Ridgecrest to host first annual Petroglyph Festival, honoring Native American heritage

August 10, 2014 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
August 10, 2014 - The city of Ridgecrest will hold a 4-day festival celebrating the historic petroglyph rock art November 13-16. Hidden amongst the canyon and valley walls within the local China Lake Naval Air Weapons station, the 10,000 year-old rock art will be open to the public via advanced scheduled tours through the Maturango Museum.

The Navy's recent endeavor to catalogue the thousands upon thousands of petroglyphs in the high desert has brought newfound attention to the city of Ridgecrest when the Los Angeles Times reported on the efforts.

According to the festival's visionary and mayor of Ridgecrest, Dan Clark, the recent spike in interest for the petroglyphs was the perfect partner for his desire to advocate for cross-cultural understanding in the high desert. With an ever-diversifying community in Ridgecrest, Clark seeks to educate and inspire both residents and visitors with the rich Native American history in the area.

The festival will feature a Day of Education on Thursday, November 14, planned for Southern California STEM students from surrounding area schools. Students will learn about Native American history through special lectures, talks and presentations of the petroglyphs to inspire them to use STEM concepts and education in new ways. Archaeologists working on the cataloguing project, presentations from the Maturango Museum, and a panel of scholars from Cerro Coso Community Colleges are among the featured events.

An Inter-Tribal Powwow and Cherokee Hog Fry are important cultural events that will highlight the weekend festival evenings on Saturday, November 15th and Sunday November 16th. According to Little Deer Durvin, head of the Inter-Tribal Pow Wow and Cherokee Hog Fry, the Pow Wow event supports inclusiveness and a shared goal of respecting the area's Native American past.

"The Pow Wow is a time for all Native American tribes to come together with other family members and friends. It is a time of sharing, learning and caring. It is a time when Native Americans reflect on their traditions," says Durvin of the Cherokee Community of Central California.

After exploring the wide range of artisanal items, enjoy a traditional feast at the Cherokee Hog Fry. Part of the sacred Cherokee tradition of generosity, join the community in a prepared pork dinner for the whole community.

The petrogylphs and cultural events aren't the only special features of the festivities. Witness the dedication of the brand new Petroglyph Park in Ridgecrest, complete with art installations and replications of the rock art discovered in the Naval base. And, rounding off Friday night November 14th, Emmy-nominated Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai will perform traditional and contemporary Native-American inspired music at a concert at the Parker Performance Center at Burroughs High School. According to Doug Lueck, Executive Director of the Ridgecrest Area Conventions and Visitors Bureau, the area is gearing up for massive interest in the region. "We've pulled out all the stops for our inaugural Petroglyph Festival" says Lueck.

Stay for a weekend of amazing local arts and crafts, shopping, live entertainment and more at the Balsam Street Fair and Family Fun Zone. This family-friendly community celebration will feature more than 100 vendors, 3 stages, and food booths serving up unique fare. For adults, tickets are available for the evening Balsam Street Wine Walk, where a sampling of California wines and regional cuisine will be offered. Justin O'Neill, who produced the extremely successful Ridgecrest 50th Anniversary Street Festival is at the helm of the Balsam Street Festival and Wine Walk.

For more information, tickets and registration, visit www.rpfestival.com or call the Ridgecrest Area Visitors and Conventions Bureau at (760) 375-8202.

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