Dancer

A native dancer performs at a previous Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market.

Submitted photo

The Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market may have reached the half-century mark, but the state’s largest Indian market continues to combine innovative new artists and activities with the timeless traditions of the Southwest.

Beginning as a small community event, the fair is now a world-acclaimed festival that draws nearly 20,000 visitors and more than 700 of the nation’s most outstanding and successful American Indian artists. Among the guests are thousands of collectors from across the country who arrive early to be the first to purchase one-of-a-kind artwork like jewelry, pottery, baskets, Katsina dolls, textiles, fine art and more.

But there’s more to the fair than just American Indian art. In fact, the fair is the perfect place for families wishing to enjoy a cultural and inexpensive weekend of music, entertainment and food. Festival goers can enjoy an array of American Indian music and dance performances in the museum’s outdoor amphitheatre throughout the weekend. A variety of foods including American Indian favorites like fry bread, posole stew, piki bread and Hopi stew as well as Mexican and American fare tempt the tastebuds. Plus, new this year, visitors can watch chefs like Chef Freddie Bitsoie (Diné) demonstrate how to make foods with an indigenous twist, such as tepary bean stew with buffalo bacon or seared trout with sumac and onion sauce.

Entertainment features American Indian and indigenous entertainers, musicians and dancers, some of whom have not visited Phoenix for many years. The entertainment schedule for both stages on both days, along with the schedule of book signings and chef demonstrations, is available at www. heard.org/fair.

Shonto Begay (Navajo) is this year’s signature artist. Begay is known for his evocative, impressionistic imagery depicted in paintings and illustrations.  Another new feature is O’odham: People of the Desert and Rivers. Artists and cultural practitioners from the four O’odham tribes of Arizona and northern Mexico will showcase their ancient ways of surviving and thriving in the deep deserts and along the waterways.

This year’s fair is from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 5 and 6. A Best of Show reception will be 5:30 p.m. March 4. Visitors can preview the winning artwork, meet the artists and enjoy an elegant dinner. 

Heard Museum is at 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Single-day admission is $15 for adults; free for children age 16 and under; $5 for students with ID. Two-day passes are available. Tickets are available in advance and at the gate.

Best of Show reception is $75 for Heard Museum members, $100 for non-members. Tickets are on sale now. Best of Show tickets sell out fast. Tickets to the reception are available by visiting heard.org/fair.

Heard Museum members also can get in early during exclusive Early Bird Shopping starting at 8:30 a.m. March 5. To become a member, call 602-251-0261 or visit www.heard.org/membership. All admission prices include the festival and the museum.

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