Organizers of the second annual Bluff Founders Day and Frybread Festival plan a full plate of family entertainment, cultural celebrations and a parade for the first weekend in April.
The event, scheduled for April 6-8, commemorates the arrival of Mormon pioneers on April 6, 1880, but also will celebrate the area’s Native American heritage, featuring representatives from the Navajo and White Mesa Ute tribes.
All events are free and open to the public, according to a news release from Rick Bell.
Founders Day activities begin on Friday, April 6, at Bluff Fort. Descendants of the 16 pioneer families will make Bluff Fort their home base for a reunion and will give out ribbons coded by color to represent a rainbow of diversity among the Mormon families, according to the news release.
A mural created by students at Whitehorse High School and a water wheel will be dedicated, followed by a “Taste of Dutch Oven Cooking” after noon. Other demonstrations include blacksmithing and rag rug weaving.
Storytellers, led by local historian Robert S. McPherson, will talk about archaeology, the pioneers and the frontier lore, and Bluff Fort will host square dancing on Friday night.
Events on Saturday kick off with a parade at 10 a.m. that is expected to include costumed marchers, family and tribal floats, Native American princesses, horses and musical groups. It will be followed by a Ute Bear Dance, including dance lessons, at Twin Rocks Trading Post at noon. The Blue Mountain Navajo Unity Program will provide entertainment and education at the Bluff Community Center.
Throughout Saturday, volunteers will conduct free horse-drawn hayride tours of historic Bluff, and docents around town will give brief descriptions of landmarks along the way. A student art show and sale of work from the San Juan County School District will be held at the fort, and tours of nearby St. Christopher Mission will be offered.
In the afternoon, many activities will shift to Twin Rocks, where Navajo artists will conduct demonstrations of basket weaving in the Trading Post. The Frybread Festival will feature an outdoor frybread bar serving Navajo tacos or deserts. Also offered will be the delicious Bears Ear Ice Cream Sandwiches and other treats.
A frybread speed-eating contest will lead up to the Frybread Fling as contestants try to top the inaugural record of 60 feet 4 inch. Think of it as a frisbee toss.
Expect to see vendors booth around town, and get a breakfast Saturday morning from 6 to 8 a.m. at the fort. Twin Rocks Café will be available for meals all weekend.
On Saturday evening, a free film will be shown at the Bluff Community Center.
The Founders Day weekend ends Sunday an interdenominational worship service at St. Christopher’s Mission, with local religious leaders sharing their faith. The historic mission is 2 miles from Twin Rocks.
For more information, call Bluff Fort at 435-672-9995.