"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
This event has a proud history, going back 80 years. This used to be a nightly performance at Stand Rock in the Upper Dells until the 1990’s, when it was discontinued. We first heard about this special event when we visited H.H. Bennett Studio in June, they gave us this flyer.
This event ties together all the journeys we experienced this summer. Many of our experiences touched upon Native American events and places. Especially our trip to Lac du Flambeau in July. Now in August, we got to see a performance that has not been done in years for the public. Photos without flash were allowed during the show, no video.
We arrived at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre at around 1:00 to see some of the native crafts for sale and perhaps enjoy some of the food they provided for guests.
The food tent was especially busy, they couldn’t keep the fry bead in stock. Al got one piece of fry bread that we shared. Being a cook has its advantages though, a few days later I learned how to make the Indian tacos at home following this recipe. See result above. It was delicious!
Went inside to see more exhibits and crafts and people. Saw two familiar faces there, H.H. Bennett’s Great-granddaughter Betsy Grant was there, whom we met at the June event. Angela R. Davis was also there, we met her at the State Historical Museum in Madison when we went to visit.
It was now 3:00 and time for the performance after being introduced by Melanie Tallmadge Sainz, Director of the Little Eagle Arts Foundation. Also by Cheryl Boehmke, President of the Friends of H.H.Bennett Studio. She also is a colleague of Ms. Sainz and together they produced this historic program. Thank you!
The show begins, three drummers form the framework and provide the beat for each of the dances performed.
Each of the dances were more exciting than the last, the audience of nearly 500 was mesmerized.
The Sunrise Call of the Zuni was beautiful.
It was sung during the performance.
This is the Eagle Dance.
We also heard a rare recording of Chief Evergreen Tree imitating birds and other animals.
The performance concluded with the performers exiting the stage with the crowd enthusiastically cheering. In the lobby we got to talk to them and take pictures.
You could tell the performers were having as much fun as the audience.
We had a great time and hope it will be repeated. This would be a great tradition to bring back to the Wisconsin Dells, which is far more than water parks.