Enriching the Experience of Hammonasset Beach State Park

Hammonassett Festival

September 30 – October 1 2017 
10 AM-7 PM, Saturday and 10 AM-5 PM Sunday


Building on past success, the Hammonassett Festival has expanded to better honor Native American traditions and cultures and celebrate our Natural World.

The Hammonassett Festival comes to the Guilford Fairgrounds this fall for two days of celebration, education and entertainment. Honoring nature and Native America, the 7th Festival will take place on Saturday, September 30, from 10 AM to 7 PM and Sunday, October 1, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Each day will begin with a Native American blessing and smudging ceremony, led by Allan Saunders (Mohegan), and followed by music, dance, art and crafts vendors, exhibits and demonstrations, activities for the whole family, storytelling and a variety of food choices.

“Word of the Festival has spread, and we have been approached with dozens of exciting ideas and opportunities. To accommodate that interest, this year’s event offers more attractions and extended hours,” says Barbara Hanson, Co-Chair of the Hammonassett Festival. She adds, “The event has traditionally taken place at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, but ongoing construction at the park prompted us to take the event to the nearby — and spacious — Guilford Fairgrounds.” It is Barbara’s feeling that “the Festival isn’t about Place, but that the heart of the event is the gathering together of many peoples to share and celebrate and honor and learn. We hope to raise community awareness of the culture and time-honored traditions of the Indigenous Peoples, as well as issues they face today. We hope to raise awareness of how we can work together to repair the balance between people and nature, and preserve the beauty and abundance of Mother Earth for those who live with the land and the seven generations that are coming.“

The following features and attractions are subject to change:

Featured performers:

  • The popular Native Nations Dance Troupe, led by Erin Meeches (Schaghticoke), will return with multiple performances each day. The Dance Troupe is made up of Native American performers who travel nationally and come together for specific events. They will gather in the Dance Circle to share their dances and interpretations, dressed in traditional regalia and accompanied by live singing and drumming of a Native Drum group.
  • The Redhawk Native American Arts Council, with performances by Aztec Dancers and Peruvian Scissor Dancers, will be making its Hammonassett Festival debut. Since 1994, the Redhawk Council has been dedicated to educating the general public about Native American heritage through song, dance, theater, works of art and other cultural forms of expression. The Council will bring two dance groups who will perform multiple times during the weekend.

Featured wildlife shows:

  • Live raptor show by A Place Called Hope, a raptor rehabilitation center in Killingworth, CT
  • Live reptile show by The Meigs Point Nature Center of Hammonasset Beach State Park

Other special attractions:

  • Native American flute music performed by Allan Madahbee (Ojibway)
  • Performance by local music group, Ponybird (Anishinabek Solutrean Metis Indigenous Nation)
  • Expanded Children’s Area offering stories, games and crafts presented by the Institute for American Indian Studies (IAIS) and local Libraries
  • The New England Atlatl Championships, where attendees can try their hand at the ancient skill of spear-throwing
  • Museum outreach programs, demonstrations and environmental exhibits
  • Variety of food choices

Exhibitors and vendors: Pre-registration is required. Contact: HammonassettFestival@gmail.com

The Festival is presented by Friends of Hammonasset, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and sponsored by the Robert F. Schumann Foundation.


Parking: Free on-site parking

Admission: adults, $5; children under 12, free

Note: No pets or alcohol at the Fairgrounds, including the parking lots


Save the Dates! Look for more information on the Friends of Hammonasset website, hammonasset.org or Hammonassett Festival Facebook page.

Questions? email: HammonassettFestival@gmail.com

Hammonassett Festival December 25, 2016