Coming up on March 5 and 6, the Heard Museum in Phoenix will hold their annual Indian Fair and Market.  This prestigious event, in its 58th showing, gathers top Native American artists from North America to exhibit and compete.  This year, the Heard has over 600 highly talented artists who will be in attendance.  The weekend festival is alive with demonstrations from various artists, music, and dance performances, all celebrating the colorful and rich tapestry of Native American life.  This year, the main theme is “Celebrating the Art of Pottery” which is certainly an area that I celebrate.  And yes, the best part – the artists will have their works for sale at the exhibition as well!

Similar to Santa Fe’s annual Indian Market in August, this Market has a full list of activities, both free and paid, that are available to the anticipated 15,000 attendees.  There are tickets required for entry to the Heard Museum for this event, but this cost is well worth the opportunity to wander around, talk with the artists, see their stunning works up close, and learn a little more about Native American culture.

Some of the free events that Michael and I always enjoy are the cultural performances.  The Grand Entry is a spectacular, colorful entry of Native Americans in ceremonial clothing, with the Thunder Springs Singers drum circle providing a spirited beat.  We also enjoy watching the Fancy Dancers, and this year the Oklahoma Fancy Dancers and the Yellow Bird Dancers will be performing, among many other groups.

Leaving the Amphitheater and moving to the Courtyard Stage, we will hear lovely, sometimes hauntingly beautiful music by Native American musicians, including my favorite, the flute.  Also at the Amphitheater, the Zuni Olla Maidens will do the Pottery Dance – dancing while carrying ollas on their heads. Led by Juanita Edaakie and Loretta Beyuka, this very talented group of ten women has performed throughout New Mexico at some of the most notable venues. Their ability to balance beautiful ollas while dancing is amazing!

And, of course, the Hoop Dance, led by Tony Duncan, will allow those brave souls to get out and learn a few of the basic moves of this energetic and popular dance.  We will be sure to clap and cheer for you!

One of the not-free events includes Friday night’s Best of Show Dinner, in which the award winners for each category are announced, and a drawing for four donated pieces of pottery is held.  There is also a silent auction with quite a few pieces available.  And yes, these are events that I love, as the award winning pieces are truly quite astonishing.

Proceeds from the Heard Museum Guild’s Indian Fair and Market go toward educating visitors about Native American life and culture, helping us to understand more clearly their traditions.  The Guild has done significant work to help the Heard Museum and also to organize this amazing event each year.

Full details of the weekend can be found at along with pictures of prior year’s events.  Hope to see you there!

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