In the community

Four Rivers to showcase local artists at Saturday’s Tradition Keepers Folklife Festival

Dancers from the Nampa-based Ballet Folklórico Mexico Lindo performed dances associated with the Mexican revolution. (The Enterprise/file)

ONTARIO – The daylong Tradition Keepers Folklife Festival at Four Rivers Cultural Center will showcase a slightly different look this year but there will still be plenty for local residents to see and do this Saturday.

The free event, which highlights eastern Oregon’s traditional arts and artists, will consist of two sessions this year.

In the past, the event was geared toward a more one-on-one experience between with various artists who displayed work from bead and cradleboard making, silversmith artistry and horsehide whip braiding.

This year, though, the event will be more virtual because of Covid, said Allison Simon, Four Rivers Cultural Center programing and outreach coordinator.

The first session Saturday – from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. – will be an interactive experience and geared more toward youth, said Simon.

“We are showing videos of (Japanese) Taiko drummers, saddle making and the fun part is having the people who created those videos teach lessons,” said Simon.

The videos – which will also include topics such as cowboy boot making and traditional Mexican dance and legends of the northern Paiute Indians – will be shown in the Meyer McLean Performing Arts Theater.

After the videos, the crowd can break up and then go to individual rooms in the center to participate in classes, such as instruction on Taiko drumming, said Simon.

The second session – also in the theater – begins at 7 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. and features live performance of cowboy poetry from area poet Randi Johnson.

The session will also include video of Sudanese Henna – a type of temporary dye design on hands and feet – folkloric music, saddle making and leather crafting along with Basque music and dancing.

“I think it is important we maintain connections to our traditions. It is important we share the cultural traditions of our region,” said Simon.

For more information contact Four Rivers Cultural Center at 541-889-8191 or for the full schedule go online to

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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