The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Hillcrest Park hosting 27th Ethnic Fair

Organizers promoting sobering remembrance, introspection.

 

File photo

The Dineh Tah Navajo Dancers of Albuquerque perform a weave dance at the 2013 Clovis/Curry County Ethnic Fair at Hillcrest Park.

CLOVIS — Returning favorites are on the schedule for next weekend's 27th Annual Clovis/Curry County Ethnic Fair, along with new additions and a special blessing from the Dineh Tah Navajo Dancers.

Look for cultural performances and the long-running companion car show, now in its 23rd year. If you're more hands on, there will be arts and crafts booths, a 5K fun run/walk in the morning, a talent show and free admission to the zoo and splash pad at Hillcrest Park, where much of the programming Saturday will take place.

For other educational and salutary opportunities, watch for the Blackwater Draw mobile museum and booths from the recurring health fair, with agencies "that normally do not have the opportunity to visit the High Plains region," event coordinator Selmus Price wrote in literature for the event.

During the week and for the first time this year, a local martial arts studio will hold self-defense workshops Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings and put on a performance at the main event Saturday.

Yet for as much the fair is an opportunity "to share the things from each culture that make us all unique," it's also meant to instill "an awareness that we are more alike than we are unalike," Price told The News.

"I trust that each and every one of us will be mindful of how fortunate we are at this time in lieu of what is happening in this country and the world," Price wrote in the event literature. "Knowing that many are facing a crisis, and so many are without jobs and health care; we are blessed."

As joyful as the fair's lineup may be, it's also an occasion for some sobering remembrance and introspection. That will be a component of the Navajo Dancers' presentation, which will start with a "protection way/bow-and-arrow dance," followed immediately by a rarely exhibited blessing to commemorate this year's 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Bosque Redondo at Fort Sumner.

"Our whole program is dedicated to that this year, so we definitely want to bring the spirit of that commemoration out of what we endured as a people," said Shawn Price, a Navajo descendant and the group's director. "The blessing we're sharing is about healing, and those who want to share in the healing of our people's experiences of the past are more than welcome to partake of that. More importantly, if they're going through any kind of issues and they want to accept this blessing of healing and renewal and move on in their own personal lives, whatever that may mean, this is an opportunity as well to partake."

Price was spare on details, but said the blessing involves smoke and an eagle feather fan. The dancers will wear traditional attire bearing symbolism of Navajo creation stories and history, with some more modern customizations.

"We are blessed that we live in a time where we can, not experiment, but we can push the boundaries and enhance some of our traditional designs," he said, "with new colors and new fabrics, but it still represents and it still symbolizes the true and traditional."

The main programming kicks off Saturday with the 5K at 8:30 a.m., and the day continues at Hillcrest Park with opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. Among the other scheduled performers are Nigerian ensemble Agalu with "Spirit of the Drums and Dance," expressive dance from "Mr. Wayne" and the Flamenco Nuevo Mexico Dance Co. led by Catalina Rio Fernandez, newly returned from Spain.

 

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