Hammonasset Beach State Park will be filled with the sounds of drums and music, the sights of colorful wardrobe, ceremonial dance, turquoise jewelry and multitudes of crafts made from natural materials from Mother Earth. It’s just part of what you’ll experience at the Hammonasset Festival, October 3 and 4, an event sponsored by Liberty Bank to benefit the nonprofit Friends of Hammonasset.
You’ll also find exhibits from the Smithsonian institute’s National Museum of the American Indian, Yale Peabody Museum, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, Connecticut Science Center, The Sierra Club, Save the Sound Citizens for a Clean Hammonasset River and other historical and environmentally conscious organizations as the festival expands its Earth-friendly component.
“We have always thought of the earth as our mother and always think of the consequences of our actions,” explains event co-founder Dale Carson, a Madison resident who is of Abenaki descent and is renowned for her books, artwork and television appearances representing aspects of Native American life. “As a people, we are willing and able to share our knowledge of the natural world and how to live with it. Be kind to one another, share everything, teach your children all you can, respect everyone.” Carson hopes the Hammonasset Festival will energize the community about how we treat each other as neighbors and how we treat the land and our cherished shoreline.
The biennial Hammonasset Festival (spelled with two Ts to be true to the Native American spelling) will also feature reptile shows with rangers from Meigs Point Nature Center, talks about “Living with Coyotes” from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and demonstrations of falcons soaring through the sky. Eyes to the sky will also see spear-throwing competition as part of the Atlatl events. Atlatl refers to ancient hunting spears. Trout Unlimited will be helping anglers made their own fishing lures inside their tipi.
Those that have followed shoreline talent may know Nichole Frechette, a Madison native who made her mark on the country music scene in Nashville and will take the stage both days during the festival.
It’s two days packed with entertainment and education, rooted as a way to honor the people who lived here before, according to Carson. The bones of the Hammonasset people are still buried here today. From an archeological standpoint “this is considered a sacred place, and the spirit of the people who first lived here should be respected,” Carson added.
Carson’s event co-founder is Dr. Don Rankin, also a Madison resident, and a proponent of natural studies and Native American history. The two met through their mutual involvement in the Friends of Hammonasset, working to preserve and enrich the natural resources of the park, the shoreline and the surrounding area.
“This event is a celebration of human spirit. Education leads people to and appreciation and understanding, and that leads to respect … respect for our earth, our children, our elders. This is the essence of Native American culture,” said Rankin.
What: Hammonasset Festival
When: October 3-4, 10am-5pm both days, rain or shine
Where: Hammonasset Beach State Park at exit 62 off Interstate 95
Cost: $5 per person to benefit the Friends of Hammonasset, children 10 and under are admitted for free, parking and admission to the park are free, no pets please.
For more information: www.hammonassettfestival.com or 203.245.9192
FaceBook: Hammonasset Festival
2009 Hammonasset Festival Performers and Exhibitors:
Joseph FireCrow – Native American flute
Erin Meeches Native Nations Dance Troup and drumming
Dan Addi’s Black Bear Drum
World Atlatl Association – spear throwing competition and hunting weapons
Brian Bradley and his Falcon demonstrations
Meigs Point Nature Center – live reptile show with Ranger Russ Miller
Native Visions – Native American art from across the country
The Turtle Pit – Native American cooking
CT DEP Wildlife Division – Living With Coyotes
Trout Unlimited – how-to-make fishing lures
Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian
Domingo Talldog Monroe – wampum jewelry
Joseph James – wampum jewelry
Nicole Frechette – nationally recognized country singer from Madison, CT
Southern Exposure – Native American clothing, jewelry and furnishings
Pete Onofrio – musician
Barbara Hanson – crafts and handmade notepapers
Nelson Garcia – Native American jewelry
Terri Delahanty – Native American crafts
Ken Schaller – Native American crafts and carvings
Beth Stewart-Kelly – Native American crafts
Jeff Kalin – primitive technologist
Keiko Moreino – cornhusk dolls
Jerry Padulz – cornhusk dolls
Steppenwolf – gourds
Jeanne Kent – gourds
Peggy LaConte – storyteller
Dale Carson – Native American multimedia crafts
Annmarie Dina – nature themed jewelry
Sonya Avant – Native American foods
Sherry Pocknett – Native American foods
Janis Us – Native American beadwork jewelry
Elaine Tucker – Native American beadwork jewelry
Operation Music Aid – providing musical instruments to wounded veterans
Homes for Our Troops – building adapted homes for severely injured veterans
Save the Sound/CT Fund for the Environment
Citizens for a Clean Hammonasset River
Habitat for Humanity
Institute for American Indian Studies
Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center
Yale Peabody Museum
Connecticut State Museum of Natural History
Connecticut Science Center
Dinosaur State Park (Saturday only)
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
Friends of Connecticut Archeology (FOSA)
Changing Winds – Native American advocacy
A Place Called Hope
A Call to Care/Team Uganda
Rotary Club – Amber Alert
High Hopes – therapeutic riding
Shoreline Greenway Trail
Menunketuck Audubon Society
J.D. Pony Express (Saturday only)
Chris Jennings – photographs
Eric Hummel – hot dogs
Daniel Hand High School
Friends of Hammonasset
The Hammonassett Festival is sponsored by Liberty Bank.
Marcia Simon, based in Westbrook, is a writer and principal of MSE, a public relations company specializing in healthcare, technology, eco-friendly and lifestyle clients. She can reach her at 860.399.0191, Marcia@mseusa.com or