Kipona Festival kicks off Saturday in Harrisburg

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If you don’t have any plans this weekend, you might want to head to Harrisburg.

The 98th Annual Kipona Festival kicks off Saturday at noon and runs through Labor Day.

“It’s a great time because people just enjoy themselves and they can hang out with family and friends and it’s really awesome because there’s tons of really good food,” said Anna May Fry, a participant in this year’s Pow Wow.

A chili cook-off, wine tasting, karate tournament, canoe races, dancing and Spoken Word Festival — just some of the things to choose from.

The multi-day festival is free — with many of the activities taking place on City Island instead of River Front Park — as they have in years past.

“It’s really really cool because you come here and you see handmade crafts, you see what they do, their dances but it all has meaning behind it and I don’t think everybody knows that meaning,” said Jessica Burkholder, a Pow Wow participant.

More than 10 Native American tribes from all over the country are coming together. One of the Pow Wow organizers says she hopes this weekend’s festivities will shed light on the significance of Native Americans in the area.

“Harrisburg wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Shawnee Tribe and just proud to be here and follow in the footsteps of our ancestors,” said Michelle Fry.

And there are festivals within festivals. Capital Region Water is taking part in the Conservation Carnival, with water-themed games and activities complete with prizes.

Kipona originates from a Delaware Native American term that means ‘Bright Sparkling Water.’

“Capital Region Water is the provider for drinking water, waste water and natural water services so it’s a natural fit for us to celebrate water in our region,” said Andrew Bliss, community outreach manager for Capital Region Water.

Getting here is easy. You can park for free all weekend on City Island. They’ll be free parking at River Street Garage on Saturday. Meters are free Sunday and Monday. A fireworks show will also take place Sunday night at 9:30 p.m.

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