Wazi Paha Festival marks the approaching end of a great South Dakota summer

Since living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, I’ve had the opportunity to attend a lot of the regular events that take place over the summer. Many of them I still haven’t uploaded all the photos from yet! But I have to say that my favorite by far is the Wazi Paha Festival which took place on the Oglala Lakota College Pow Wow Grounds.

There were so many things to enjoy — fresh garden veggie contests, tug-of-war, sack races and pow wow competitions including Switch Dance where the men and women swap regalia and dance routines. That was probably one of my favs.

My friend Corey is in the center of this photo in the jingle dress he made. The Men's Switch Dance was a fun competition to watch!

My friend Corey is in the center of this photo in the jingle dress he made. The Men’s Switch Dance was a fun competition to watch!

A little later there was a jalapeño-eating contest and I don’t know what got into me (probably the Texas roots) but I entered it. My friend Shannon took photos and I proceeded to be handed about 10 small jalapeños. Each contestant received two large peppers but they ran out of the large ones by the time I decided to join the contest. Other than one other person, (standing next to me in this photo) I was the only one who had to eat a bunch of small ones to make sure things were fair. You can see my response to that below.

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Well, it was close. Close as in I almost placed THIRD but didn’t swallow in time. It was a sad affair indeed! You can see the lady in the back pointing in my direction because she was sure I was going to win third place!

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But alas I didn’t win. And neither did my mouth.

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The best part about the jalapeño-eating contest was that all of the peppers used were garden fresh from the community. Just one of many different vegetable varieties that were part of competitions. All of it looked so good that it was hard not to walk by and snag a few for myself! I didn’t, but I was tempted.

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It was truly a fantastic event that brought people from different backgrounds and communities together for one special day.

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Categories: Day in the Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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