Heritage Festival looks to transport people to the 19th Century

Saturday, August 25, 2007 | 4:22 p.m. CDT; updated 9:29 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia’s Nifong Park will take a trip back in time to the 19th century on Sept. 15 and 16 during the 30th Annual Heritage Festival and Craft Show.

Coordinated by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, this year’s festival will feature several new entertainers, including the Haskell Indian Nations Dancers, yodeler and trick roper Randy Erwin, Jim “Two Crows” Wallen, Lemuel Shepard and the St. Louis Czech Express.

The Haskell Native American Dancers is a student group from Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kan. The students participate in national competitions and educate their audiences on tribal dance styles and regalia.

Erwin, who will perform at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 16, has performed at numerous renowned venues, including Carnegie Hall, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Queen Elizabeth Hall in England.

The recipient of several storytelling awards, Wallenwill spend both days in traditional clothing living in a teepee and displaying historical artifacts. He was also the official storyteller of the Lewis and Clark National Signature Event in 2004, which was held in St. Charles.

Shepard, a folk singer, is considered an authority on African-American traditional song and performs both historical and geographical blues style. He also composed the “I’ve Seen Rivers” series to celebrate the Lewis and Clark bicentennial expedition. He represented the state of Kansas, performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in 1999.

The St. Louis Czech Express has been around for 15 years, bringing polkas and waltzes in Czech, German, Polish, Slovenian, Hungarian and Italian music. Traveling throughout the U.S. and Canada, the group performs in five different languages.

The festival will also include 30 tents of shopkeepers, replica Lewis and Clark and cowboy camps, artisans demonstrating unique trades, fiddler competitions, ghost stories and hayrides.

To view the full schedule for the festival, visit

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