2021 Powwow to offer splendor among safety measures

By Terry Harris

The 2021 Nottoway Indian Powwow in Surry County, always a colorful and immersive event, is returning September 18 - 19 with its colorful blend of both exciting and moving moments intertwined among opportunities to enjoy arts, crafts, storytelling, history exhibits, fair food, educational exhibits, a wide array of vendors, and, of course, intertribal dancing. 

But this year there will be an entirely new element added, as the tribe is bringing a special gift to the community by way of three mobile units that will be on site.  The three free units - one from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, one from the Blackwater Regional Library, and Hampton University’s Covid-19 Mobil Vaccination Unit - will be set up just outside the entrance gates of the powwow.

When queried about the purpose of the inclusion as well as the placement of the three mobile units, Surry County Tourism Director Pat Bernshausen said that they wanted to provide the services as a gift to the community, free of charge, and by locating them outside the gates they are ensuring that anyone who wants to take advantage of them without being charged admission to the powwow can do so.

On the days of the event, the Grand Entry when the tribe enters the sacred dance circle dressed in their colorful regalia, will take place at 10 am on Saturday and at noon on Sunday. 

The public is always made welcome at a Nottoway Powwow, and this year they will feature Lee “Gray Wolf” Lopez as Arena Director, Head Dancers Adriene Harmon and Mike Harmon, and both Yapatoko and Turtle Clan Drum Groups.   

They will be following all CDC and local health and safety protocols, which means that masks will be needed for close-quarters area like the three mobile units outside and the vendors’ booths on the grounds. Some masks will be available, if needed. Also, visitors who show their vaccination card will receive a $1 discount on admission as part of the tribe’s wish to promote safety for all. Otherwise, general admission will be $8, $5 for Seniors and those 13 – 17, and for 12 and under admission is free. 

The Mobil Vaccination Unit will be administering free covid shots on site throughout the two-day event at the Surry County Parks and Recreation Center, 205 Enos Farm Drive, in Surry, VA, but pre-registration will be required, according to the Surry County website.

“We’re very excited about the powwow,” said Bernshausen. “It’s always one of our favorite events, but it will be even bigger and better this year due to the inclusion of the free community services being provided as a gift to the community from the Nottoway Indian Tribe. I encourage people to go to the Surry County website to learn more about the event and they also can register there for the free covid vaccines that will be administered both days.”

 Registration prior to the event can be done quickly and easily through a link on the county website at https://www.surrycountyva.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=250 .