Dancing downtown at Manito Ahbee

Had an amazing time at first day of the Pow Wow competition of Manito Ahbee festival yesterday! The festival’s been going on since November 2nd, but some of the biggest events have been happening this weekend, including the Pow Wow and the marketplace.

Dancers in the grand entry

Yesterday I was lucky enough to get there in time to see the grand entry. It starts things off with music and a huge procession into the centre of the area by dancers decked out in elaborate clothing – it’s very powerful to watch, I got goosebumps as soon as the music started! Manito Ahbee has such a big Pow Wow, it took more than half an hour for everyone to just get into the arena – there were hundreds of dancers, from elders to tiny children. I would have been so scared at that age to be in front of so many people, but they were really confident! And the more who came in, the bigger the music got – lots of the dancers had bells attached to their ankles, so there’s a gorgeous ringing whenever they My video didn’t turn out very well (I kept turning to look at dancers!) but someone did a great one last year to give you an idea

After the grand entrance, the actual competition starts – all these hundreds of dancers are divided into categories by age and dance style and get back out to the centre of the arena. Once they don’t have another thousand people crowded around, you can really see them move!

Later in the afternoon, I headed over to the marketplace for a bit. I’m definitely going to be coming back to this one today for some gift shopping – and shopping for myself! Booths are set up all around the concourse with clothing, crafts, jewellery, and more. My favourites were the clothing and moccasin-style slippers – I have a beloved old pair of moccasin slippers that are falling apart, and this is a great chance to replace them!

The Manito Ahbee Pow Wow and marketplace are continuing today, and I highly recommend going to take them in – adults are $15.75 for the whole day, and you can buy tickets at the MTS Centre.

 

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