5th Annual American Indian Arts Fest
Contact: Karl Cordova, (520) 723-3172
American Indian Arts Fest at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Features Music, Arts, Demonstrations, and Foods
COOLIDGE, AZ-Bring your family and friends to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument on Saturday and Sunday, February 9-10, to celebrate Native American culture with a full weekend of visual arts, music, dance, foods, and storytelling. From 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 each day, more than forty artisans will show, demonstrate and sell a variety of artistic and cultural items. Guests will be able to admire and purchase jewelry and beadwork, paintings, pottery, baskets, katchinas, carvings, sand paintings, gourd art, musical instruments, music CDs, and more. Native American foods and other snacks and beverages will be available for purchase from three vendors.
Musical and dance performances from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day, and a special evening concert on Saturday evening from 5:00-7:00 p.m. are highlights of the festival. An outdoor stage beneath the shadow of the Casa Grande "Great House" provides an evocative setting for an outstanding lineup of performers. This year's performance line-up includes vocalist Krishel Augustine; the renowned classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala; Arvel Bird, violinist, Native American flute player, and storyteller; traditional Native American flute player Tim Blueflint; the Hashan-Kehk Traditional Dancers; the River People Basket Dancers; Loren Russell, storyteller and Native American flutist; Anthony Wakeman and Aaron White, a Native American flute and guitar duo; Rona Yellow Robe with Bruce Witham, vocals, Native American flute, and guitar; and Travis Terry, a Native American flute player who also serves as master of ceremonies for performances.
New kid friendly activities will make the festival fun for the entire family. Bring your children to the special Junior Ranger program, held at 11:00 a.m. each day in the new visitor center theater. Children will be introduced to some unique Sonoran Desert critters who will entertain them with humor and music while helping them learn about what makes the monument special. Kids will also get to meet and sing with Ramah Navajo Princess, Krishel Augustine, and earn a prize by participating in an arts and crafts scavenger hunt. Children who don't make it to the Junior Ranger program can still participate in a scavenger hunt and activities such as flute painting and split twig figure making. They will also enjoy music, storytelling, and watching demonstrators show how to make jewelry, pottery, sand art, baskets, and how to play Native American flute.
A special Saturday evening concert from 5:00-7:00 p.m. features performances against the backdrop of an interior lit Great House and luminaria lit walkways. This is a unique once-a-year opportunity to get a close-up view of the Great House at night. At 5:00 p.m. Arvel Bird will perform on violin, Native American flute, and vocals. He is known for his dramatic expression of connections between his Paiute and Celtic traditions. Dubbed "Lord of the Strings" by fans and music critics, his music is thoroughly entertaining. Then, as the sun sets at 6:00 p.m., Rona Yellow Robe and Bruce Witham will perform. Accompanied by Bruce on guitar, Rona is known for her powerful vocal ability, Native American flute style, and heart filled presence.
The American Indian Music Fest will take place on the grounds of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, located at 1100 W. Ruins Drive, Coolidge, AZ 85128. Free shuttle buses will transport visitors to the monument from the Walmart and Safeway parking lots from 9:00 a.m. to closing both days of the festival.
The Monument protects the multi-story 'Great House' and the ruins of other ancient structures built by the people of the Sonoran Desert over 800 years ago. The site is sacred to a number of Arizona tribes as home to their ancestors. More information about the event is available on the web at www.nps.gov/cagr or by calling (520) 723-3172.
Did You Know?
Father Kino, in 1694, was the first European to call this structure Casa Grande. It is a Spanish word that means 'great house.' The Casa Grande is a 4-story, 11-room structure which was built about 700 years ago.