Festival of Native Arts returns to in-person status

For the first time since 2019 the Festival of Native Arts is returning to an in-person event.
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 3:59 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Festival of Native Arts saw cancellations and virtual attendance, like many other local community events, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, for the first time in 3 years, the festival is returning to an in-person status.

This year FNA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Native Language Center and there is plenty to celebrate.

Activities this year include “performances, artisans and workshops,” said Lou Frenzl, student coordinator for FNA. Part of celebrating the half-century anniversary means this year’s FNA will have multiple language workshops. There will even be a skin sewing workshop.

Performances will include music and dances from various Alaska Native groups, and also some Canadian First Nations groups and there will be a Polynesian dance workshop as well, said Lou Frenzl, student coordinator for FNA.

The last time the event took place in person, was in 2019. The annual celebration then saw two years of virtual participation in an effort to “keep the spirit alive during the pandemic,” said Frenzl.

The FNA Center which is located on the Troth Yeddha’ campus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, was established by legislation in 1972.

Prior to the pandemic, the festival was a three-day event. This year, Frenzl said the event will be two days long. She described the modified schedule as a “soft return.” Frenzl said that despite the modified schedule, it’s still “an experience like no other... It’s just going to be a really great gathering and it’ll just be a continuation of the tradition that began in 1973.”

Workshops will start at 10:45 a.m. on Friday, February 24 and end at 5 p.m.

Performances will take place at 5:30 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m.

Saturday will be a similar schedule with performances starting earlier at 3:00 p.m.

The festival is free to the public and will take place in the Davis Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Complex located at 1708 Tanana Loop.