I love the annual Indio Powwow, hosted by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians each Thanksgiving weekend at the Special Events Center of Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino.  Having grown up in the Palm Springs Valley and now living in Rancho Mirage, I’ve always had great reverence and deep appreciation for the Native Americans who’ve called this area home for centuries—and for their rich cultural heritage.  That’s why I’m such a frequent fan of this exciting event.

Powwows are traditionally a family meeting.  Over the years they’ve evolved into an opportunity to get together with tribal members from across the USA and Canada—not to mention the chance to participate in a dance and music competition with prizes totaling more than $100,000 in cash.  This makes for fantastic family fun as tribes try to outdo each other when it comes to presenting their colorful outfits, intricate steps, and beautiful—and to my ears, often haunting—music.  Just listen to that drum circle!

This year’s get-together included representatives from 65 tribes and more than 450 participants of all ages, including newborns in fringe-covered diapers!  My favorite part is the Grand Entry, when hundreds of revelers enter the arena in one of the most kaleidoscopic processions you can imagine.  Their spectacular regalia, with its beautiful beading and fanciful feathers, never fails to astound the many who amass each year.

If all this activity makes you work up an appetite, there’s plenty to munch on, including Indian tacos and my favorite, fried flatbread drizzled with honey.  After a bit of shopping at the booths of the myriad vendors who come to win you over with their wonderful wares, I was back to the main arena to watch more dancing and listen to that amazing music.  Make sure you put this one on the calendar and don’t miss the wowwow of the powwow.