Run­ning Water Pow Wow to honor founder

The two-day gath­er­ing of tribes is this week­end at Ridge Ferry Park.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Diane Wag­ner Staff Writer DWag­

The an­nual two-day gath­er­ing of tribes is this week­end at Ridge Ferry Park.

The 28th an­nual Run­ning Water Pow Wow and Chero­kee Home­com­ing opens at 10 a.m. Satur­day in Ridge Ferry Park.

The two-day fes­ti­val fea­tures Na­tive Amer­i­can drum­ming, danc­ing, cul­tural pro­grams, food, arts and crafts. It’s open through 10 p.m. Satur­day and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun­day. Ad­mis­sion each day is $8 for ages 13 to 64.

“Kids are free, se­niors are free,” or­ga­nizer Jessi Man­tooth said Monday. “Ac­tive mil­i­tary and first re­spon­ders like EMTs and po­lice also get in free.”

Man­tooth said there will be 45 ven­dors this year, and food booths will be of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing from In­dian tacos to tra­di­tional fried bread.

“We’re also go­ing to have a chuck wagon, with pin­tos and corn­bread. It’s go­ing to be the real thing,” she said.

“Ev­ery­thing’s au­then­tic,” Man­tooth added. “We don’t do fake stuff. Noth­ing’s im­ported from China.”

Singers, flute play­ers and a cou­ple of teepees also are planned. The teepees were a crowd fa­vorite in ear­lier years but haven’t been seen for some time.

While it’s billed as a Chero­kee home­com­ing, Man­tooth said it draws par­tic­i­pants from a range of Na­tive Amer­i­can tribes.

A re­mem­brance cer­e­mony is sched­uled im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the 1 p.m. grand en­try on Satur­day to honor Frank Blair of Rome — a founder of the pow wow and the Na­tive Amer­i­can Preser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Ge­or­gia Inc. — who died in Jan­uary.

Man­tooth said he played a ma­jor role in or­ga­niz­ing each year and his ab­sence is widely felt. The cer­e­mony was still tak­ing shape on Monday.

“So many peo­ple want to add things to it,” she said. “There will be a cou­ple of spe­cial dances, but we won’t know what it will be un­til we have it.”

Or­ga­niz­ers want as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to at­tend the hon­ors for Blair. Man­tooth said a post­ing on their Face­book page — Rome, Ga Run­ning Water Pow­wow — en­cour­ages fol­low­ers to share the mes­sage. Ev­ery­one who does will be en­tered for a free ticket give­away.

“The whole month be­fore, I give away a ticket a week through con­tests on our Face­book page,” she said. “Shar­ing the an­nounce­ment of Frank’s cer­e­mony is the last one. I’ll draw for that Thursday evening.”

Ridge Ferry Park is at 363 River­side Park­way.

Frank Blair

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