Many people might think Native Americans have been long gone from the area, but a local powwow this weekend aims to show native cultures are closer than one might think.
Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm, on Ga. Highway 138 in Walnut Grove, hosts its fourth annual Eastern Native American Charity Powwow, "We Are Related," this weekend, June 28 and 29.
The powwow combines the atmosphere of a fair, the informality of cook-out and the reverence of a revival as more than 100 dancers, vendors, drummers, musicians and veterans and about 800 attendees are expected to gather for the weekend, according to Whippoorwill farm owners Andy and Hilda Byrd.
The event started four years ago when Hilda learned that the 4-year-old son of a friend danced in powwows. She made the off-hand remark that they should have one at the farm.
"His mother said, 'Are you sure? Are you serious?'" she said, "and I said 'Yeah,' not thinking."
Six weeks later, the Byrds found themselves hosting their first powwow.
Holding events to reach out to the public is nothing new to the Byrds, though. "We are an educational farm," Hilda said.
In addition to growing a wide variety of organic vegetables and poultry, they hold events throughout the year to teach people about agriculture and organic farming.
In a similar vein, the powwow gives people who might not have exposure to native cultures the chance to learn about drumming, dancing and traditional cooking.
"The powwow is a time for them to share their heritage with us," she said.
The majority of the tribes represented are of Cherokee descent, although they have people coming all the way from Oklahoma and Alabama as well, and there is usually a strong showing by veterans of the military services, said Hilda.
Drumming will be hosted by Grandfather Strong Heart and the guest drum group will be the All Nations Warrior Singers.
During the weekend, there will also be a flag ceremony, storytellers, demonstrations of drumming and traditional cooking, arts and crafts, as well as children's games.
Gates open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday with grand entry starting at noon. On Sunday, the hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with grand entry at 1 p.m.
Admission is $10 per vehicle or $5 per person, with proceeds going directly to help Native Americans with diabetes and elders.
For more information, contact Andy Byrd at (770) 601-0110 or Hilda Byrd at (770) 601-0109, or online at www.whippoorwillhollowfarm.com.