Monthly Archives: May 2015

Native American Culture Festival

25th annual

Saturday, and Sunday, May 30th and 31st, 2015

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area is proud to announce our annual Native American Festival to be held Saturday, and Sunday, May 30th and 31st, 2015. This educational event provides the opportunity for our visitors to experience many facets of Native American culture, particularly that of the Cherokee.   The event opens on Saturday, May 30th, running from 10 am until 8:00 pm; and from 11 am until 4 pm on Sunday.   Most activities are held at Fort Watauga, unless it rains. In the event of rain the show will relocate to the Visitors Center.  On Saturday evening, a traditional campfire will be held at the far end of the meadow in front of Fort Watauga at 7:00 pm with several guest storytellers.

This weekend long festival will feature traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, traditional Native American song and dance, Cherokee storytelling and legends, Native American flute, Cherokee language workshops, and craft demonstrations and sales.

A unique feature of the Native American Culture festival is our educational/ demonstration area, located within Fort Watauga. The dance circle is located in the center of the fort, where the popular Demonstrating bow carvingtraditional dance and drum performances take place. In addition, flute music, storytelling, lectures, and so much more take place within the circle, which share native culture and history with our visitors.

The interior of the fort will also host a variety of excellent demonstrations, which include a children’s blowgun challenge, beadwork, gourd art, pine needle basketry, stone carving, Cherokee language, wood carving, flint-knapping, corn shuck dolls , native river cane flutes, pottery, and a replicated Cherokee cabin from the early 19th century with historical reenactors, Mark and Sherry Finchum.

Just outside the fort, exceptional Native American arts and crafts will be featured, in addition to ethnic Cherokee food, and a Lakota Tipi exhibit.

In our annual tradition, the circle will host several performances of Native American music, drum, and dance. The dancing demonstrations will include the Fancy Dance and Hoop Dance, the Jingle Dance, the Men’s Traditional, Grass and Straight Dances, and many more. All are invited to dance, so bring your regalia. Newly added will be a demonstration of 18th century Cherokee social dancing. The host of this portion of the event, Dale Cloer, makes his home in Cherokee, North Carolina.

IMG_3001Our featured Cherokee dancers are internationally known hoop dancer Eddie Swimmer, and champion powwow dancer Nikki Crisp!


Eddie Swimmer has captivated audiences Eddie Swimmer Crop 2across the globe using between 36 and 42 hoops. His accomplishments include a former World Champion Hoop Dancer title, performances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and in the World Cup Soccer Tournament in Dallas Texas as well as choreographing the Broadway show hoop dance for ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. Nikki Crisp as danced across the world as well, and has been performing for over 20 years. Her talents also include traditional beadwork and authentic frybread cooking. Nikki Crisp will be providing food vending for this event, including her famous Indian tacos.

Our 2015 featured Cherokee artist is Lola Swimmer, of Cherokee, NC. Her unique specialty is using feathers as her canvass to paint, landscape scenes, military style art, angels, warriors, eagles and much more. All her feathers are one of a kind with no two ever alike. She also does canvas art, prints, and face painting for the children.

Our 2015 featured storyteller is Freeman Owle. He is a noted lecturer, historian, and member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, and has traveled all over the eastern United States lecturing to DSC00103various groups, which include churches, military units, and schools.   Freeman Owle has told stories and presented programs on Cherokee history and culture throughout the Southeast for more than ten years.

Well known in the Cherokee community, Freeman Owle serves on the board of directors of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual and is a coordinator for the Cherokee Heritage Trails project of the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative. He is one of the featured storytellers in the book Living Stories of the Cherokee, and he also appears in the video documentary Cherokee: The Principal People, which aired on public television in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky.

IMG_2946Our 2015 featured speaker is Dr. Michael Abram of the Cherokee Heritage Museum and Gallery in Cherokee, NC, who will provide a glimpse into Cherokee history and legend. He will give two lectures on Saturday, “Cherokee Cultural Masks in the 21st Century”, and “The Cherokee Four Winds,” inside the circle of Fort Watauga.

Dr. Abram has been presenting at this show since its beginning and is owner of the Cherokee Heritage Museum and Gallery. The gallery is presently being relocated from Cherokee to a location near Chattanooga. Dr. Abram has devoted his life to studying, preserving, and lecturing on Cherokee culture.

