By CALVIN PYNN
World-renowned violinist and flutist Arvel Bird will perform as part of the fifth annual Native American Heritage Festival on Saturday, April 12 in Bisset Park in Radford.
According to Deborah Cooney, the director of tourism for the City of Radford, Bird is known around the world for his dramatic connection between Celtic and Native American traditions. He is also known for stirring up scenes that echo from North American memory.
Bird has been dubbed “Lord of the Strings” by fans and music critics, his music evokes the soul of North American history and is thoroughly entertaining, but also enlightening and humanizing. According to his website, www.arvelbird.com, his style is a language and experience that captures the hearts of all audiences.
Native Americans in full regalia and host drums will headline the event. According to Cooney, the festival will include weapons and lifestyle demonstrations, crafts and food vendors.
The gates will open at 11 a.m. At noon, there will be a grand entry procession of many tribal affiliations, head dancers, elders and children. Master of Ceremonies Lowery Begay will direct the activities in the arena and will explain the symbolism, protocol and spiritual meanings of the dances, regalia and drums to the spectators.
Red Fire Singers from Pulaski will also serve as host drums for the event.
This year’s festival will feature Aztec dancers as well as a variety of other dancers. Dancers in full regalia are welcome to participate in a $250 Luck of the Draw.
Traditional traders and crafters will be on hand with authentic arts and crafts reflecting the cultural heritage of the different tribes of Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.
According to Cooney, Bisset Park is a natural backdrop for this event due to the fact that Native American artifacts were found that dated back some 400-plus years when the park was excavated.
Admission prices for the Festival are $5 for adults and $2 for youth, with a discount for veterans.
The festival will be held rain or shine, and everyone is encouraged to bring chairs and blankets. Bisset Park is located on West Main Street at 23 Berkely Williams Drive in Radford, Va.