A Native American man wears ceremonial feathers in his hair at the Rock, Rattle and Drum Pow Wow at Mt. Greylock in Lanesborough in 2012.
A Native American man wears ceremonial feathers in his hair at the Rock, Rattle and Drum Pow Wow at Mt. Greylock in Lanesborough in 2012. (Eagle file)

ADAMS -- The 8th Annual Rock, Rattle & Drum Pow Wow takes to Bowe Field off Route 8 all day today and Sunday, with organizers and town officials hoping for turnout in the thousands over the weekend.

The event, organized by the nonprofit Healing Winds, has drawn as many as 6,000 over the course of a weekend in past years. Previous powwows have been held in Lanesborough and Stephentown, N.Y.; this is the first year it will be in Adams.

Aaron Athey, of Plainfield, Conn., a member of the Mohegan Nation who has served as the powwow's master of ceremonies for many years, will step back into the role this weekend.

His main responsibility is to manage the festivities -- maintain drumming and singing rotations and oversee the event's ceremonial procedures: the parade entry, opening prayer and the special song and honor dance for veterans.

And other things, too. "Fill the dead air. Talk a lot. Tell bad jokes," he said.

"I've been doing pow wows my whole life," Athey said. "The first Rock, Rattle & Drum Pow Wow was actually the first I ever MC-ed. It's beautiful out [in the Berkshires]."

Adams Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said the town was "very excited to be hosting [the powwow] for the first time."

"We embrace the recreational, the cultural and the historical," Butler said. "This ties right in with that. We have a rich Native American history here. From the first time we touched base with these folks we wanted an opportunity to host the event here."

Butler said the town helped out with promotion and will offer shuttle service to Bowe Field and back from nearby parking lots.

The event will bring in people from all over the country, Athey said, including friends of his from New Jersey, the Midwest, Maine, Delaware, Mexico and Canada.

Those thinking about going can expect a "great social and educational event," Athey said, and can choose either of two options: "observe or take part in the festivities."

The latter might involve taking part in any of the event's many dances and songs, or trying the Native American foods on the menu, like all kinds of buffalo recipes, alligator bites, Indian tacos and, Athey's favorite, a strawberry summer drink. Local food venders will participate in the pow wow.

Music will be a constant. Violin and flute player, singer and storyteller, Arvel Bird, a Nammy Award Winner, will perform several times, in addition to Danza Azteca -- Aztec Dance Group and the Wolf Cry Singers, an all-women Native American a capella group.

Colorful costumes are representative of many different tribes and will be part of the dance demonstrations at the Eighth Annual Rock, Rattle & Drum Pow Wow
Colorful costumes are representative of many different tribes and will be part of the dance demonstrations at the Eighth Annual Rock, Rattle & Drum Pow Wow this weekend in Adams.

 


If you go...

What: 8th Annual Rock, Rattle & Drum Pow Wow

When: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Bowe Field, Columbia Street (off Route 8), Adams

Cost: Adults, $7; seniors and youths 11-17, $5; Children under 10, free

 


To reach Phil Demers:

pdemers@berkshireeagle.com

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On Twitter: @BE_PhilD