The Bull Run All Nations Powwow, which began five years ago as a dream to honor the native spirit on Canfield Island in Loyalsock Township, has become a tradition that attracts thousands of visitors.
This year, the powwow will be held Aug. 2 and 3 at Riverfront Park and Canfield Island. Gates open at 10 a.m. The event is co-sponsored by Loyalsock Township and Thunderheart Village.
"It is becoming a tradition," festival co-organizer David "Tree" Gubber said. "People are coming to expect it. We've got a waiting list for vendors. Bull Run has gotten a name."
As in past years, the pow-wow will include animal exhibits, dancing, story-telling, educational demonstrations and authentic food and crafts.
The grand entry, which features American Indian dancers in full native regalia parading into the large "sacred circle," will be at noon both days.
The Sacred Circle is a special area where native dance, music and ceremonies are performed to honor the Creator and all created things.
"The dancers come and drums come to join in the celebration of life," Gubber said. "That is what the (sacred) circle stands for.
"There is a lot of spirituality to what we do. When we dance, we honor the Creator."
Shortly following the grand entry, a veterans' dance will be held in the circle.
All veterans are invited to participate in the dance, Gubber said. Family members of veterans or those who have family members serving in the military also are invited to participate.
"I urge all veterans in the area to come and take part in the veterans' dance," said Gubber, a Gulf War veteran.
"Last year, it was very emotional," he said. "There were a number of veterans who came in wheelchairs. they got caught up in it, we got caught up in it. It was awesome."
Circle directors this year are Wolf and Standing Bear. Veterans will be led by Peacewalker.
Aztec Fire Dancers return this year for performances at 2:30 p.m. each day.
Host drums will be provided by Iroquois Thunderheart and guest drums by Morning Star and Eagle Thunder. Darius Puff will provide native story-telling and music will be provided by Dog and Pony. Makwa will act as emcee.
The main goal of the powwow is to teach people about Indian history, beliefs and culture, Gubber said.
"People will be naturally entertained, though that isn't the main goal of the pow-wow," he said.
There is no charge to attend the event. Donations, however, will be accepted at the gate. Proceeds will be used to fund the Rescue One water rescue unit.
"This is a family oriented event," he said. "We are not charging and are only asking for a donation. If someone doesn't have the money, we're not going to stop them."
Gubber said he expects the pow-wow to be well-attended.
"With more people staying closer to home, we are expecting a big turnout," Gubber said.
"People can come to this premier cultural event without having to spend a lot of money," he added. "People don't want to take long hauls. They are cutting back and looking for things to do closer to home."
The event will be held rain or shine, Gubber said.
Parking is free along the road leading to Riverfront Park. The park parking lot is reserved for handicapped parking.