Liberty! prepares for final week of performances

Our 36th season closes this weekend, with final performances scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, July 24, 25, & 26

Two hundred and forty two years ago, strong and brilliant leaders, living in and around the Watauga settlement, came together under an old sycamore tree with the intent of providing a path for the future of the families living in the “Old Fields.”  

Their purpose – to create a government that would provide for law and order – and the right of every free man to vote.   Their fledgling democracy was a first for this continent, which came to fruition in 1772; four years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  

Tennessee’s Official Outdoor drama is presented each July by a cast that beams with pride as they portray some of our greatest early leaders and the people who made our country strong. The story evolves through the 1770’s as the people of the Watauga become a part of the largest private real estate transaction in our country’s history, the Transylvania Purchase; a negotiation which took place between the Cherokee and the settlers.    

A year after the 1775 land purchases, under the leadership of Dragging Canoe, Cherokee warriors, angered by the loss of their lands, attack the frontier settlements. At Sycamore Shoals, Fort Watauga was constructed at the farm of miller, Matthew Talbott, to provide protection to the families. 

Several years later, the settlements suddenly found themselves in the thick of the American Revolution, when British Major Patrick Ferguson sent a warning over the mountains to those “rebels” who were living outside of the thirteen English colonies. If they did not cease their opposition to the Crown, he threatened to “march his army over the mountains and hang the leaders and lay waste their country with fire and sword.” 

As the Saga of Sycamore Shoals comes to a close, the story of the historic muster of the Overmountain men, on September 25, 1780, highlights the evening’s production. You will experience those thrilling moments as Overmountain men take the fight to Ferguson and catch up with him at Kings Mountain, South Carolina. In just over an hour, with the death of Ferguson, they defeat the British forces.    

Years later, Thomas Jefferson called the event “that memorable victory, the joyful annunciation of that turn of the tide of success, which terminated the Revolutionary War with the seal of independence.”    

Liberty! – an intriguing, fast moving, theatrical production, is laced with special effects, music, horses, battle, and so much more. We invite you to spend an evening with us by the Watauga River and become a part of the lives of these remarkable individuals. 

While you are with us, plan to eat at Carter’s Store, which offers a menu of pulled pork BBQ, turkey legs, corn on the cob, apple fritters and more. Friday and Saturday evening, by reservation only, you might consider coming early and enjoying our dinner theater. An adult ticket of $22.00 will provide you with a great meal, entertainment, and admission to the drama. 

The 2014 season of Liberty! comes to a close this weekend. Our final three performances will be presented on Thursday through Saturday, July 24, 25 & 26. The ticket booth opens at 6 pm with the show starting at 7:30 pm. Adult tickets are $12.00 for ages 18 and up; Seniors, ages 55 and up are $10.00; Children, ages 6 – 17 are $5.00; 5 and under are free. Friends of Sycamore Shoals Members are $6.00.

For additional information or to reserve seats for Saturday night’s dinner theater, please call Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area at 423-543-5808. 


The 2014 season also marks the 5th exciting year for Carter’s Trading Post, a venue named in honor of the original store opened by pioneers John Carter and partner William Parker shortly after they arrived on the frontier in 1771. A fine menu of mouth watering treats will be offered each evening for Liberty! guests.  

During your visit to Sycamore Shoals, please plan to visit our new interpretive exhibit, shop in our Eastern National Gift Shop, and take in the sights and sounds of your Tennessee State Park.

Sponsored by Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, A to Z Rentals, Appalachian Lighting & Production, Big John’s Closeouts, CH2M Hill Corporation, the City of Elizabethton, Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce, Elizabethton Electric, Holston Gas, LeBleu, Massengill-DeFriece Foundation, Inc, Northeast TN Valley Regional Industrial Development Association, the Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Society Sons of the American Revolution, John & Susan Kubenka, Michael & Lynne Barnett, Dr. Samuel Powell (Burlington, NC), 11Connects – WJHL TV, and WCYB TV 5

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Liberty begins 2nd week of performances July 17

Veteran’s night on July 17

Interpretation for the hearing impaired on July 19

Watching the cast of Liberty! share the stories of Sycamore Shoals is humbling, exciting, and above all…….inspirational.   Comprised of over 100 volunteers, our neighbors from throughout the Tri-Cities and beyond, come together each January to begin auditions and rehearsals for the July drama. Giving an enormous amount of time and energy, they ask nothing in return – just the opportunity to be a part of ensuring that historic events of national significance are always remembered. Within their hearts you will find a passion and strong desire to honor our ancestors – patriots in the truest sense of the word. 

