The City of Regina is buzzing with excitement with the North American Indigenous Games just a couple of days away.
The event will draw thousands of athletes from all across North America and a total of 23 teams will be competing at different venues throughout the city.
Games spokesperson Dominga Robinson says the event kicks off with the opening ceremonies Sunday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium.
“Tickets will be available at the door,” she says. “They’re only $10 to get in, you get a huge show, the people who are going to be headlining that are Plex, Crystal Shawanda, Inez Jasper and our music headliner is George Leach. It’s going to be a big welcoming of the athletes with a big parade. There’s going to be lots of people there, lots of exciting…Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company is going to be doing a huge theatrical production. It’s just going to be so much fun.”
One of the other main attractions will be the cultural village located at the First Nations University’s Regina campus.
Beginning Monday, athletes and spectators can watch and participate in cultural and sporting demonstrations and elders will also be on site.
Meanwhile, games organizers say they are honouring the athletes, their families, communities and spectators with the lance run.
The run got underway earlier this month and visited several reserves across the province.
Robinson says organizers feel it is important to include this event.
“The purpose of it is to welcome the community, get the excitement going and to honour the sacredness of what we’re building here in terms of the athletics and the cultural perspectives.”
The athletes are competing in 15 different sports - archery, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, canoeing, kayaking, lacrosse, golf, rifle shooting, soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball and wrestling.
Competitors range in age from 11-19 years and each sport has three age categories.
The basketball competition gets underway Sunday followed by six more sports on Monday.
Team Saskatchewan has won the overall title in all but one of the previous seven games.
The team comes into the 2014 NAIG as defending champions.