Setup for the show took place on Wednesday the 6th. Many volunteers gathered to help hang rugs, arrange displays, and set up the general infrastructure that was necessary for the show. It always seems like such a miraculous and magical thing to witness the transformation of the Snow Park Lodge into the setting for our rug show.
Programs for school children have been a part of the rug show for most of its duration. Three of these presentations took place on Thursday and Friday with around 500 children having an opportunity to learn about Navajo people and their culture. Children had a chance to shop afterwards and all left with a piece of Navajo fry bread to top off their taste of what life is like for their neighbors to the south.
Many of the classes sponsor Elders and bring them gifts. Following the presentations the children in these classes have a chance to meet individually with their adopted Elder and make their presentations.
Following the school programs on Thursday afternoon it has become a tradition to stage some entertainment for the Elders and their families. This year it was a trip back to the 1950's and 60's when Elvis and pink poodle skirts ruled. After a ride in the back of a Chevy pickup everyone had a chance to twist their hips with Elvis followed by refreshments served by our elegant wait staff.
Thursday evening there was a dinner hosted by the Grubsteak Restaurant in Park City. Following a delicious meal there was a period of sharing and honoring. Many dedicated volunteers were honored with rugs that had been donated by the Elders. Linda received a special gift of a Pendleton vest to honor her years of service to the Elders
Throughout the show there were a number of special events. The first of these was the Friday night opening gala featuring our benefit auction. This is the only part of the show where ANE makes money to help defray the cost of staging the event. Results of the auction this year set a new record for the event.
Since this was such an important celebration, the auction was preceded by a number of special presentations which included honoring the donors and foundations who have supported the program and rug show over its 30 year history.
At mid-day during the show the Elders and their families gather upstairs for lunch. Each day was the occasion for at least one special event: a raffle, a tarp event where gently used clothing was available, and a visit by our own Navajo Santa Clause delivering stockings to everyone. Linda also discussed the weaving theme for the next show in 2020.
The Shi Yazhi Ambassador program took place on Saturday afternoon. Each year young Navajo girls from families living off the reservation have an opportunity to learn about their culture and compete to represent ANE throughout the year on various occasions. This event was preceded by young Navajos performing a variety of traditional songs and dances.
In the early afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday our weavers present a demonstration of their artistry. People have an opportunity to not only see and hear about the rugs but also can witness rugs in the process of being woven and wool in the process of being prepared for the loom.
Saturday afternoon's special event was the popular Navajo Idol contest in which participants were given a theme upon which to base a song. Winners were chosen by audience applause. Winners in each category received generous gift baskets. Elvis returned for this portion of the rug show to give the singers some additional inspiration.
The Veterans Ceremony on Sunday morning is one of the most popular and moving events of the show. Organized by Howard and Beverly Benally, the ceremony includes a presentation of the colors, patriotic songs, speakers and prayers. All veterans in attendance are honored by the Elders and also receive special gifts.
For many years the rug show has closed with a Pow Wow organized by Harry James. This is another very popular event and always brings in a big crowd. The Friendship Dance at the end is a fitting conclusion for both the Pow Wow and the show itself.