With more than 100,000 petroglyphs, the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in Ridgecrest is home to the largest collection of Native American rock art in the Western Hemisphere.
Although tours are not currently available at Little Petroglyph Canyon (due to COVID-19 safety guidelines), attendees of this weekend's eighth annual Ridgecrest Petroglyph Festival will still have much to learn about the art form.
Archaeologist Alan Garfinkle Gold will lead tours through the replicas in Ridgecrest’s Petroglyph Park, discussing the symbols and methods used to create them as well as replica petroglyphs. Two authentic tepees will be on display in the park, accompanied by basket-weaving demonstrations and several Native American performances.
Also on tap are a street fair, crafts from Native American artists, speakers, demonstrations and a full slate of performers on the festival stage, including hoop dancer Terry Goedel, storyteller and singer Kim Marcus, the Havasupai Guardians of the Grand Canyon Ram Dancers, flute artist Michael Folkert, and jazz fusion band D’DAT.
There will also be the annual Honor-A-Veteran Ridgecrest Car, Truck and Bike Show at Leroy Jackson Park.
This event is a key component of the Petroglyph Education Foundation, created to promote awareness of the significance of Native American history and culture, including the different forms of rock art and communication. The foundation works with schools throughout the Indian Wells Valley using crafts and activities to share the history and culture of local Native Americans. The foundation hopes to connect the past with the future to ensure these traditions are celebrated and protected for years to come.
The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 100 E. Las Flores Ave. in Ridgecrest. Parking is available in the area.