Four Rivers to feature local artists at the Tradition Keepers Folklife festival on Saturday


The free event will take place in two sessions on Saturday. The first session will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. while the second will start at 7 p.m. and run until 9 p.m.

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

ONTARIO – The full-day tradition keeper folk life festival at the Four Rivers Cultural Center will showcase a slightly different look this year, but there will still be plenty to see and do for local residents this Saturday.

The free event, which showcases traditional arts and artists from eastern Oregon, will include two sessions this year.

In the past, the event focused on a more individual experience with various artists who showcased bead and cradle making work, the art of goldsmithing and the braiding of horse leather whips.

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

The first session on Saturday – 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. – will be an interactive and more youth-oriented experience, Simon said.

“We’re showing videos of (Japanese) Taiko drummers, saddle making and the fun part is that the people who created these videos are teaching lessons,” Simon said.

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

After the videos, the crowd can split up and then go to individual rooms in the center to participate in lessons, such as Taiko drumming lessons, Simon said.

The second session – also at the theater – starts at 7 p.m. and continues until 9 p.m. and features a live performance of the cowboy poetry of area poet Randi Johnson.

The session will also include a video of Sudanese henna – a type of temporary dye pattern on hands and feet – folk music, saddle making and leather goods, as well as Basque music and dancing.

“I think it’s important that we maintain ties with our traditions. It is important that we share the cultural traditions of our region, ”said Simon.

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

Tip for the news? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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