The festival, which includes Native American dancing and traders with a wide range of crafts, continues today at Ridge Ferry Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Different groups enter the arena, which is blessed as sacred ground before each powwow, throughout the day and perform along with the playing and chanting of a drum group.
While those who attend are welcomed to be educated and entertained by the inter-tribal and competition dancing, the exhibition also serves as a spiritual event for those who honor the lives of their Native American ancestors.
As both Comanche and Cherokee, Wendy Parris has danced at other powwows in the area but was enjoying the day as a spectator.
“It is good to educate children about the traditions and learn about their ancestry,” Parris said. “But for the most part it is spiritual for us.”
She was encouraged to see a number of younger dancers and children come to the powwow and get closer to understanding where they came from.
“It’s nice to see new generations grow up and get into it and join in,” Parris said. “There are a lot of new dancers here this year.”
Her husband, Sean Parris, said that coming to powwows with his wife has given him a new perspective on the events.
“It’s different when you meet people who are out here for a reason other than entertainment,” he said. “For a lot of them, this is their church.”
An audience participation dance brought some of the brave to enter the circle and join in with the dancing and festivity.
Lyerly resident Carol Thompson and her granddaughter, Gracie, 4, took advantage of the invitation during the afternoon and spent some time moving with the constant beating of the drum.
“This is her first year here,” Thompson said of her granddaughter. “She likes it. She’s been bouncing around all day and wants to get out there and dance every time.”
Thompson, who is Cherokee, said she enjoyed the dancing competitions and meeting the people who come out to the event.
“They’re family,” Thompson said. “It’s like a brotherhood. They were all enemies at one time, and now they come together to have fellowship.”
The weekend event, which is sponsored by the Native American Preservation Society of Georgia Inc., is also known as the Cherokee Homecoming and Ripe Corn Festival.
Admission is $7 per person while children 12 and younger and those 65 and older are free.