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A bridge that brings us together: The 11th Annual Hopi Arts & Cultural Festival returns to Flagstaff

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Flagstaff is at the intersection of many different communities and gives space for people to celebrate that. In 2010, the first Hopi Arts & Cultural Festival took place in downtown Flagstaff to celebrate and introduce Hopi artisans and culture. Through the years, the festival brings public education to Flagstaff by way of art, traditional social dances and information on Hopi culture. It has since grown, becoming bigger and brighter every year.

The 11th Annual Hopi Arts & Cultural Festival returns August 27 through August 28 at the Continental Country Club Driving Range. The festival aims to help introduce artisans’ artistic talent and view of Hopi culture to the public. Hopi Arts and Education Association (HAEA)'s mission is to bring an educational experience, and an insight of the Hopi culture, by way of art, traditional social dances and one on one interaction with the Hopi artists.

Tashia Bakurza, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Hopi Tribe Economic Development Corporation, is excited for this year’s festival. “I’m excited to see the expressions on faces for those who have never experienced the festival before. Guests who have attended in the past years come back each year, due to how they enjoyed the entertainment and showcasing of the Hopi artists’ work,” she said. “HAEA enjoys bringing to the public every year the annual festival… It is how HAEA provides and supports opportunities to enhance Hopi artist marketing and visibility along with, giving attendees a sense of Hopi culture.”

“People that come to the Hopi reservation still want to see and experience Hopi culture,” said Bakurza. “That’s part of why the festival was created, so those who aren’t familiar with Hopi can come and experience the Hopi culture they have read about in magazines and such. This is an opportunity to help educate others about the Hopi people.”

Social dancing at this year’s event is an opportunity that many outside of Hopi communities rarely get to take part in. In many communities, one must be invited to watch dances. This festival gives visitors a chance to be a part of these mostly private dances.

“The Festival Committee plans, and once it’s done, we begin planning for the next year. We’re bridging the gap, sharing and welcoming of all,” said Bakurza.

Visitors to the festival can expect to find many different artisans specializing in textiles, traditional baskets, mixed media, painting, beading, jewelry, pottery and many other arts. Social Dancing will take place throughout both days. In previous years, the festival has taken place downtown at Heritage Square, but for the second year in a row, it was moved to the Continental Country Club Driving Range to support having a more open space.

“Having everyone together in this open area allows us to grow in the future and support more Hopi artists,” Bakurza said.

As with all things, Bakurza says it’s always a surprise at how it turns out in the end. With the support of the community, the festival has grown this year, “The HAEA Committee is incredibly appreciative of the artists, vendors and sponsors of the festival,” said Bakurza. Their long list of sponsors include APS, Hopi Tribe Economic Development Corporation, Nackard Pepsi and many others.

The festival will take place August 27 and 28 from nine to five each day at the Continental Country Club Driving Range with an admission of five dollars. Attendees are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19 safety measures. For more information on the festival, please visit the festival website at www.hopifestival.com.

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