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Not the Usual Song and Dance

Newhall weekend festivals showcase country music, Native American traditions.

September 22, 2000|RICHARD KAHLENBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The hills of Newhall will be filled with the sound of music this weekend during the third annual Newhall Street Fair and the seventh annual Hart of the West Powwow & Native American Craft Fair.

Country and western musicians will hold forth in Old Town Newhall on Saturday for the street fair, while ceremonial Native American drumming can be heard Saturday and Sunday in nearby Hart Park during the powwow.

William "Standing Bear" Kimmey, a Sioux tribal elder who lives in Chatsworth and helped organize the powwow, said he expects dance groups from as far away as Canada to participate. The event demonstrates his belief, he said, that "Our spirit hasn't been forgotten."

"We want to bring it back [each year] so people can understand the spirit and the ways of our people," Kimmey said.

Co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Friends of Hart Park and the L.A. County Natural History Museum, the powwow is an opportunity for visitors to experience a slice of authentic Native American culture, including Navajo, Yaqui, Cherokee, Ojibwa, Apache, Kiowa and other tribal groups.

The craft fair starts at 10 a.m. and runs until about 6 p.m. each day. At noon, there will be a "grand entry" of drumming and dancing groups in full regalia led by tribal elders, flag bearers with Native American eagle banners, armed service colors and the national flags of the United States, Mexico and Canada. Just before the entry, Kimmey said, "I do the prayers, blessing the dancers with sage [incense], addressing the four corners of the compass from which they come."

Throughout the day, special ceremonies called "giveaways" will take place as the leader of each dance group--for men, women, boys and girls--publicly thanks an individual "for helping them to get where they are [in life]."

The Newhall Street Fair gets underway next to the powwow at noon Saturday with a food midway and a "mercado," or market, featuring local ethnic crafts, including a booth where children can make sugar skulls in the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead.

Street performances start at noon and run until 9 p.m. They include Mariachi Zapopan, Santa Clarita Community Center Ballet Folklorico dancers and the Canyon Theatre Guild. Special guest artist Belinda Gail, the Western Music Assn.'s female performer of the year, will appear at 4 and 5 p.m., accompanied by the ensemble Wildwind.

BE THERE

Seventh Annual Hart of the West Powwow & Native American Craft Fair, Hart Park, 24151 San Fernando Road, Newhall, and third annual Old Town Newhall Street Fair, Market Street at San Fernando Road. Powwow on Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (661) 222-7657. Street fair Saturday only, noon-9 p.m. (661) 259-CITY. Free.

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