Admission isn’t much: Five bucks or some cans of food on Saturday and Sunday; even $30 (kids are $10) isn’t bad for the big-deal gala on Friday’s opening night with fancy finger food and a live auction when everything you spend goes to help Navajos 75 years old and up living traditionally to buy food, firewood, hay, medical supplies and the like. What the hell, make a donation if you aren’t going and can afford to. Good cause and all.
Yes, it’s the 27th Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale and some of that money goes to buy wool for the weavers so they can do this again next year as they have for more than a quarter-century now.
The event helps the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program create a market for their crafts and raise awareness about their needs. The Elders bring rugs, jewelry and baskets to sell and take all – that’s all – the proceeds home to purchase the stuff they need to survive the winter.
Based in Park City with a warehouse in Salt Lake City, the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program supports Elders who live in remote portions of the Dine’ (Navajo) Reservation. Many live in hogans, some raise sheep as a way of life. As they age, it becomes more difficult for them to support themselves on the land in their traditional manner.
This year’s show, Weaving Ancient Designs, will feature hand-woven rugs with motifs from Native pottery reflecting the beauty of Mother Earth and telling the stories of many of the weavers’ clans. The Eagle, Hummingbird and Butterfly Clans are represented and clan animals such as Bear, Elk and Deer also are common. Symbols of mountains, clouds, corn and flowers are used to reflect the beauty of the weavers’ land and its teachings.
There are mutual benefits: About 500 schoolchildren will visit Thursday to learn about Navajo culture.
While this started at the Kimball Arts Center (in its previous incarnation) with just a few rugs, it has evolved into what may be the largest event of its kind in the country, organizers say. Now held at the Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley in Park City, with sales of rugs and crafts continuing throughout the day, special events include:
Friday, Nov.11: 6-10 p.m. Gala preview and sale; entertainment 7-8; live auction 8-9.
Saturday, Nov. 12: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. At 10 a.m. Navajo children’s princess pageant; 11 a.m. Navajo children’s traditional dances; 1 p.m. weaving demonstration; 3 p.m. Navajo Grandma Idol Contest (they are given a theme and quickly make up and sing a song); 4 p.m. Navajo Grandpas take their turn.
Sunday, Nov. 13: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. At 10 a.m. Veterans ceremony; 1 p.m. weaving demonstration; 3:30 p.m. closing powwow; 6 p.m. show closes.
On Wednesday night there is a welcome dinner just for the elders and their families after their drive from the Reservation. It’s all soft food – these are Elders, after all. Last year someone had to drive back because one lady forgot her teeth.
Phone 1-435-649-0535 for information or to make a donation. More information can be found at www.anelder.org; www.facebook.com/adoptanativeelder.