Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Native American Festival Saratoga NY 2009- Part I

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Native American Festival Saratoga 2009

As you know from my previous postings about it, this past weekend I attended the Native American Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY with the intention to write about it again.

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Two years ago I have written an article in 2 parts on my blog, that you might find interesting, since it's very educational about the nature of the festival.

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I would be very short on the Native American terminology and basic rituals, since I've already published that in 2007, because this time I spent significant amount of time talking to the people presenting their art and their crafts and I learned so much more about them, that I can't wait to share all this with you. I highly recommend you read post 1 and post 2 from 2 years ago, since it is quite different from this one and by knowing what the festival is all about it would make you appreciate this article even better.
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Since the first time I've attended the festival in 2007 I was very eager to go again, because it was an experience I just can't compare to any other.
There are all kinds of festivals- different nationality, different cuisine, religion, even types of fruits and vegetables, and I have visited many, but not one of them had touched me in such a way, as the Native American Festival.
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Some might say, it's just cultural thing, but it's not. It's the way you feel when you are there, it's the kinds of things you learn about the people around you and about yourself too. I admit I have cried at least 2 times when I was there and I laughed 200 times more, but most importantly, I've discovered a part of me, that I never new existed and a hunger I don't think can be easily satisfied. I want to know!

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I want to know everything and I want to learn even more after that, because the Native American traditions and culture are as long as the longest river and as wide as the widest field multiplied by the size of the sky and the depth of the ocean.
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I was so impatient to get there that I printed the wrong directions and we took a wrong turn. :-) For 10 min we were so close, yet not enough to the festival that I could almost feel it but not quite. I felt like a teenager on a date! :-)

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We finally got there and now I have to mention that I want to say thank you to the people organizing the festival ( The Ndakinna Education Center& the Saratoga Spa State Park) for being so kind to provide me with a press pass for the event! Thank you!

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My first impression was, that the festival grew smaller and not in the sense of size, but as attraction variety.
There were not as many dancers as before, there were a lot more storytellers and musicians and some of the demonstrations that I really liked ( like the Birds of pray, canoe making, wigwam presentation) were missing.
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I wasn't disappointed! On the contrary, it kind of gave me a different perspective on the festival. When you go to a place like that, usually the vendors are just that- vendors. And here is the misconception that made me miss this important part of the festival the first time. I was so busy hoping on from attraction to attraction, from performer to the next, that I spent very little time in the vendors area, just casually going through it. True, I really liked the crafts, but that was about it.

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This time, it really gave me the opportunity to go and talk to the people making these crafts. You wouldn't believe how much I learned! It was unbelievable to hear the stories they had to tell, to watch the way they were making their craft ( and there were a lot of them doing in on the spot!) and to my surprise they were even letting the people try and make it themselves!
It was totally different experience than the first time, but in the best sense possible.

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The next post will show you dancers through my eyes- who I met, what I learned and how fascinating this experience was! Check it out by clicking here!

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