Family, food and fun abound at Chehaw

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- With native dances, friendly guides, food and plenty of sunshine, visitors found Chehaw the place to enjoy life Saturday.

The family fun and (dare we say it?) learning experience continues at the park continues from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. today. The Native American Cultural Festival plans call for flute performances, Native American dancers, including an Aztec group, and other events.

One of the Aztec dancers, Javier Alfaro, said Saturday that the dances were as much fun for him as they seemed to be for the people attending the festival.

"It was just so great to have children and their parents out there dancing with us," Alfaro said. "We all had a wonderful time together."

Greg Rustin, at the festival with his children Gregory and Kodie, found the information on the Cherokee war game fascinating.

"I didn't know they had this way of settling disputes," Rustin said. "I like bringing the kids here. It teaches them how people did things before everyone got lazy."

The festival brought a little romance into the lives of two people. Dale Dingler and his wife Susan met at the festival in 1993. The Doles couple married in 1994 and have been volunteering at the festival ever since.

"We used to bring the kids here, but they are all grown," Dale Dingler said. "But we have grandkids volunteering now. It is a family tradition."

Chehaw is at Chehaw Park Road, on the left as you go north on Philema Road from North Jefferson Street.

Children listened to talks about early Native American arts, crafts and culture from vendors and guides at the festival with rapt attention.

And who wouldn't listen to Nancy Basket (real name) as she wove her Cherokee pine needle basket at her booth? She had stories to tell about Native American women and their role in society before the Europeans arrived.

There was also the story of the Cherokee snake that had an intimate relationship with the rain and thunder gods of yore.

At 10:30 a.m. today, Diamond Brown is scheduled to talk about his Cherokee and their culture. Saturday, he spoke at his campsite about the Cherokee war game Anijodi, similar to lacrosse.