About 2,000 spectators are expected for the fourth annual Pow Wow event Saturday and Sunday at the Waterford Fairgrounds off State Route 339.
Sponsored by The People's Nation, Turquoise Spirit Gift Shop and Boy Scout Troop 222, the annual event is designed to celebrate Ohio's Native American culture and heritage through a series of activities, dances and special events.
Both men's and women's traditional dances, with different styles of regalia dancing, hoop dancers and other specialty dances, will take place each morning. Afternoon dances and drumming will be open for public participation.
"A lot of times kids are shy or afraid to join in the adult dances... so we have a special 'candy dance' that we offer just for them to enjoy," said Christina Thrasher, co-director of the event. "Candy and small toys are placed in the dance circle and each time the music stops the kids scramble to claim an item. ... It's a lot like musical chairs with our own twist.
"The dance allows the kids to really interact and not feel self-conscious," she said.
Native American food and craft vendors will also be on-site.
"We have about 20 different Native American craft vendors attending the Pow Wow who will be selling items handmade in the USA; nothing mass-produced," Thrasher said.
Thrasher said Pow Wow events are important to preserve for future generations.
"For us the event is about sharing our history and heritage and keeping it alive," she said. "A lot has been lost over the years. We want people of all races and creeds to understand the different tribes and their different cultures. What we find is that these events excite people to research and learn more about their own family history and genealogy."
A special hands-on activity focused on making arrowheads will be available to all ages.
Special guests attending the Pow Wow include Marvin Red Eye, who served as an actor in the movie "Dances with Wolves" with Kevin Costner, and Dancing Elk, who served as the lead dancer in the recent movie "New World," featuring Colin Farrell.
Pow Wow event times are noon to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $2 per adult and $1 per child. All veterans will receive free admission.
A series of raffles, live auctions, 50/50 drawings and more will take place during the event. All proceeds will go directly back toward supporting the event in 2011.