Pascua Yaqui Festival Stirs Up Unique Arts & Fun

February 2, 2014 |
A detail of "Searching-lightning before the storm," by Councilman Flores, exhibits at the art festival.

A detail of “Searching-lightning before the storm,” by Marcelino Flores, exhibits at the art festival.

Nothing quite captures the Pascua Yaqui’s spirit like a visit to the Nation, set southwest of Tucson in 1,000-plus acres adjacent to San Xavier’s eastern end of the O’odham reservation. On Saturday, Feb. 8, the public is invited to glimpse beyond the Nation’s ceremonial legends via the 2nd Annual Pascua Yaqui Festival of the Arts. The event at Pueblo Park (adjacent to the tribe’s  wellness center at 5305 W. Calle Torim) promises to be a creative mash-up of contemporary Native American arts, entertainment and foods – all informed by the tribe’s complex and rich cultural heritage.

While most of us feel a kinship to the Pasqui Yaqui’s venerated deer dancing, there is more to uncover, as festival goers will learn. Combining pre-Lent community fiesta with authentic native sounds, sights and taste, there will be something for everyone at this showcase which kicks up the fun factor from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The KPYT-LP 100.3  FM Yoeme radio station, owned by the tribe, is hosting the entertainment, with Station Manager Hector Youtsey and Program Director Gabriel Otero DJing a mix of Tejano, cumbia, classic rock and local sounds. Solid A-talent will rotate through, including The Demons (classic rock covers), Dream Chaserz (hip hop), Intertwine (funk/hip hop) and Vox Urbana (cumbia).

In a multicultural blending, Tony Redhouse (Navajo) will perform hoop dances, while master basket weavers, painters, gourd and jewelry artisans from other regional tribes also will participate. A core of Pascua Yaqui mixed media artists, painters and carvers also will be featured.

Food trucks will be on hand to provide the good eats, while hands-on activities for children will be set up in the park including mural making, led by local and visiting graffiti artists like LA’s Vyal Reyes as well as Rene Strike One Garcia, Renelle White Buffalo and Thomas Breeze.

The Lowrider Car and Bike Show is part of the 2nd Annual Pascua Yaqui Festival of the Arts. photo courtesy of Pascua Yaqui Tribe

The Lowrider Car and Bike Show is part of the 2nd Annual Pascua Yaqui Festival of the Arts.
photo courtesy of Pascua Yaqui Tribe

In a motorized version of art and culture – the Lowrider Car and Bike Show will move festival goers to the street to see Goodtime Car Club, Sophisticated Few Car Club, Swift Car Club, Unidos Car Club, Lowdown Bike Club, Ariza Bike Club, Stylistics Car Club, Dukes Car Club, Nemisis Car Club, Cristales Car Club and others. Cars and bikes will be judged according to the decade in which the vehicle was manufactured. First, second and third place trophies will be awarded along with other awards including Best of Show, Best Paint and Best Interior.

The Tucson Chapter of the Cherry Bomb Dolls (that high-style national non-profit social club that embraces the pinup and car scene while raising funds for local communities) will be there to support the artists and the clubs.

“It’s a multi-cultural community event that celebrates Pascua Yaqui and collective Native American creativity,” says Maria Arvayo, one of the organizers who also is Interim Director of the Nation’s Development Services. The festival is presented in partnership with the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the State of Arizona agency providing partial funding for the festival.

“Arts are an important and often overlooked part of a healthy local economy,” Arvayo comments. “The tribe is seeking to invigorate its own economy and promote artistic entrepreneurship by providing a venue for local native artists to share and sell their work. We are recruiting traditional and contemporary artists, and opening the event to the larger Tucson community.”

The festival serves up a strong assortment of crowd-pleasing music, food and eclectic pueblo vibe in New Pascua’s Pueblo Park, 5305 W. Calle Torim, Saturday, Feb. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Learn more about artists and being part of the Nation’s cultural energy: or (520) 879-6316.

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Category: Arts, Community, Events