Leaving the comforts of home, long hunters, and then families, began leaving the 13 colonies to begin a new life, free of the rule of the British king. They crossed over the mountains beyond the Proclamation Line of 1763 discovering land that was cleared, yet uninhabited. The “Old Fields” of the Watauga quickly became the heart of frontier settlements on land belonging to the Cherokee. Set in the 1770’s, Liberty! relates the good times and the sad times; the struggles and the sacrifices – of families who were willing to take incredible risks to create a democratic society against a multitude of obstacles. 

Liberty opens its second week of performances on Thursday, July 17, and continues Thursday through Saturday through July 26th. With just two more weeks to go, we hope you will mark your calendars now to attend Tennessee’s Official Outdoor Drama – Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals in Elizabethton, Tennessee. 

On Thursday, July 17, the Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, the Liberty! Cast, and the park staff, wishes to thank and honor our veterans by offering each veteran and an escort, free admission to Liberty! on this night. 

Additionally, on Saturday, July 19th, an interpreter for the hearing impaired will be signing the play as it is performed. 

Set beside the Watauga River, the story unfolds with Fort Watauga as the backdrop. The outdoor amphitheater provides bench seating with backs and an opportunity to sample great food within a short distance from your seat, at Carter’s Store.   Turkey legs, pulled pork barbeque, soup beans and cornbread, and corn on the cob are just a few of the menu items. 

On Friday and Saturday nights, July 18 & 19 and 25 & 26, we offer a dinner theater, by reservation only. 

Liberty! continues July 17 – 19 and the 24 – 26, closing the 36th season on Saturday, July 26th.

For additional information and for dinner theater reservations, please contact the park at 423-543-5808.

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Liberty! offers dinner theater and more!


A visit to Tennessee’s Official Outdoor Drama is a great way to experience the pivotal events of the late 18th century in the Watauga settlement in Elizabethton, Tennessee. It is also the perfect opportunity to bring your family and friends to Sycamore Shoals, the site of historic events of national significance.

Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area has big plans to make your visit the best it can be! Liberty! is performed 9 nights, Thursday through Saturday, the last 3 weeks in July and each of those nights, they will be offering reduced rates on admission.

For our 2014 season, Adults (18 & up) are $12.00 each; Seniors (55 & up) $10.00; Children (6 to 17) $5.00; and 5 and under admitted free. This year, we offer a new Family Cap rate of $39.00 total admission for all members of an immediate family, which would be parents and their children. If you are a member of Friends of Sycamore Shoals, or join when you get here, your ticket price will be $6.00!

Each evening of the play, plan to visit our unique concessions area, Carter’s Store, named in honor of John Carter, a strong leader in this 18th century settlement. Here you can get sandwiches, snacks, and drinks to enjoy during the show. On Fridays, July 18 and 25 and Saturdays, July 19 and 26, we will be offering our popular Dinner Theater. For one price you can enjoy a great family style meal and then take in Liberty!  

This year’s menu includes turkey legs and pulled pork, corn on the cob, candied sweet potatoes, soup beans, cornbread, rolls, apple fritters, tea, Pepsi products, and water. For pricing and reservation information, please call Sycamore Shoals at 423-543-5808. 

On Thursday, July 17th, Liberty! will be honoring our Veterans of all wars by admitting each Veteran with an escort for free. In addition, on Saturday, July 19th, there will be an interpreter on site providing interpretation for the hearing impaired.

Mark your calendars now and don’t miss the 36th season of outdoor drama at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area! For additional information, please contact the park at 423-543-5808.

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