Scary Stories at Fort Watauga – Cancelled

Due to anticipated heavy rain, high winds, and construction.

We hope to have our wonderful storytellers back to join us at a later date!

Thursday, October 28th at 7:30 pm

Strange things happen around All Hallows Eve, especially at an old fort by the river. But don’t be afraid, Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals isn’t haunted… or is it? Join us for an evening of stories, songs, and tales that are sure to send a shiver down your spine and tickle your funny bone. On Thursday, October 28th at 7:30 pm, the park will be alive with tales of haints and happenings of days gone by. An annual event not to be missed, Scary Stories will be presented in the amphitheater with Fort Watauga looming in the background providing a unique atmosphere for an evening of spooky tales geared toward the entire family.    

We are excited to welcome five exceptional storytellers to the stage this year: Dr. C. Keith Young, Catherine Yael Serota, Wallace Shealy, and the Front Porch Storytellers – Mary Jane Kennedy, and Chad Bogart. Each of these talented tellers is sure to raise goosebumps on your skin and bring a smile to your face!

Left to Right – Dr. C. Keith Young, Mary Jane Kennedy, Chad Bogart

Dr. C. Keith Young, Raconteur, is delighted to have the opportunity to return to the Scary Stories at Fort Watauga. Having charmed audiences of all ages for more than three decades (since graduating from the ETSU Reading and Story Arts program), Dr. Young has been a featured storyteller/emcee at festival events such as Jonesborough Days, the Virginia Highlands Festival, the Erwin Strawberry Festival, the Stone Soup Festival in Woodruff, South Carolina, Roan Mountain State park/Miller Homestead Days, Elizabethton’s Covered Bridge Festival, and many, many more. He is a favorite among programs that enjoy energetic, rib-tickling, family-friendly songs and tales.

Catherine Yael Serota is Southern-Appalachian born, from Asheville NC. Her career in human services lasted 42 years and took her from Greensboro NC across the state to Johnson City TN. She developed an interest in storytelling four years ago as a result of a lifetime of reading, a love of articulation and history, and now time to pursue these in retirement. Catherine is a board member of the Asheville Storytelling Circle, the North Carolina Storytelling Guild, and an alumna member of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild. She has told stories all over the region and is working on a book of stories for publication in Spring 2022.

Catherine Yael Serota

Wallace Shealy, from Flag Pond, TN has the distinction of being named the 2010 Bold Faced Liar Champion by the Storytelling Arts Center of the Southeast. Wallace is active with the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild and has been involved with the National Storytelling Festival for more than 30 years. Whether he’s recalling a tale from his childhood, telling a story based on the Good Book or spinning a yarn you will be delighted listening to him stretch the truth all out of proportion.

Wallace Shealy

Mary Jane Kennedy spent 30 years teaching in Orlando.  She has a background in music, voice-over, historical research, and storytelling.  She is the co-founder of The Homespun Storytellers and The Overmountain Singers. Also, as a co-founder of The Front Porch Storytellers, she has presented storytelling and music programs at many schools, civic functions, senior homes, and organizations throughout the Appalachian Highlands for nearly twenty years along with the popular Historic Ghost Walks of Elizabethton.

Chad Bogart descends from a long line of Appalachian storytellers. His telling is enhanced by a background in music and historical interpretation. He has been featured as a historic interpreter and character demonstrator at over fifty historic sites across the eastern US. Locally, Chad has been a featured storyteller at the Mountain Makins Festival in Morristown, TN, the Bonnie Kate Theater in Elizabethton, and the campfire series at both Roan Mountain State Park and Rock Creek Park in Erwin. He is also a co-founder of the Front Porch Storytellers. His interest in scary stories stemmed from ghost tales told by his grandmother and are a favorite among his listeners.

The program will be presented in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater which offers bench style seating and the opportunity to socially distance between family groups. Make sure to dress warmly as the nighttime air along the Watauga river can be chilly and damp. This event is free of charge and is sure to be an exciting evening with family and friends! For more information contact Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.  

Visitors Center Hours:

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday            

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM Sunday

Our Visitors Center is closed on most State holidays.

Park grounds are open from dawn until dusk.

In the event of extremely inclement winter weather, contact the park about program cancelations and park office closings.

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

1651 W. Elk Avenue

Elizabethton, TN 37643


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Overmountain Muster at Sycamore Shoals

September 25 & 26

Muster of the Overmountain Men brings Revolutionary War to life at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park!

The year was 1780, and the tide of the American Revolution was turning against the patriot cause.  The British, forced out of New England, gained new allies in the divided South, and won victory after victory in a bloody civil war.  Charleston had fallen to the British, American forces had crumbled at the battle of Camden, and things were looking very bleak for the cause of independence. Then the impossible occurred! Frontiersmen west of the blue ridge mountains began a long march, gathering an army along the way from the highlands of Virginia to the hills of South Carolina.  At a place called King’s Mountain, they destroyed British forces and opened the way for the final American victory at Yorktown.