Daniel Bigay of Greeneville, TN will entertain with traditional flute music in addition to having his handmade, traditional IMG_2944Cherokee style flutes for sale. Daniel is a flute maker, Artist, Performer/Recording Artist, and demonstrator, who lives with his wife, Kay, in the mountains of Tennessee. He has released two CD’s, the most recent being nominated for best flute recording at the 2005 Indian Summer Music Awards. Daniel and Kay are passionate about education and sharing of the Cherokee culture in the school system, at Pow-Wow’s, and various shows and festivals.

Admission is $5.00 per adult, $1.00 for children. All proceeds from admissions go to Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, to support this event. This event is made possible by the support of Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, the DoubleTree by Hilton, and the Comfort Inn of Johnson City.

For information contact:

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area  

(423) 543‑5808.

1651 W. Elk Avenue       Elizabethton, TN 37643


Schedule of Events! – Siege of Fort Watauga

May 16 & 17, 2015



S A T U R D A Y, M A Y 16th

10:00 Camps Open

10:30   Raising the Colors & Militia Inspection (Fort Watauga)

11:00   Kids Militia Drill (Talbot’s Meadow – in front of Fort Watauga)

11:30   Colonial Games (Fort Watauga)

12:00   “Ms. Jane”, Colonial Frontier Slave Narrative: Ms. Lynette Stuart (Fort Watauga)

IMG_28521:00     Battle Reenactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga”

2:00     “Recruitment of Children into His Majesty’s Service” (British Camp)

2:30     Field Music: Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums (Fort Watauga)

3:00     Auction (Visitors Center)

4:00     Salt Making on the Frontier: Mr. Jim Boardwine (Fort Watauga)

5:00     Camps Close. Please join us tomorrow for another exciting day of living history!



S U N D A Y, M A Y 17th

10:00   Camps Open – Worship Service (Fort Watauga)

11:00   Militia Inspection (Fort Watauga)

11:30   Colonial Games (Fort Watauga)


12:00   “Ms. Jane”, Colonial Frontier Slave Narrative: Ms. Lynette Stuart (Fort Watauga)

1:00     Battle Reenactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga”

1:30     Field Music: Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums (Fort Watauga)

2:00     Ladies Tea & Sunday Social – Everyone Welcomed (Fort Watauga)

3:00     Retiring the Colors (Fort Watauga) Event Closed. Thank you for coming!


O N G O I N G   A C T I V I T I E S   T H R O U G H O U T  

T H E   W E E K E N D

Cherokee Lifeways and Demonstrations, Colonial Games, Salt Making, Tavern Keeping, Leather Work, Weaving, Food Preservation, Lard Rendering, Hand Sewing, Knitting, Flax Processing, Colonial Music, Open Hearth Cooking, Flintlock Firearms Demonstrations, 18th Century Militia Encampment, British Camp, And Many More Aspects of 18th Century Life!


18TH C E N T U R Y M A R K E T  F A I R

Ft. Vause Outfitters, Daniel Boone of Kentucky, Zettlemoyer Pottery, Grubbs Station,

Wintergreen Farms, Roy Carter, Trader Bob, Squirrel Town Traders, Johnson and Moffett, McDuffies Trade, Shaun Harley: Pewterer


Take advantage of colonial merchants selling period wares in “Sutler’s Row”. There will be several vendors offering a myriad of IMG_278818th century reproduction items for the colonial enthusiast or the primitive decorator. Vendors this year include Zettlemoyer Pottery offering reproduction redware and other 18th century pottery items, Trader Bob offering tanned animal pelts and hides, Ft. Vause Outfitters specializing in finished leather goods, and several other vendors offering everything from 18th century reproduction clothing, weaponry, and original antiques, to replica housewares, hand-carved wooden items, and military accouterments.

Several Revolutionary War living history units will be in attendance and will make the 18th century come to life during the weekend. Units include the First Maryland based in Hendersonville, NC, IMG_2850Musgrove’s Mill Militia and the South Carolina Rangers based in upstate South Carolina, and two British units; the 42nd Light Infantry and the North Carolina Highland Regiment. The host unit is the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia based at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area. Numerous individuals also participate in the event portraying many 18th century walks of life including Cherokee Natives, Backcountry Hunters, Farmers, Housewives, African Slaves, Commoners and Gentry.

For more information on this and other exciting events at Sycamore Shoals please contact the park at 423-543-5808 or visit the park’s website at Bring the entire family and see how your ancestors played a crucial role in our region’s history and in the formation of our nation. Hear the rattle of muskets, smell the campfire smoke, and see the 18th century come to life at the Siege of Fort Watauga. This event is sponsored by The Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia and The Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.


Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area

1651 W. Elk Ave. Elizabethton, TN 37643


For more information please call 423-543-5808

or visit these websites…