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21st annual Red Earth Festival celebrates tribal culture



From Friday through Sunday, the 2007 Red Earth Festival will celebrate American Indian culture with a parade, art and representatives from more than 100 tribes from across the continent.

"It's the world's largest Native American cultural event," Eric Oesch, deputy director of Red Earth Inc., said.

The festival will kick off at 10:30 a.m. Friday with the parade, which will feature:
" floats,
" competitive dancers,
" princesses and
" tribal dignitaries.

As the parade winds down, the art market already will be open for business. More than 200 artists "? including ones from Oklahoma, the Southwest, Canada and Florida "? were selected through a jury process to sell their pieces.

"In addition to our art market, we'll have a huge dance competition, and we'll have probably close to a thousand dancers," Oesch said.

These dancers will be competing for more than $75,000 in prize money, and will be judged similar to gymnasts in the Olympics.

The Red Earth Festival began in 1987 with only 75 artists and 300 dancers, but Oesch said it has grown into the world's largest event of its kind.

"Oklahoma City isn't known so much as a tourist destination, but Red Earth is one of the few events that is a tourist destination," Oesch said.

Most of the festivities will be taking place at the Cox Business Services Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens. For more information, call 602-8500 or their site.  "?CJ Macklin


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