The three-day festival drew thousands of people to Rockefeller Gardens.
Though Ray Probart does not have a distinct relation to a Native American tribe, he finds the culture and traditions fascinating enough to dress the part. Wearing his colorful outfit that was created by himself with the help of a few friends, he makes sure that the butterfly is a part of the ensemble.
“It is my messenger,” he said.
Probart was just one of thousands of people that came to the 25th-annual Native American Festival held at the Rockefeller Gardens and the Casements March 20 through the 22.
The event included traditional dancing, dress, music, storytelling, a wildlife encounter, artifacts and handmade crafts. According to event organizer Jim Sawgrass, it’s the symbols like tepees that entice people to come check it out.
“One reason we get large crowds is because of our visibility,” said Sawgrass,who has been with the festival since it started. “Once I set up those tepees, that’s all I have to do. Every year we go bigger and bigger.”