There was no better place to bring in the Fourth of July than on top of the Great Smoky Mountains at the 41st annual Cherokee Pow wow.
Dancers from across Indian country came to take part in the contests, dance among friends and get a firsthand view of Saturday night’s Cherokee War Dance Special.
This year’s war dance contest drew some tough area competitors and the judges had their work cut out for them — ultimately selecting Micah Swimmer as the winner.
The July Fourth pow wow saw temperatures close to 90 degrees and dancers did everything they could to stay cool. However, the warm weather did not deter the crowds and the event saw a record number of visitors for Saturday night’s fireworks.
Here are some of the gorgeous images from the pow wow. All photos are by ICTMN’s Cliff Matias.
Veteran Men’s Traditional Dancer, Apesanahkwat.
First Place Jingle Dress Champion Erica Issennock figures out a way to stay cool.
Valerie Rivera (Number 487) traveled all the way from Connecticut for the pow wow.
War Dance Champion Micah Swimmer.
War Dance contestant Mike Crowe Jr wearing pre-contact Cherokee regalia.
Cherokee War Dancer, Sonny Ledford.
Cherokee War dance runner up Jarrett Wildcat.
Chicken Dance Champion and winner of the special Marty Thurman.