The route they took from Virginia to South Carolina, we now know as the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.  Come celebrate with us as we re-live the muster of the Overmountain Men, which occurred at Sycamore Shoals over two hundred years ago.

Join us at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, September 25th & 26th for the Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration and Militia Muster. This weekend will be full of events centering around the story of the Overmountain Men and their historic gathering at Sycamore Shoals. It is a must-see for the entire family. From 10:00 am until 3:00 pm each day the Overmountain Victory Trail Association and the Washington County, NC Militia will present 18th century demonstrations and activities in and around Fort Watauga. Discover the vital role Sycamore Shoals played in the early frontier community, and how its significance would impact our nation’s history. Re-enactors in period clothing will be on hand throughout the weekend to share stories and demonstrations of that exciting and tumultuous time. 

At 1:00 pm On Saturday, September 25th the Overmountain Victory Trail Association will recreate the historic 1780 river crossing when Colonel William Campbell and 400 mounted militiamen from present day Abingdon, VA crossed the Watauga River at Sycamore Shoals to join Colonels Isaac Shelby and John Sevier in response to a threat from British Major Patrick Ferguson.  For the past 46 years Members of the OVTA have recreated this historic occurrence since 1975, following the same route and timetable as their legendary forebears from Abingdon, VA to Kings Mountain, SC.

Living history programming will continue Sunday, September 26th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm with more presentations and demonstrations by the Washington County, NC Militia at Fort Watauga.

While enjoying the activities of the weekend, be sure to visit the award-winning museum and interpretive center, and don’t miss the park’s interpretive film “Sycamore Shoals – Story of the American Spirit”. Also visit the park’s Book and Gift Shop to take home a special souvenir or a gift for the history buff or avid reader in your family.  These fun-filled and action-packed events are sure to entertain and educate all ages. Most events are free of charge so bring the entire family and relive some of the most crucial days of the American Revolution. For more information about this and other exciting events contact the park at the following.

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

1651 West Elk Ave

Elizabethton, TN 37643

(423) 543-5808

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Cherokee Heritage Day

Saturday, August 28, 2021         10 am – 5 pm

Micah Swimmer, Cherokee Language

Sycamore Shoals is forever linked with the rich traditions and influence of the Cherokee people.  Join us for a day devoted to sharing Cherokee history and culture through traditional arts and historic presentations. 

Guests will enjoy seeing the Aniyvwiya Dancers present traditional Cherokee dances and hearing Sonny Ledford enthrall the audience with Cherokee Lifeways.

Jarrett Grey Wildcatt sharing the beauty of the Cherokee flute and Micah Swimmer, a language instructor on the reservation, will teach some basic words and phrases from the Cherokee language.     

A wide variety of Cherokee skills will be demonstrated that include, woodcarving, beadwork, traditional basketry, finger weaving, pottery, wampum creations, cooking, blowguns and darts, along with an early Cherokee encampment.  Visitors will be able to see these creations come to life and speak with the artisans as they watch.  These rare and beautiful pieces of handmade, traditional arts and crafts will be available for purchase.

Activities for children, including making jewelry, grinding corn and using a pump drill, will also be featured.

There will be a minimal fee for admission of $6 for Adults; $3 for Ages 7 to 17;  and 6 and under are admitted Free.   Friends of Sycamore Shoals will have concessions and drinks available throughout the day.

This educational and colorful family event is presented by Indian Creek Productions, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes American Indian education and supported by Friends of Sycamore Shoals.

Fred Bradley, Cherokee Storytelling

Schedule of Events

All presentations will take place outside of Fort Watauga unless otherwise noted…..

10:30 am – 11:00 am     Cherokee Flute – Jarrett Grey Wildcatt

11:00 am – 11:30 am     Cherokee Language Lesson – Micah Swimmer

11:30 am – 12:00 pm    “Are you Smarter than a …” – Mark and Sherry Finchum

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm     Cherokee Lifeways – Sonny Ledford

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm       Traditional Cherokee Dance Demonstrations  Aniyvwiya Dancers  

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm        Trade and Treaty at Sycamore Shoals

Chad Bogart – In the Park Visitors Center

1:30 pm – 2:00 pm        Cherokee Language Lesson -Micah Swimmer

2:00 pm – 2:30 pm        Cherokee Flute  Jarrett Grey Wildcatt

2:30 pm – 30:30 pm       Cherokee Lifeways – Sonny Ledford

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm         Traditional Cherokee Dance Demonstrations

Aniyvwiya Dancers

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm        Young Warrior to Old Warrior during the Cherokee Wars                              Mark Ledford – In the Park Visitors Center

 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm        Native American Music Micah Swimmer & Dvdaya Swimmer

Presented by Indian Creek Productions, Inc.

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