One of my favorite festivals in the Finger Lakes region is Ganondagan’s Native American Dance & Music Festival and Art Market because it is so distinctive. 

The theme for this year’s festival is “Fusion” which resonates throughout the programming with performances by Arvel Bird, Lord of the Strings, an award-winning violinist, known for his Native Tribal Fusion music.

David Wolfman will cook up some fun at the festival

David Wolfman will cook up some fun at the festival

Celebrity Chef David Wolfman, will also echo the Fusion theme.  He’ll be demonstrating his Aboriginal Fusion Cuisine, which infuses classic International recipes with North American indigenous food for inspired results.  Wolfman is culinary arts professor at George Brown College in Toronto and Host, Writer, and Executive Producer of the nationally televised Cooking with the Wolfman™ program on The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).  Ganondagan is partnering with Wegmans in Canandaigua to bring “The Wolfman” to the festival.

Cercle Celtique is a Breton Dance troupe that hails from Rochester’s sister city in Rennes, France.  Dressed in their traditional Breton costumes, they’ll add a French flare to the programming which, each year, incorporates traditional performances by indigenous people into the program.  Cercle Celtique was formed in 1932 to preserve and promote traditional Breton dance and music.

Iroquois social dances are a favorite with audiences

Iroquois social dances are a favorite with audiences - Photo courtesy of David Mitchell

 Audiences at the Ganondagan Native American Dance & Music Festival are always thrilled to see The Buffalo Creek Dancers and Ganondagan’s Spirit Dancers perform traditional Iroquois Social Dances as well as a variety of other dances that tap into Iroquois and Seneca roots.  

The Iroquois and Seneca cultures are known for their strong oral tradition of storytelling.  Not only does Arvel Bird weave stories into his musical performance, but two well-known storytellers will share Native American stories at the festival using very different styles.  Perry Ground, an Onondaga of the Turtle Clan, (featured in the above YouTube video) brings his stories to life using vivid descriptions, a rhythmic voice and an energetic stage presence.  In contrast, Barbara Bethmann-Mahooty will present her tales using a more traditional style.

Ganondagan’s Native American Dance & Music Festival will be held at 1488 State Route 444, Victor, NY on July 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Shuttle transportation is available to the festival from the Victor Firemen’s Field on Maple Avenue in Victor (which turns into Route 444).

The charge is $8 for adults, $5 for Seniors and Students (13+), $2 for Children (4-12) and free for children under 4 and for Friends of Ganondagan Members showing their current membership cards.

In later posts, we’ll cover the Art Market and the many workshops, demonstrations, fun family activities,  and food offered at Ganondagan’s Native American Dance & Music Festival.