow. When entering Indian Village there is the smell of Indian Tacos fills the air, and sound of the drum and bells of the dancers. The best seats are taken before noon, about 3 hours before grand entry.
The grand entry is when all contest dancers enter the area, following the U.S., State, tribal flags along with an eagle staff.As soon as all contestants/dancers have made it into the arbor a flag song ensues to honor the flags and veterans. Tribal leaders, crown holders, elders and organizers are also honored and recognized.
Soon after the contest begins. Dancers compete in their respective categories for prizes. It is a spectacular site to watch as each dancers performs their moves in step to the songs. Each drum group has their own unique style as well as songs. They are generally two styles; northern, and southern.
Northern is just a little more popular because of the high pitch leads that are amazing to listen to. After the contest songs were done, they had a few specials, and during one song the rain began to fall. This excited everyone as the cheers began to erupt encouraging the drummers and dancers. It was the highlight of the night, but because I didn’t want to ruin my camera I didn’t capture any pictures or video. After the short rainfall, lightening could be seen in the distance. Twice the lights went out, and as if on command everyone pulled out their phones and turned on their flashlights to illuminate the arena. It was a good time at the pow wow and good that the fair was next door with all the amenities of fried food, lemonade, and ice cream.