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Grand Casino to host 34th annual Red Earth Festival

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Art made by Creek artist from Edmond Les Berry Hill.
Bracelets made by Caddo artist Yonavea Hawkins from Choctaw.

Shawnee community members and surrounding areas will gather for Native American art, diversity and culture at the 34th annual Red Earth Festival coming to the Grand Casino Hotel Resort in Shawnee Sept. 5-6.

Events will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 6.

According to Red Earth Communications Director Eric Oesch, for the past 33 years various Native artists from all over Oklahoma and the country have participated in this event.

“Shawnee will be at the center of western and Native art as central Oklahoma celebrates the Native cultures that make our state unique,” Oesch said.

Oesch said attendees will be able to view all kinds of art and shop in the Festival Art art market for many different items.

“Festival guests will experience the artistic creations of some of the country’s most celebrated artists as they offer for sale exquisite examples of contemporary and traditional paintings, beadwork, basketry, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, graphics and culture attire,” Oesch said. 

Oesch said the festival is a yearly success and this year’s festival will be no different as various artists from Shawnee and other areas will be featured. 

The artists from Oklahoma include from Shawnee, Amber Duboise –Shepherd (Navajo/Potawatomi) - Recipient of the 2019 Red Earth Emerging Artist scholarship award and Gary Montgomery (Seminole) – Recipient of the 2010 ”AT&T” Grand Award for Best of Show.

From Norman the artists include Patta LT (Choctaw), Dylan Cavin (Choctaw), Jeri Redcorn (Caddo) and Antonia Belindo (Kiowa).

The remaining artists include Lauretta Newby-Coker (Cherokee) from Nobel, Yonavea Hawkins (Caddo) from Choctaw, Linda Kukuk (Choctaw) from Oklahoma City and Stuart Sampson (Citizen Potawatomi) and Les Berryhill (Creek) from Edmond. 

Oesch said in addition to celebrating Native American art and culture, the Red Earth Festival will benefit Shawnee by bringing in tourism.

“Our hope is people will travel to Shawnee to attend Red Earth, stay in Shawnee hotels, eat at Shawnee restaurants, purchase gasoline in Shawnee and choose to visit other tourism sites within the city,” Oesch said. 

The communications director said Red Earth has worked with Stacy Cramer-Moore with VisitShawnee to market the festival to a public that appreciates Native art and culture.

Red Earth decided to have the festival in Shawnee because it was uncertain if the Cox Convention Center would be available Oesch said.

“We looked at sites throughout the state and determined the Grand Casino Hotel Resort the best to meet our needs,” Oesch said. “Their staff has bent over backwards to provide outstanding customer service for us as a client.

Oesch said there will be various safety measures implemented to protect attendees from spreading and contracting COVID-19.  

“The Grand Casino Hotel Resort will provide manual temperature checks upon entry and require masks be worn throughout the property,” Oesch said. “Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the building, while all employees wear masks and gloves.”

In addition, Oesch said special attention will be given to the Festival Art Market to ensure social distancing and the Grand Casino has an air filtration system that untilates and treats the air every eight minutes. 

Oesch said this year’s festival will not include a powwow due to COVID-19, but Red Earth hopes to have the powwow presentation in 2021. 

“In the meantime, we will offer beautiful Native dance presentations featuring the colorful dances our guests have grown accustomed to seeing,” Oesch said. “The shows will be offered on the hour during limited attendance presentations.”

For more information visit www.RedEarth.org.