GRIC Celebrates 54th Annual Mul-Chu-Tha Parade, Fair & Rodeo
March 18, 2016
Roberto A. Jackson
Gila River Indian News
Photographs by Mikhail Sundust & Christopher Lomahqhuahu
Leading up to the 54th Annual Mul-Chu-Tha Fair & Rodeo, tents and rides seemed to rise up from Sacaton fairgrounds like magic. For three days, Mar. 11-13, fair-goers entered into the timeless world of amusement that makes the Mul-Chu-Tha one of the Gila River Indian Community’s most unyielding traditions.
As usual, the festivities began with Community Day Mar. 11, when the gates opened for Community members to feast on a free meal and enjoy free rides for two hours. Community Day also included special presentations, music and announcements.
At the heart of Mul-Chu-Tha is a celebration, and on Mar. 12, that celebration briefly shifted from the fairgrounds to Blue Bird Road in Sacaton for the Mul-Chu-Tha Parade.
Over 80 entries wound through the parade route which featured GRIC tribal leadership, song and dance groups, tribal royalty and a host of other entries under the theme: “Celebrating Our Culture Through Health & Wellness.”
After the last entry passed the grandstand, the crowds left Blue Bird Road and migrated back to the fairgrounds.
The rides spun round and round and the food stands dished out treats for the large crowds that attended on Saturday. The rodeo was in full swing and was one of the bigger attractions at the fair.
The Battle of the Bands maintained its strong following as well, and the Social Powwow brought in many guests too.
Cultural activities took place all weekend at the Cultural Circle, which included a variety of dancing, singing and various demonstrations.
Saturday peaked when Tejano music sensation AJ Castillo performed to end the night for an enormous crowd on the west side of the fair grounds.
All the events from Saturday carried over into Sunday with more rodeo events, the conclusion of the Battle of Bands (Gertie & the T.O. Boyz won first place in the battle), the thoka tournament, a lowrider carshow and a gospel music jam.