Wolf show is featured new attraction
By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
SOUTH DAYTONA - Get ready for a powwow in the park this weekend.
The city will hold its annual Native American Earth Festival at Reed Canal Park on April 14 and 15. The weekend-long event celebrates Native American history, culture and art.
Jim Sawgrass, a local American Indian who organizes and participates in the festival, said the event is also designed to honor the earth's resources, which are often taken for granted.
"It's not just about Native American heritage," he said. "It's about celebrating our natural resources and environmental education, as well."
Attractions at the fair include native dancers and drummers, American Indian food, powwows, artists and crafters, wildlife exhibits and children's activities.
New to this year's festival is a "Wolves of the World" attraction, which features about 12 wolves ranging from pups to alpha males in an educational show about the canines and their habits.
Mr. Sawgrass said the show would educate people about the declining wolf population.
"We don't have very many wolves left in the world," he said. "We've killed them off just because they're wolves. We need to do certain things or else we're going to lose them."
The wolves will be located in an encounter area where people can observe them up close.
There will also be a live buffalo at the event, Mr. Sawgrass said.
Another highlight of the event is the "East Meets West" show, which Mr. Sawgrass performs with his partner Little Big Mountain. The show explains the interactions between different native tribes, aimed to educate people on how not all American Indians are alike.
Mr. Sawgrass said his goal with the event is to continue adding more to it every year. Last year's Native American Earth Festival, which introduced an alligator show, was the "biggest ever," he said.
While the festival is designed to be a fun event, Mr. Sawgrass also hopes people who attend can learn from it to not take the environment for granted.
"What we're bringing to the community is not just Native American history, it's everyone's history," he said. "It's awareness of our own environment. ... We should think about stuff like not throwing our cigarette butts out the window and starting forest fires."
The Native American Earth Festival will take place 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 14 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 15 at Reed Canal Park. Entrance and parking is through the entrance at 2871 Nova Road.
Admission is $4 for ages 13 and older, $2 for ages 4 through 12 and free for children 3 and younger.