Tzeachten Sports Field will see the 2018 Spirit of the People Powwow, running June 29-July 1 in Chilliwack. (Progress File)

Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack features drum contest this year

They’re expecting more than 400 powwow dancers to roll into Chilliwack on the Canada Day long weekend

The Spirit of the People Powwow at Tzeachten Sports Field runs all weekend starting with an evening grand entry on June 29.

What is new this year is a singing contest between the drum groups, says Gary Abbott, co-organizer and arena director.

Drum groups come from across the Pacific Northwest to sing powwow songs while drumming, and last year there were 16 in attendance at the local powwow.

“There are a number of different skills they are judged on,” Abbott explains.

One of them is the way their voices blend together, and another is how well they keep the rhythm steady. They have to take turns leading a song, and they have to choose the right song for the appropriate dance category.

The Chilliwack powwow usually attracts anywhere from 200 to 500 traditional dancers, and organizes say they are on track to welcome more than 400 dancers over the Canada Day weekend.

The 2018 event features a number of specials with MC Francis James and host drum, the Sage Hill Singers from Kamloops.

There will be salmon barbecue on Saturday afternoon only, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and other dishes like Indian taco and bannock will be available all weekend from the kitchen, and as usual an array of authentic arts and crafts from the booths.

Admission is $5 per day or $10 per weekend, with kids six and under getting in free.

A special this year is the Woman Old Style Fancy.

“This was one of the stepping stones to the contemporary women’s fancy category,” Abbott said. “It’s a mixture of fancy and traditional.”

The other new attraction is a silent auction, with wonderful items donated by talented artisans and artists to help offset event organization costs.

“Proceeds go right back into powwow costs, along with the admission and concession revenues,” he said.

The event is at 46770 Bailey Road.

“We are looking for volunteers if anyone wants to join us,” said Abbott.

To volunteer, call 604-316-5806.

For more event information, call 604-845-5234, or check the FB page for Spirit of the People Pow wow.

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