Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial where, Native American from across the United States participate in a massive celebration and display of their culture. The indoor and outdoor marketplace and the Ceremonial Showroom present the country’s most complete and varied displays of genuine Indian fine arts, including Navajo rugs, kachinas, jewelry, pottery and basketry. There are socials and rodeos held at Red Rock Park and an evening and day parade along Route 66 in downtown Gallup. The evening parade is magical and somewhat eerie because observers often hear the sound of the dancers long before the performers can be seen. The dancers wear very colorful outfits while observers are dressed in a kaleidoscope of colors representing every possible shade under the rainbow.
In 1922, Mike Kirk, a local trader with the support of local Kiwanis Club planned an event that would give the people of Gallup an opportunity to share in Indian culture, their arts and crafts but at the same time show appreciation for the Indian patronage to the Gallup Community. Annually, neighboring Indian tribes would travel for days over dusty roads by wagon to arrive at (what they considered) a yearly reunion with family and friends. The early year Ceremonials featured campfire dance, baseball game, a fruit scramble, a tug-of-war, a kick the stick race, and relay marathons. Participants included members of the Navajo and Hopi communities as well as the Pueblos of Acoma, Isleta, Laguna, Jemez, Zuni, and Taos.
While the four day event still retains some elements of the early days when Natives and non-Native people came to town for entertainment and to socialize, today it has grown into more of a tourist attraction. The exhibits halls are a bright combination of trader/dealer booth and artists representing their own work displaying, the best of the art.
The Ceremonial dances personify the proud history and tradition of the Inter- Tribal Indian Ceremonial. It is truly a special time for participants and spectators alike an opportunity for cultures to come together in the universe rhythm, motion and artistic expression.