The first Festival of Native American Culture will be held under the auspices of the Arizona Archaeology Society June 5-13.
Festival events will take place at locations throughout the Verde Valley with several slated for VOC. An opportunity for cultural enrichment and entertainment for Villagers, the festival is also expected to benefit Village businesses by attracting significant numbers of visitors to the area.
The entire project stems from the volunteer efforts of Ken Zoll, Verde Valley Chapter President of AAS. His goal is to "encourage a greater understanding of our land's indigenous peoples and their many contributions to the world."
Ken and his wife, Nancy, hail from Chicago where Ken was the chief information technology officer for a federal agency. They had vacationed in Sedona since 1995. When the time came to retire, Ken said, "The Village just seemed right."
The couple moved here in 2004 and embarked on new life ways.
Nancy developed talent in the art of jewelry making while Ken was drawn to archaeology and native cultures.
He began as a volunteer docent at local heritage sites and served as Cultural Resources Chairman for the Friends of the Forest before becoming VVAS President this year.
During his service, Ken developed a serious interest in the study of indigenous rock art and has published two books on the subject.
He donates all book profits to the Friends of the Forest and Archaeological Society to promote the care of the forest and heritage sites therein.
Ken's organizational efforts have attracted top archaeologists and leading Native American artists, musicians, film makers and dancers to the festival.
He has also contracted several VOC businesses to host events. Tequa Plaza, The Hilton, and Canyon Moon Theatre will stage art shows, films, concerts and dances while the Marketplace Café will be adding traditional Native American entrées to their menu for the week.
The Hopi owned Kokopelli Inn has stepped up by offering reduced rates for out of town festival participants.
Let's take this opportunity to expand our cultural horizons, try different foods, and generally have some constructive fun while supporting local businesses.
For complete Festival information log onto www.festivalofnativeamericanculture.org.