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Discover Native America 1996

ST. PETERSBURG - Discover Native America 1996, scheduled for January 25-28 at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, marks the beginning of the winter Powwow season in Florida and the first of three major American Indian powwow festivals sponsored by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The Vmoy Park show makes the fifth Discover native America mega-event sponsored by the Tribe. This year's event will feature a living Seminole Village, continuous entertainment on two stages, a concert by legendary songwriter John Hartford, the Frank Weed Animal Show and more than 75 vendors from all across North America.

"We are hoping for a very large showing from Indian Country," says DNA producer B.J. Billie Whitecloud. "The site is very beautiful, right next to Tampa Bay and the City of St. Petersburg is cosponsoring the event with us 1 think it will be the most successful DNA we've ever had."

Thursday and Friday daytimes are slated for schoolchildren and senior citizen groups, while the powwow competitions begin at 7 p.m. on Friday. Saturday's events go from 10 tp 10, with Hartford appearing about 5:30 p.m. Also appearing during the special Saturday afternoon concert with Hartford is Chief James Billie, fiddle whiz Erik Hokkanen, comedian Buddy Big Mountain, the Aztec Fine Dancers and the Apache Dancers. Saturday night and most of Sunday is taken up by powwow activities.

Then, as soon as the regalia is carefully packed away, it is on to Immokalee, where new Council Representative Benny Motlow has upgraded his reservation's annual Powwow and Rodeo. The threeday event (Feb. 2-3-4) will feature an AllIndian Rodeo, a PRCA Rodeo and special concerts by Country Music recording artists Johnny Rodriguez (Friday night) and Johnny "Take This Job and Shove It" Paycheck (Saturday night). Sunday afternoon, following the end of the rodeo and powwow events, the Las Aztecas band from Mexico will perform an authentic mariachi-style dance for the crowd.

"We're really looking forward to a good tire," says Benny Motlo*. "My staff has been working real hard to make this the best show we've ever had out here. We hope the local community• folks will make it out here to see three things: a really good show, rodeo, and powwow!"

The next weekend marks the annual Seminole Tribal Fair and Rodeo, Feb. 8-910- 11 at the Seminole Fairgrounds on the Hollywood reservation. This year's stars include T. Graham Brown and Seminole country songstress Lucy Bowers. More about the Tribal Fair and the Brighton Festival (the very next weekend!) in the next issue of the Seminole Tribune.

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Page Updated: Friday, January 21, 2005 10:46 AM