The Tradition Continues at the 105th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair, Oct. 3–7 | Cherokee, NC

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The Tradition Continues at the 105th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair, Oct. 3–7

Every member of the family can plan on having a good time at the Cherokee Indian Fair Tuesday, October 3, through Saturday, October 7, 2017. It’s an event that combines the familiar joy of carnival rides and games that adults may remember experiencing from their childhood, along with traditional Cherokee stickball games, crafts, and food vendors. Each day brings us a theme for activities and a new group of people to honor.

Parade Day

The fun begins with an hour-long parade at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3. The starting point will be from the Cherokee Harrah’s Casino and Resort and the parade will conclude at the Museum of the Cherokee Indians. Under the theme “One Nation, One Community, Always United,” the line-up includes bands, pageant contestants, floats, and royalty. A highlight of this year’s parade will be the appearance of the Western Carolina University Marching Band. This is the first time in memory that the band will be going the Cherokee Indian Fair Parade!

Get there early (by at least 30 minutes) to grab a good spot as there will be no parking after 15 minutes prior to the parade, until it’s over. Remember to bring a lawn chair. While the parade is free and open to the public, festivities at the Fairgrounds following the parade cost $10. For more information on the Parade, call the Cherokee Welcome Center at 828-359-6490 or email

A New Day, a New Category

Following Parade Day, we have Children’s Day on Wednesday, Elder’s Day on Thursday, Veteran’s and Visitor Appreciation Day on Friday, and Community Day on Saturday.

Wednesday—Childrens Day

“We are really excited for this year’s fair we believe everyone is going to love it,” says Lisa Frady, Events & Tour Group Coordinator. Lil Mike and Funny Bone of the Pawnee and Choctaw tribes of Oklahoma City, will perform for children (you may recognize their catchy Rain Dance from a 2013 episode of America’s Got Talent). Kids will also participate in a scavenger hunt, which is new this year.

Thursday—Elders Day

On Elder’s Day, breakfast and lunch will be served to elders. There will also be Bingo and door prizes. Members of Parks and Rec will lead senior games from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. An elder-only cornhole tournament and lip-syncing contest will also take place.

Breakfast (yogurt, fruit cup, juice) will be available for the elders. Lunch will include country style steak, cream corn, rolls, and tea. Coffee will be available all day.

Friday—Veterans and Visitor Appreciation Day

Attendees on Veteran’s and Visitor Appreciation Day will get in for a discounted price of $7. This day specially honors women veterans. A Veterans Walk takes place at 10 a.m. followed by a Veterans Lunch and Welcome for veterans, the Cherokee Indian Fire Dept. Cherokee Indian Police Dept, Cherokee Emergency Medical Service, and Cherokee Emergency Management.

During the opening ceremony at 1 p.m., guests will experience a presentation of colors and Quilts of Valor, among other attendee favorites. Quilts of Valor is a nonprofit foundation that honors physically or psychologically wounded service members with a freedom quilt.

At 2 p.m., environmental nonprofit organization Wings to Soar, which cares for non-releasable birds of prey, will present at 2 p.m., followed by a children’s stickball game at 3 p.m. Other activities on this day include a special tribute by the Trippin Hardie Band, Traditional Dress presentation by Barbara Duncan of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and a narrated slideshow of the Women’s Auxiliary Year in Review. Night entertainment will be the Toppers, a classic rock, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s music band.

Saturday—Community Day

Community Day is the last day of the Fair. Organizer Chris Watty has scheduled a full day of competitive events, including archery, blowgun, tug of war, relay, dancing, wood chopping, comedy skits, etc. “We have games, live bands, and community socializing all day,” he says. “But it’s not just for the Cherokee people. This day is for everybody to come bask in our Cherokee culture and gathering.”

Ticket & Hours Information

Day                  Day's Name                                               Gates Open        Gates Close     Admission
Tuesday          Parade Day (4:00 p.m.)                          5:00 p.m.           10:00 p.m.      $10
Wednesday    Children's Day                                           9:00 a.m.          11:00 p.m.       $10
Thursday        Elder's Day                                                 8:30 a.m.          10:00 p.m.      $10
Friday             Veterans & Visitor Appreciation Day   11:00 a.m.          11:00 p.m.      $7
Saturday         Community Day                                       9:00 a.m.           12:00 p.m.     $15

Admission is free the entire week for children ages 6 & under, enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), and enrolled members of other federally recognized tribes, but they will need to provide proof of enrollment upon arrival. On Wednesday, Children’s Day, youth ages 17 and under will be free and all children can obtain a wristband from the times of noon until 11 p.m. when gates close. This wristband allows children to experience all the rides free of charge. Children also get a free bag lunch on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tickets can be purchased at the front gate entrance of the Cherokee Fairgrounds, 545 Tsali Blvd in Cherokee, NC.

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