You know there’s a seasonal change coming around here when several things begin to happen. One is when football stadium lights come up, cheering crowds can be heard and uniformed players start tossing around the old pigskin.

Another is when members of the Coharie Tribe begin to spiff up their best Native American finery, pull out the drums and begin preparing for the annual Pow-Wow.

The time is now to log the date into your smart phone calendar or pencil it in on the wall version, setting aside time for family while taking part in a significant piece of Sampson’s rich heritage and supporting some of our friends and neighbors.

The Pow Wow, now in its 48th year, is scheduled for this weekend, kicking off at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, at the Coharie Tribal Center on US Hwy. 421. Grand entry is set to begin at 7:20 p.m. that evening, kicking off a weekend full of colorful pageantry and history that brings hundreds upon hundreds of people into our county every year.

The Pow Wow is the most important event of the year for the Coharie and other tribes across the state, a time to celebrate the history of their ancestors and reflect on the struggles to open the doors of opportunity for future generations of Native American Indians. It’s also a time to teach younger generations about the heritage they are being asked to continue.

For visitors to the Pow Wow, it’s a time to learn more about the culture of our friends and neighbors and the past they cherish.

While the pageantry has an air of entertainment to it, for those participating, the ceremonies and the grounds on which they are being held is sacred. In fact, the tribal chief blesses the events and the grounds prior to the beginning of the ceremony.

During the two-event, there will be ceremonial dances, gospel singing, crafts, food, the crowning of the Coharie princesses and braves and the sounds of the native drum performances. In addition, there will be, on Saturday, the now annual Warriors Memorial Ride, a way to honor veterans and military service personnel from among the tribe.

In every aspect, heritage will be the focal point.

We hope residents from Ivanhoe to Plain View, Autryville to Turkey and everywhere in between will join us at the 48th annual Pow Wow either on Sept. 8 or Sept. 9, or both, showing your support for an important aspect of life in Sampson County.

Being a part of such a wonderful tradition will do wonders for organizers who put their hearts and souls into making these events special for all who attend, but it will do even more for attendees who will be surprised by how much they learn and how much fun they can truly have.