ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – More than 100,000 spectators, artists, and native American dancers from around the world will descend upon Albuquerque for the nation’s largest PowWow.
The Gathering of Nations is also known to bring in more than 700 tribes all in one place. And just like when people pack the PIT for a big Lobo game, it will be difficult to find an empty seat in the house for the next three days.
“Usually my family attends this every year, it’s a family annual tradition for us,” Jay Mule said.
For most families the three-day gathering is the start of the PowWow season. People who come back every year say it’s the music, the dancing and the traditional attire from so many places, all brought together, that make this event so special.
“It’s nice to have all these indigenous people here,” Leighanne Lorenzo. “It just brings a good vibe and a lot of energy.”
For first-timers attending what’s called the world’s largest PowWow, the event always seems to live up to the hype.
“It’s really big, as big as I expected it to be so that’s really good,” Ardon McDonald.
Known as Albuquerque’s second biggest event right behind Balloon Fiesta, the Gathering of Nations brings hundreds of tribes and thousands of spectators to the city for a unique cultural experience.
But what does that mean for the Duke City?
For starters, it means big bucks.
Just last year the Gathering of the Nations brought in a $21 million boost to the city’s economy, and the Hispano Chamber of Commerce expects to see about the same amount this year. It’s a boost that will help out local businesses and restaurants all throughout the city.
“I think all the Old Town merchants really like this time and enjoy mixing and mingling with Native Americans from other parts of the country,” said Stephen DePriest.
DePriest, manager of Pueblo House Pottery, says just like many of the other stores in Old Town they see a 20-30 percent increase in sales during Gathering of Nations weekend.
It’s also very lucrative for vendors who sell their own jewelry or pottery.
“It makes a big difference for everybody here. Every store, every artist. It’s a big economic impact,” said Diane Martinez.
Martinez is known for her award winning pottery.
Unfortunately, she was unable to secure a spot because of how competitive it is during Gathering of Nations. In the past, she says she’s made double at Gathering of Nations than she does on an average weekend.
According to the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, around 60,000 room nights are also booked during the festival, leaving many local hotels with little to no vacancies.