Looking for a unique gift or that perfect finishing touch in your ski condo? You may want to check out the 27th annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale, November 11-13th at Deer Valley Resort's Snow Park Lodge. The showcase, sponsored by the Adopt-A-Native-Elder program, isn't just a shopping opportunity, however, it's also your chance to experience Navajo culture through demonstrations of weaving, singing, and other traditions and support Native elders who still live off of the land.
The Navajo Rug Show and Sale has grown significantly from its humble beginnings. The show began in 1989 as a display of a few rugs at the Kimball Art Center into a multi-day celebration of Navajo arts and culture. It was founded by Park City resident Linda Myers who was inspired by the rug designs and stories of Navajo elders at a show she visited in northern Arizona. Myers soon began gathering donated food, clothing and simple medicines to bring to the elders who continue to live their traditional lifestyle, something the Adopt-A-Native Elder program continues to do to this day. It was out of this desire to support Native communities and cultural exchange that the idea for a Rug Show right here in Park City was born. The Rug Show is now the largest such event in the country and "offers guests a unique opportunity to learn more about the Navajo way of life and to meet more than 30 elders and their families who will travel from their native homeland to Park City,” says Myers. "The Rug Show has evolved to feature more than 700 rugs and all proceeds from the rug sales go directly to the weaver."
This year's theme for the show is “Weaving Ancient Designs” and features both Navajo rugs and pottery with patterns recalling natural elements such as desert sands, mountains, clouds, and flowers. Not only will there be hundreds of rugs on sale, there's also a great line-up of events. Check out all the happenings of the weekend below.
Friday, November 11, 6 to 10 pm
The rug show opens with a gala, allowing the general public access to preview the full selection of handwoven Navajo rugs and handicrafts. Peruse the selection while enjoying hors d'oeuvres and entertainment. The night concludes with a live auction of rugs, trips and special gift packages as a means to offset the costs of putting the event together as all rug sale profits go directly to the weavers and their families. Admission to the gala is $30 for adults and $10 for children under age 12.
Saturday, November 12 & Sunday, November 13th, 10 am to 6 pm
Drop by any time during the show's regular hours (show entry is $5 or a canned food donation) throughout the rest of the weekend to purchase rugs, jewelry, and crafts from the Navajo elders. Weaving demonstrations will take place at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, giving you the chance to see firsthand how the elders create these gorgeous rugs, from traditional yarn preparation to loom work and the stories that accompany each work of art.
Saturday's event schedule also includes a princess pageant for local Utah Navajo girls age 6 to 9 and traditional Navajo children's dances. Later the elders will have a chance to compete for prizes American Idol style during the Navajo Grandma and Grandpa Idol contests.
Sunday will open with a Veterans' ceremony, honoring both Navajos and audience members who have served our country. With the full color guard and recitation of the National Anthem in Navajo, this event is one of the most moving of entire weekend. The closing Pow Wow will serve as the finale for the rug show when drummers, singers, and dancers captivate the audience with a variety of traditional dancing styles, including the crowd-favorite hoop dance.
We hope to see you there for this fantastic event that reminds us of how majestic nature is in this part of the world and the importance of supporting local artists and handmade goods.