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Event explores Native American traditions
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Chicopee Woods Indian Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center, 1855 Calvary Church Road, Gainesville
How much: $7 adults, $4 ages 5-12, free for children younger than 5

If you’ve ever been curious about how a stone arrowhead attaches to an arrow, or wanted an up-close look at a ceremonial headdress adorned with feathers, then try this weekend’s Chicopee Woods Indian Festival.

It is a coming together of at least a half dozen — but probably more — tribes, all sharing their crafts, dances, the way they lived and their histories.

Originally organized by Paul Eddy 18 years ago, today the festival is carried on by his widow and son. This is the first year the event will be held at Chicopee Woods; in the past it has taken place at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds.

"My father was the one who started all this. He’s a Sioux Indian," Eddy said. "He’s full-blooded, and he wanted to start these festivals to educate the public on the Native American way.

"And so we will have Native American dancing, arts and crafts; there will be probably 20 to 25 Native American arts vendors, Native American demonstrations. We will have a teepee encampment; we’ll have Native American dances."

The dances are part of a multiday dancing competition, where dancers from various tribes compete for cash prizes.

That means members of many different tribes could show up and visitors can get a show covering a large spectrum of native dances. Dances will take place at 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday.

"It’s not just one Indian nation — it’s Cherokee, it’s Sioux Apache, so there’s all different nations represented," he said. "And we’re hoping that being a new venue and something new up here that it will draw the public in to learn about the Native Americans."