Star-packed week at 98th Cherokee Indian Fair

Enjoy family friendly fun with this year’s Cherokee Indian Fair which runs from Oct. 5-9 at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds in Cherokee.

Expect top-notch nightly entertainment, fireworks, a carnival midway full of rides and games, craft vendors, food vendors — including some featuring traditional Cherokee food — and an exhibit hall displaying the Eastern Band enrolled members’ traditional and contemporary arts and crafts.

Visitors will also have a chance to see a comedy show, gospel music, and a host of family-friendly competitions such as blowgun, longbow and compound bow archery contests and wood chopping.

This year’s concert lineup is star-packed as Starship headlines Saturday night’s concert with special guest Jimi Jamison of Survivor. Tone Loc appears Wednesday night. Big House Radio performs Tuesday; The Return, a Beatles tribute band, performs Thursday; Appetite for Destruction, a Guns-n-Roses tribute band, will perform Friday.

The fair began as a way for members of the Eastern Band to showcase their arts and crafts and invite neighboring communities to the Qualla Boundary, the tribe’s traditional homeland. The fair has grown since its early days, but its original focus remains — to showcase the Cherokees’ remarkable culture and heritage.


The schedule

A parade at 4 p.m. Oct. 5 kicks off the annual five-day fete.

Oct. 6 is Children’s Day and features fun games like potato-sack racing, trout fishing and crafting for the little ones.

On Oct. 7, the Elders are honored with free admission for attendees 59 ½ and older until 5 p.m., and activities include bingo and clogging. Cherokee Idol kicks off at 8 p.m.

Oct. 8 is dedicated to veterans, and all veterans and active-duty military personnel will receive free admission until 5 p.m.

Community Day on Oct. 9 features a horseshoe tournament and contests for the longest hair, baby crawling, clogging and corn shucking.

The fair wraps up on Oct. 9 with musical performances Starship with special guest Jimi Jamison of Survivor at 8:30 p.m. and a booming grand finale of fireworks at 10 p.m.

The fair opens at 10 a.m. each day. $10 including nightly concerts. Children six and younger admitted free.

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