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Thu, Oct. 17

Agua Fria Festival brings Seri Indians, crafts from Mexico

Angelita Torres Carillas, a Seri Indian from Baja Mexico, works on a basket in this undated photo. Members of the Seri tribe will display and sell their crafts, including baskets, shell and rattlesnake vertebra necklaces, at the Agua Fria Festival on Oct. 8-9 in Dewey-Humboldt.<br>
Courtesy Photo

Angelita Torres Carillas, a Seri Indian from Baja Mexico, works on a basket in this undated photo. Members of the Seri tribe will display and sell their crafts, including baskets, shell and rattlesnake vertebra necklaces, at the Agua Fria Festival on Oct. 8-9 in Dewey-Humboldt.<br> Courtesy Photo

Members of the Seri Indian Tribe from Sonora, Mexico, are one of many vendors selling colorful handcrafted articles at the upcoming Dewey-Humboldt Agua Fria Festival on Oct. 8-9 at the intersection of highways 69 and 169.

Jim Lindell, D-H resident, said he is anxious to renew his friendship with the Seris, some of whom he met in 1973 when he first traded with them for their stunning ironwood carvings.

Ironwood, a dense wood so heavy it sinks in water, grows in the Sonoran desert north of Kino Bay and south of Rocky Point on the Baja Peninsula where some of the Seris live, Lindell said. He was unsure whether they would have carvings for sale this year, as the trees have grown quite scarce.

The Seris gather dead wood and use the wood for knife and other tool handles, and also sea creature carvings. The Blue Planet Biomes website states, "Tradition has it that carvings made from the desert ironwood bring good fortune and long life. The carvings are in much demand, especially large carvings, and bring in a lot of money. Illegal harvesting of ironwood is on the rise and live trees are being cut down."

Lindell said the Seris would have other crafts available for public purchase. In addition, the women will perform songs in their native language. "They are also known for their shell necklaces, and especially rattlesnake vertebrae necklaces, stone carvings, and baskets," he said.

The Agua Fria Festival opens at 9 a.m. Saturday with the parade beginning at 10 a.m. Two music stages offer live bands, dancers, magicians, martial arts demonstrations, and other performers on both days, with an auction on Saturday. Judges will hand out prizes for best costumes to a mountain man, woman and child.

On Saturday the American Legion Post 78 will offer a dinner and dance with prime rib or chicken breast buffet from 5 to 11 p.m.

The Lions Club has organized an off-road race Sunday morning. Vendors include makers of jewelry, wind chimes, sun catchers, custom-made Adirondack furniture, fine art, candles, and homemade sodas.

Space is available for as many as 450 vendors, and festival organizers still are taking entries for the parade.

Those interested can email aguafriafestival@gmail.com for entry forms and information or call Bob Greene at 632-0802.

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