Ambassador Profile: Candace Toledo #helpatourist
Promoting tourism in Fremont County is everyone’s responsibility. We’re all ambassadors for this great community. To ensure that we’re all equipped with the stories of Wind River Country that make our culture fascinating and unique, the Wind River Visitors Council has sponsored this #helpatourist content series.
At the age of 13, Candace Toledo heard the drum beat while her sister was practicing and had the urge to dance with her. She’s been dancing ever since, often at the summer exhibition performances in Lander and Riverton.
Watching Candace dance is mesmerizing. Her dance style is the fancy shawl, which is said to imitate the movements of the butterfly. Her shawl catches the light, her feet are quick and light, and her smiling face is joyful as she moves across the ground.
“Being out there with the other dancers is a good feeling,” she says.
Being there to witness her joy and grace is as special an experience. This is one reason she was selected to be on the cover of the 2017 Wind River Country Vacation Guide brochure.
Another reason the Wind River Visitors Council (WRVC) photographer Jennie Hutchinson selected this image is Candace’s desire to share her culture with others. She has long danced in Wind River Country’s free summer dance exhibitions to welcome visitors into her world and invite them onto the grass to dance with her. She is now passing that openness, love of dance, and traditions on to her daughter Zariah.
“I tell Zariah to keep dancing no matter what the circumstances are,” Candace says. “You’re not only dancing for yourself, but you’re dancing for the people. You’re dancing for your family and you’re dancing for your elders. I tell her to be brave and have courage.”
Together, Candace and Zariah participate in local and regional powwows in addition to the summer evening dances in Wind River Country.
“One of my goals is to keep dancing until I get old. I want to dance until I can’t do it anymore,” Candace says.
Watch Candace and Zariah bring their passion to the drum beat this summer, and invite travelers to do the same.
How can you be an ambassador? Tell visitors about the free Native American dancing at the Wind River Hotel and Casino in Riverton on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. and at the Museum of the American West in Lander on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. June through August.
About the Wind River Visitors Council
The Wind River Visitors Council’s mission is to stimulate tourism by increasing awareness of, and encouraging visitation to, the unique destinations, activities and events in Fremont County/Wind River Country, Wyoming. The Wind River Visitors Council (WRVC) is a Lodging Tax Board responsible for promoting the travel and tourism industry in Fremont County through expenditures of the lodging tax. WRVC Board members represent our communities and the county and are appointed by local City Councils and the Fremont County Commissioners. Learn more at windriver.org.