Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First Night a Success for Families Cultures Mingle to Welcome '98

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First Night a Success for Families Cultures Mingle to Welcome '98

Article excerpt

ATLANTIC BEACH -- The sights seen at First Night varied

depending upon where the viewer was sitting, standing or

swinging during the multivenue, alcohol-free New Year's Eve

event.

Some huddled in the 30-degree air around a bonfire in Jack

Russell Park. The fire's thinning smoke drifted onto the nearby

tennis courts where some swayed to the sultry Latin music of Son

de Sabor.

People danced in the dark for part of Sol de Sabor's

performance after the tennis court lights, set on a timer, went

out, but the 10-member band played on.

The bongo rhythms lifting from the courts eased across

Seminole Road to Howell Park where a few people gazed at Saturn

through telescopes and others watched American Indians perform

traditional dances and songs.

Three American Indian drummers in denim baseball caps and a

fourth wearing a black cowboy-style hat sat under a plastic

tent. They started chanting quietly and lightly tapping on a

table-sized round, leather drum, with the beat growing to a

thump-thump-thump as the singing reached a crescendo.

Seminole Indian David Narcomey, a spokesman for the Indigenous

People of the Turtle Continent, said he wants to show how his

people and culture continue to live.

"We're still here. We're not dead," Narcomey said. "We're not

just in history books."

The first dancer wore a Pawnee Indian deer hide and buckskin

dress and did a subtle, marching-style dance. The next dancer,

performing the "jingle-dress dance," would jump, making the 480

rolled-up silver tobacco snuff lids sewn onto her dress clang

together.

Another female dancer did an eyecatching, high-kicking dance.

She spread her arms and held onto a large shawl as she spun

around, resembling a flying bird.

The only male dancer wore traditional regalia of Western plains

tribes as he snaked in and out along a circular path. …

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