A Celebration of Life: The 44th Annual 4th of July Powwow in Cherokee, NC | Cherokee, NC

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A Celebration of Life: The 44th Annual 4th of July Powwow in Cherokee, NC

Dancers, drummers, and singers from many Native American nations will come together again this year to share their talents at the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ 44th Annual 4th of July Powwow on Friday, July 5, 2019, to Sunday, July 7, 2019. Hundreds of competitors of all ages, from Tiny Tots (five and under) to the Golden Age (55 and older), will dance alongside enrolled tribal members from across the states. 

One of the Biggest and Best

The Cherokee Powwow attracts people from all around the world, and is considered one of the biggest and best powwows in the country. This three day-event features dynamic dancing and drumming competitions, tribal regalia, crafts, food, and fireworks. Set against a lush mountain backdrop, dancers will compete for over $102,000 in prize money in categories including Traditional, Jingle, Grass, Chicken, Cloth, Buckskin, and Fancy— one of the most exciting competitions to watch, as dancers perform at dizzying speeds. 

The Grand Entry

Don't miss the Grand Entry, when all the dancers come into the arena together and dance for points. As many as 500 dancers may partake, seeking attention from the judges and putting on a spectacular display. The Grand Entry takes place on Friday, July 5 at 7 pm, Saturday, July 6 at 1 and 7 pm, and Sunday, July 7  at 1 pm.

What to Expect

"The Cherokee powwow is a celebration of life," says organizer Daniel Tramper. "When you're here, you're home." If this is your first Powwow, Daniel says you can expect to experience a lot of Native culture from different tribes. People from many different nations travel long distances every year to spend time with the larger Native American family. And then there's the spirit of the drum, which not only keeps the beat for the dancers, but acts as the heartbeat for the event. It's a powerful experience, unlike anything else. 

On theme with the holiday weekend, you can also expect to see one of the best fireworks displays in Western North Carolina starting around 10 pm on Saturday, July 6. 

Native Crafts and Food

Take home a piece of the powwow and shop traditional crafts on sale by artisans from various nations. The one-of-a-kind crafts include pottery, beadwork, weaving, and carving, as well as bone and shell work. An array of food vendors will also be on site serving up crowd-pleasing fare, including some favorite local Cherokee food vendors.

This ticketed event is open toThe annual Cherokee Powwow is considered one of the biggest and best powwows in the country. This Powwow takes place July 5–7, 2019, in Cherokee, NC. Learn more about this beloved three-day event. the public. Everyone is invited to the Cherokee Powwow to hear, watch, enjoy, and learn about Native American cultures in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. We hope you will join us!

All photos by Kristy Herron.

Schedule of Events 

Friday, July 5, 2019

5 p.m. Gates Open/Arts & Crafts/Concession Open

12–6 p.m. Registration (begins for dancers at 12 p.m.)

6:45 p.m. Drum Roll will be called

7 p.m. Presentation of Colors and Grand Entry, Men's Grass Specials, Tiny Tots, Junior Girls, Junior Boys, Golden Age Men, Golden Age Women, Women's Northern and Southern Traditional Specials, Cherokee Warrior Specials

10:30 p.m. Friday Night Closes

Saturday, July 6, 2019

9 a.m.–12 p.m. Registration 

12 p.m. Gates Open

12:45 p.m. Drum Roll will be called

1 p.m. Grand Entry

1:30 p.m. Intertribal, Tiny Tots, Drum Contest, Men's Smoke Dance Specials, Junior Girls/Junior Boys, Teen Contest, Men's/Women's Dance Contest

5 p.m. Intertribal

5:30–6:30 p.m. Supper Break

6:45 p.m. Drum Roll will be called

7 p.m. Grand Entry, Tiny Tots/Jr.'s, Women's Contest, Men's Contest, Women's Smoke Dance Specials, Intertribal, Men's Fancy Dance Specials

10 p.m. Fireworks and Closing of Powwow 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

12 p.m. Gates Open

1 p.m. Grand Entry/Tiny Tots, Intertribal, Women's Contest, Men's Contest, Specials, Men's Team Dance, Women's Team Dance, Drum Contest, Ties and Runoffs, Intertribal

6 p.m. Winners Announced


Acquoni Expo Center, Cherokee, NC 28719


Cost is $12 daily. Please note that this event is cash only. Children 6 and under are free.

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