Thursday, May 27, 2010

Celebrate the spirit…

Awaken your native spirit this weekend at the Third Annual Native Circle Touch the Earth Festival on the shores of Great Lake Ontario. Experience indigenous music and dancing, storytelling, demonstrations, arts and crafts and food at this unique celebration.

The line-up for this festival includes Sacred Winds and The Storytellers, both from New Hampshire; as well as the Thunder Hawk Singers from Mexico, N.Y.; Gypsy Red, from Parish, N.Y.; and the head-liner Corn Bred from Syracuse, N.Y. Each will entertain audiences with sounds, songs and stories in their own blend of traditional Native American, Mi’kmaq, folk, and rhythm and blues.

The event also features interactive Iroquois social dancing with the People of the Standing Stone, a dance troupe from the Oneida Nation, and totem spirits workshops with Laura “Bright Star” Vannah.

Children of all ages will enjoy painting “spirit rocks,” making beaded bracelets, and learning about dream catchers and traditional Native American clothing. Sit for a visit with Richard and Leslie LaCrosse and see their early Native American encampment. For those with an adventurous spirit, Nancy Kaiser will lead a nature hike to sample wild edibles. The Salmon River International Sportfishing Museum will host displays and demonstrations as well.

The following pictures illustrate some of the festival highlights from previous years. Except where noted, they were generously provided by Donald Blackfox.

Leslie and Hannah LaCrosse at a traditional
Native American campsite
Photo provided by Sandra Scott

Performers David Searching Owl, Sacred Winds; Donald Blackfox, the Thunder Hawk Singers; Joseph Firecrow; Ken Quiet Hawk, The Storytellers

Performers David Searching Owl and Janet Quiet Dove, Sacred Winds;Laura “Bright Star” Vannah; Ken Quiet Hawk and Deborah New Moon Rising, The Storytellers

Audiences relax on a sunny afternoon
and enjoy indigenous music and entertainment

Reed Young, Floyd Vickery, Laura “Bright Star” Vannah,
and Dallas DeFee celebrate cultural heritage at the festival

Joanne Hart’s Earthstone Jewelry from the Onondaga Nation

New this year to the Native Circle Festival, Gypsy Red performed
at the Arts in the Square Festival in Central Square
Photo provided by Kevin Abbott

Deborah New Moon Rising of The Storytellers

Audiences are captivated by traditional Native American storytelling

Corn Bred headlines the 2010 Native Circle Touch the Earth Festival

The focus of the Native Circle Touch the Earth Festival is to strengthen the inner spirit and celebrate our native cultural heritage. This not-for-profit event combines history, education and fun with family-friendly performances and activities.

Bring your own curious spirit and join the fun at Mexico Point Park just off state Route 104B in the town of Mexico. Festivities at this scenic lakeside park run from noon to 5 p.m. on both Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30. Admission is free.

For more information about the festival, go to or call 315-963-3820.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Into the Wild…

This weekend, let’s go into the wild with the Fulton Art Association (FAA) as they hold their annual art show and competition. The special category theme for this year is “Wild Big Cats.” Thank you to Kathy Mihalek, president of the FAA, for giving us a preview of some of the pieces in the show.

The exhibit features FAA artists from Fulton, Baldwinsville, Central Square, Hannibal, Liverpool, Mexico, Oswego and Phoenix. They will be competing for first-place, second-place and honorable mention ribbons in a variety of mediums. There will also be awards for Best of Show and Viewer’s Choice. The latter is given to an artist who receives the most votes from the public for its favorite piece.

There will be prizes for the public as well. FAA members have donated several pieces to be raffled at the show. The winners will be announced on Sunday; however, ticket holders do not need to be present to win. The proceeds from the raffle benefit the FAA’s annual high school invitational in February.

Some of the entrants in the FAA’s show this weekend are also participating in the exhibit, “On My Own Time,” a program co-sponsored by the Everson Museum of Art, the Cultural Resources Council and several area companies. Its mission is to foster a closer relationship between the business community and the arts.

Pictured below are two FAA members who have works exhibited in both shows:

Rhoda Cunningham of Oswego

Diane Shumway of Mexico

Two framed prints donated by FAA artists for raffle

The Fulton Art Association is open to all artists regardless of age, experience, and artistic style or medium. The group’s roster includes children, seniors and everyone in-between, whether they are full-time artists or dabbling Picassos, shutterbugs and ceramicists.

Now in its 37th year, the FAA is a vital component of the arts community in Fulton, New York and its environs. The organization strives to promote awareness and education as well as to provide encouragement, support and advocacy for the arts.

Come to the FAA’s annual art show and competition in the Community Room of the Fulton Municipal Building at 141 South First Street. Vote for your favorite piece in the exhibition. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 22 and from 12 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 23. A reception is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

For more information about this show or the Fulton Art Association, call 315-532-3803.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Commemorating heroes of the War of 1812 (Vol. III)…

This weekend, come to the Fort Ontario State Historic Site in Oswego, New York to re-discover the history in your backyard. Learn all about the 1814 Battle of Oswego as part of the upcoming 200th commemoration of the War of 1812.

Because of its geographical location, Lake Ontario was a major staging area for the battle between American and British naval fleets, the latter being located in Canada. As both sides fought for control of the lake, shipbuilding had become the race and there were, in the spring of 1814, three American ships awaiting armament at Sackets Harbor, New York. The naval supplies for these warships had been stored at Oswego Falls (Fulton, New York) and the British were determined to make their capture.

British forces prepare for an amphibious assault on the beach at Fort Ontario. By William Steele. Collection of Paul Lear.

On May 4, the British navy, led by Commander-in-Chief Sir James Lucas Yeo, departed Kingston, Ontario and prepared to launch an attack on Fort Ontario. Assigned to protect the fort and, more importantly, the stores at Oswego Falls, was Lieutenant-Colonel George E. Mitchell.

Upon the arrival of the British, Mitchell implemented key military strategy and dispatched orders to sink the schooner Growler (to prevent its capture) and pitch every available tent on the opposite side of the river (to give the impression of a large show of force). These tactics brought the British to the shores of the fort where they were repelled by the Americans – with a little help from Mother Nature. A strong wind had come up, forcing the fleet back to the lake.

British sailors climb the bluff and ramparts of Fort Ontario while the British Marines, De Watteville Regiment, and Glengarry Light Infantry attack from the east. By William Steele. Collection of the Public Archives of Canada.

The following day, May 6, 1814, the British returned and immediately ascended the bluff at Fort Ontario and took its capture. Unable to defend the fort with his small battalion, Mitchell retreated to Oswego Falls to protect the naval stores hidden there, which included the main cable for the frigate, Superior.

By the next morning, the British had set several fort buildings ablaze and left with what little supplies remained. With Fort Ontario destroyed, it was imperative to transport the naval supplies to Sackets Harbor where shipbuilding was nearing completion.

British forces suffered many casualties in their attack on Fort Ontario. Here, wounded British sailors are transported back to their ships. By William Steele. Collection of Fort Ontario State Historic Site.

This Saturday, May 8, join retired U.S. Army Colonel Harold Youmans, historian and editor of the Journal of the War of 1812, as he presents a program on the 1814 Battle of Oswego. The featured speaker of this commemoration event, Youmans’ presentation begins at 1:15 p.m. at the Fort Ontario State Historic Site on East Fourth Street in Oswego.