Annual Labor Day Festival to be held with a focus on Choctaw culture

Reader photo by Larissa CopelandSun sets over the 2011 Labor Day Festival.

An annual area event will make its return this year following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma announced this week the annual Labor Day Festival will return to the Tvshka Homma Capitol Grounds Sept. 2-4, 2022.

“I am thrilled to announce the 2022 Labor Day festival and look forward to gathering with everyone,” said Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton in a press release announcing the festival dates. “The festival gives us an opportunity to fellowship, share stories and come together as a tribe.”

A scaled down “culturally focused” version of the festival in 2021 was cancelled a month before the event due to rising COVID-19 numbers within the Choctaw Nation Reservation and nationwide.

The 2020 event was planned to move forward without carnival rides and concerts with a focus on cultural events and activities before the tribe announced the cancellation of the event two weeks later due to COVID-19 concerns.

Due to the cancellations, Batton delivered the annual State of the Nation speech virtually in 2020 and 2021.

According to the tribe, the 2022 festival will include traditional events like gourd dancing, princess pageants, sporting tournaments, vendor booths, carnival rides, and more.

Arts and crafts vendor applications for Choctaw, other tribal artists, and non-tribal artists, will be accepted online only through June 16 and can be found at www.choctawnation.com/labor-day. Questions about the application can be directed to Kerry Steve at 1-800-522-6170.

Non-food vendor applications are also being accepted online only through June 3, 2022. Questions about the vendor application can contact Misty Alexander or Donna Pound, (580) 924-8280.

Applications for those who wish to stay on the grounds in a recreational vehicle are also open. A lottery system will be used to approve applications.

According to the tribe, in 2019, 450 applications were received for the approximately 296 available RV spots on the Capitol grounds. Applications and requirements for an RV spot can also be found at www.choctawnation.com/labor-day.

The festival schedule of events will be available in July on the Choctaw Nation website with updates provided on the tribe’s social media pages.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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