Gathering of Nations underway in ABQ

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The 31st annual Gathering of Nations is underway at the Pit.

It is the largest of its kind in the world, drawing thousands of people including one young celebrity.

That young celebrity was 16-year-old Christy Bird. She was one of many featured in the Coca-Cola commercial during the Super Bowl this year singing “America the Beautiful.”

Bird sang the song Friday morning along with one other young Native American girl from New Mexico. This was all part of the festivities heading into the grand entry.

The official start of the Gathering of Nations was Thursday night at the Miss Indian World Pageant which took place at the convention center. The winner will be crowned Saturday night at the Pit.

This weekend, thousands are expected in and outside of the Pit for the entertainment and the vendors.

Organizers say they have tried to liven this year’s experience with more entertainers, and for some first timers, they say being in the Pit is an experience all its own.

“It was totally different from being behind the studio. There are a lot of people in the Pit. It was a great experience that it was fun. I was shaky, but it’s normal,” said Bird.

Mayor R.J. Berry says the event is a big boost to Albuquerque’s economy. It brings in $21 million.

The powwow is set to wrap up Saturday night.

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