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Intertribal Elders Dinner! 

It's one of the biggest parties of the year, and it's not hard to figure why.

First, the beautiful purpose: The Northwest Intertribal Gathering and Elders Dinner honors elders and veterans, those strong and oft-gnarled trunks without whom the young folks might flutter and drift into an aimless future.

Second, the food and entertainment: This year's community gathering, the 30th annual, is an all-day affair of eating, drumming and dancing. Starting at noon, the food will be served: roast turkey, and chunks of salmon roasted on sticks at a traditional long fire pit. Elders over the age of 55, of any ethnicity, eat for free; younger folks pay a nominal fee. There'll be arts and crafts for sale and demonstrations by Native American singers and drum groups. There'll be dances -- including Brush, Tolowa Honoring, Aztec, Shake Head and Hoop.

At 3 p.m. there will be an Elders' Gifting Ceremony.

It's a big deal, this gathering, held purposefully in the month we celebrate Thanksgiving as well as American Indian Heritage. Last year more than 4,500 people attended and 2,000 dinners were served -- so you can see the value in showing up early!

The 30th Annual Northwest Intertribal Gathering and Elders Dinner runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Redwood Acres Fairground, 3750 Harris Street, Eureka.

Admission is free. But remember to bring some money for food if you're not an elder, and for other goodies.

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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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