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Queens

All are invited to New York City’s oldest and largest Native American party this weekend.

The 39th annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow will fill Queens County Farm Museum with colorful costumes, ancient rituals and beautiful crafts for three days (Friday, July 28, through Sunday, July 30).

More than 40 Native American nations — with as many as 180 performers — will engage in time-honored, inter-tribal dance contests in the Glen Oaks farm’s apple orchard. The anticipated 4,000 attendees can expect to see Hoop, Smoke, Gourd, Grass and Yaqui Deer dances as well as regional choreography by tribes from around the United States. Plus, participants will get together for a traditional bonfire ceremony at sunset on the first two days.

The competition might be fierce, but the pow wow is actually a social gathering which promotes fun, community and reverence for nature and life. There will be a large selection of Native American art, crafts, jewelry and food for sale. Items will include pottery, beads, shell art, Kachina dolls, weaved clothes, musical instruments and embroidery.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to take hayrides and explore the 47-acre farm and its glass greenhouse complex, livestock, bee hives, planting fields, herb garden and vineyard. In operation since 1697, Queens Farm also features a restored farmhouse that dates back to 1750.

The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers nonprofit group was founded by descendants of the Mohawk, Hopi, Winnebago and San Blas tribes in 1963. Members travel the country with a mission to maintain, promote and teach Native American customs. They connected with Queens Farm after arrowheads and other artifacts were found on the site in the 1970s.

Queens Farm is located at 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy. off Exit 24 of the Grand Central Parkway in Glen Oaks. The pow wow’s schedule is as follows: July 28 (Friday), 6 to 10 p.m.; July 29 (Saturday), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then again 7 to 10 p.m.; and July 30 (Sunday), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults (with a $16 weekend pass) and $5 for children under age 13 (with a $7 weekend pass). All proceeds will go to the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers Scholarship Fund and the Queens County Farm Museum Education Fund. There is no ATM on site, but credit cards will be accepted for general admission at the entrance.

Images: Queens County Farm Museum

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