McAlester, Okla. —
On Thursday, the annual Choctaw Nation Labor Day Festival and Pow Wow will kick off at 7 p.m. with a Choctaw Nation princess pageant. The event continues through Sept. 3 when the State of the Nation Address will be given by Chief Gregory E. Pyle at the Choctaw Capitol Grounds at Tvshka (pronounced: TUSH-kuh) Homma.
In a press release from the Choctaw Nation, Pyle said, “Halito (hello)! Assistant Chief Gary Batton, the Tribal Council and I want to invite you to join us for the annual Labor Day Festival at the beautiful Capitol of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma — Tvshka Homma.”
The capitol grounds will host an Intertribal Pow Wow, art show, arts and crafts, free concerts and a carnival with free rides. Also planned is a 5k run early Saturday morning and fitness challenges for adults and youth.
“We are excited to have the stickball tournament on the schedule again this year as well as the other popular tournaments — fastpitch, volleyball, basketball, horseshoes and golf,” Pyle said.
“We hope you enjoy learning about basketweaving, pottery, traditional clothing and beadwork, dancing, making arrowheads and trying traditional Choctaw food such as banaha or pashofa. There will also be a wide variety of food vendors and a number of options available in the cafeteria.
The Friday night free concerts will be at the Tvshka Homma Amphitheater. Josh Turner and Sara Evans will headline. Opening the show Friday at 5:30 p.m. will be Hankerin’ 4 Hank, a Hank Williams Sr. tribute band. Saturday, country superstars Ricky Skaggs and Martina McBride will headline starting at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, the Grammy-nominated and Gospel Music Hall of Fame’s The Kingsmen will start a night of Christian contemporary music at 7 p.m. with Britt Nicole to follow and then Newsboys to finish.
According to Bret Moss of the Choctaw Nation’s Biznik newspaper, concerts are free, and no alcohol or drugs are allowed on Choctaw Sacred Grounds.
He said Choctaws may register at the information booth at the festival for door prizes to be given away on Sept. 3 following the State of the Nation Address. Those who registered for prizes must be present, must be a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and must be 18 or older to be eligible to win.
Tvshka Homma is east of McAlester, and southeast of Wilburton near Tuskahoma. Take U.S. Highway 270 east to State Highway 63. Travel south to State Highway 2, then east to Weatherford Road. Turn south to County Road 4355.