Annual Arlee Celebration's 116th Year - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Annual Arlee Celebration's 116th Year

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The first 4th of July pow wow in Arlee was held in 1898. More than 100 years later, the annual gathering is still going strong.

The beat of the drums, and ceremonial dances marked the Annual Arlee Celebration's 116th year.

"In the early 50's we used to have the war dance on the other side of the building here," said prominent Salish Traditional Spiritual Leader, Johnny Arlee.

Arlee has been a part of the gatherings since the 50's when he was just a kid. He said he's seen it grow, with vendors, campers and other festivities now filling the area.

"All these different changes and the modern changes of the young people, everything changed," Arlee said.

Arlee said the pow wow is a time for the Salish to honor the past, and a time to celebrate.

"They take a break, and celebrate for ten days or so," Arlee said.

For some, the gathering provides them with time and the means to work.

"In the summer time this is what we do. It's a second job, we're on the road and we travel," said Dennis Bedoni, a vendor at the celebration.

For Bedoni, it's a second job, helping him and his wife pay the bills through the summer. Bedoni and his wife traveled all the way from near the Grand Canyon in Arizona to sell his wife's handmade jewelry at the event.

"You have to have inventory, get it set and ready to go," Bedoni said.

He said the festivities at the event make the hard work worth it, and keep him and his wife coming back year after year.

"It's just festive, a festive time of year, and it's good to be here for the celebration they do annually," Bedoni said.

Bedoni is one of just many vendors at the event. The pow wow is taking place in Arlee through Sunday. For a full schedule of activities, head to the 116th Arlee Celebration.

 

 

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