Annual Sumi’nungwa Hopi Festival in Polacca returns after two year hiatus

A dance group from Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico prepares to dance at a prior event. (Photos/DHD Productions)

A dance group from Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico prepares to dance at a prior event. (Photos/DHD Productions)

POLACCA, Ariz. — After a two-year hiatus, the annual Sumi’nungwa Hopi Festival will return to Polacca, Arizona on the Hopi Reservation Oct. 1-2, with many arts and craft vendors from the reservation and other tribes around the Southwest including New Mexico, Colorado and Utah.

Food vendors will also be available, bringing Southwest foods to the event and some red hot chili beef stew from Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico.

Theron Honyumptewa, chairperson for the Sumi’nungwa Hopi Festival, said the festival usually attracts about 1,500-3,000 people though they anticipate an increase this year because people are anxious to get outdoors and be among friends, family and relatives. He said the event is open to everyone.

“This is definitely a popular event on Hopi for the benefit of all people,” he said. “Our goal is to bring people together as one, thus the name ‘Sumi’nungwa.’ The festival is for everyone across the land. As people we are connected in one way or another.”


A female fancy buffalo dancer. (Photos/DHD Productions)

Honyumptewa said the pandemic put the festival on a standstill for two years, which affected everyone around the world, including Hopi and other Indigenous nations.

“If it’s any indication, the response that we’ve received from vendors thus far has been great. That tells us that they are ready to make a return to the festival in 2022,” Honyumptewa said.

This year, sponsors are giving vendors an opportunity to register for the festival at an early bird rate for two months. After July 31, the rate will increase.

“It is highly encouraged to take advantage of the early bird offer. More information is available regarding the vending fees by calling the number(s) listed below,” Honyumptewa said.

Aside from the crafts and food, traditional Hopi and other tribal social dances will headline the event each day. All dance groups, regardless of tribal affiliation are welcome, Honyumptewa said.

The 10K and 5K races will once again take place and are scheduled for Oct. 2. Race time is 4 p.m. (MST). The races are open to both male and female runners, regardless of age. Awards include, top 30 overall finishers in the 10K and 5K respectively.

Registration will be at the festival site only, starting Sept. 30, and ending approximately one hour before race time, Oct. 2. More race information is available by calling the number(s) listed below.

Honyumptewa said DHD events, which is the sponsor, expects a large turnout of vendors, community members and visitors. Overnight camping is not permitted at the festival site. Security will be on hand for everyone’s safety.

“People should know that the festival is an outdoor event that consists of over one hundred craft and food vendors combined, so there is a huge variety of options to choose from in supporting our vendors,” he said.

There will be sanitizing stations throughout the festival site, with hand sanitizer and face masks. The event is drug and alcohol free. A Hopi Tribal Peddlers Permit is required. A Food Handlers Card is required as well for all food vendors.

Honyumptewa said DHD productions is also seeking volunteers to assist with the festival.

“We encourage people to attend this year’s festival. Whether it’s your first time visit to Hopi, or your third festival you will be a part of something special and positive for our local economy,” he said. “Come and experience that Hopi hospitality that will last a lifetime.”

More information is available at (928) 737-0174 or (928) 206-7801.

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