2019 Calendar of Events


Come Share in the Glorious Cause of Liberty! 


Old Christmas at Fort Watauga

Saturday, January 5

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, January 6

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Christmas isn’t over yet! European migrants brought Old World holiday traditions to America, from the Tannenbaum to the Twelve Days of Christmas. Discover the English, German, Scottish and Irish roots of our modern holiday celebrations. Contact the park for detailed schedule.


The Overmountain Institute

Friday – Sunday, March 8, 9 & 10

Join us for a unique weekend dedicated to sharing in depth knowledge about life on the colonial frontier. Skilled heritage interpreters, living historians and expert craftsmen will bring life in the 18th century Watauga settlement to new light through a series of demonstrations, workshops, seminars, and hands on activities. Come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the lives, hardships and accomplishments of the early settlers and native Cherokee who called this area home over two centuries ago.

Pre-registration and fee required. Please contact the park for details.


Overmountain Weavers Guild Fibers Show and Sale

Saturday, March 16                                                                   

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Don’t miss this great opportunity to visit with some of the best fiber artists of our region! If you love fibers, this is the place for you! Demonstrations include weaving, spinning, knitting, natural dyeing, and more. A variety of handmade items will be offered for sale.


Carter Mansion Celebration & Militia Muster

Saturday, April 6

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, April 7

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Join us for two days of history, traditional arts and family fun as we celebrate the oldest frame house in Tennessee, and the historically prominent Carter family. Travel back to the 1780’s and tour the Carter Mansion. Witness living history reenactors demonstrating aspects of 18th century life, and see local craftsmen showcasing traditional skills.


Annual Plant Auction           

Saturday, April 13                               

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

An exciting array of unusual ornamental & native perennials, trees and shrubs will be auctioned during this event. A great opportunity to add new species to your landscape! Sponsored by The UT Extension Service, E. Tenn. Nursery Assoc., and the Eliz/Carter Co. Chamber of Commerce.


Community Plant Exchange

Saturday, April 27

9:00 am – 10:00 am

The front parking lot will be bustling this morning! Bring cuttings and potted outdoor and indoor plants, to exchange for species you don’t have—a fun way to meet other gardeners and increase your collection.  


Bird Walk with the Lee & Lois Herndon TOS Chapter                

Saturday, May 11

8:00 am

Meet other birders and naturalists at Sycamore Shoals for a morning of birding during the migratory season.


25th   Annual Siege at Fort Watauga

Saturday & Sunday, May 18 & May 19

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

It is the summer of 1776 and the Watauga settlement is at war. Join us as 200 colonial and Native reenactors present this dramatic retelling of the Cherokee attack brought on the settlers of the Watauga valley. Visit the living history camps, shop with period vendors, and witness battle re-enactments both days. Hear the rattle of muskets, smell the campfire smoke and see history come to life at the Siege of Fort Watauga. Contact the park for a detailed schedule.


29th   Annual Native American Festival

Saturday & Sunday, June 1 and 2

10:00 am – 6:00 pm

A two-day celebration of our Native American heritage! Award-winning dancers, storytellers, artists, and scholars gather at the circle to share knowledge and demonstrate their skills. Come and discover Native American arts, music, and legends, with an emphasis on the Cherokee culture. Admission Charge.


Independence on the Frontier: Militia Muster at Fort Watauga

Saturday, June 29

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, June 30

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Experience the 4th of July, 18th century-style! What did colonists think about a new nation? Be a guest in Fort Watauga as news of Independence arrives to the colonial frontier. Walk among historical characters and hear their varied reactions to the Declaration, from fear of war to the hope of a brighter future.


Summer Art Show at Sycamore Shoals       

Art show and sale, July 12 through July 28

Meet-the-Artist Awards Reception: Sunday, July 14

1:30 – 4:00 pm

This multi-media exhibit is two art shows in one:  “16th Annual Judged show” and the “24th Annual Watauga Valley Art League Member show”. Public is invited to the July 14th Reception and to enjoy the art exhibit all month.


Liberty: The Saga of Sycamore Shoals – Our 41st Year!

Thursday – Saturday, July 11 – 13, 18 – 20 & 25 – 27

7:30 pm

Tennessee’s official outdoor drama, presented by local performers against the backdrop of Fort Watauga.   See the Revolution as told by the Overmountain Men: colonists who defied British law and settled on Cherokee lands. These settlers formed an independent government, made treaties with the Cherokee, defended their homes, and fought a British army at the epic battle of King’s Mountain. Bleacher seating is available in the Amphitheater. Sponsored by Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. Admission Charge.


16th  Annual Elizabethton Butterfly Count

Saturday, August 3

9:00 am

Meet naturalist Don Holt at Sycamore Shoals for this day-long winged adventure across town. Come for all or part of the day. Sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association & Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. (Rain Date to be announced).                                                          


NE TN Water Media Innovations Art Show

Daily during park hours – August 4 through August 25

Reception and Demonstration:

Saturday August 10th

Water Media Demonstration

10 am – 1 pm


2 pm – 4 pm

This new art event is sponsored by the Watauga Valley Art League and focuses on watercolor and other water media on paper. Entries are open to members of the TN Watercolor Society, the Kingsport Arts Guild, and the Watauga Valley Art League.   For information please contact Barbara Jernigan – bbjernigan@gmail.com


The Gathering at Sycamore Shoals

Saturday, September 14

10:00 am

On Saturday the 14th of September 2019, the Tennessee Society Sons of the American Revolution will celebrate the 238th “Gathering at Sycamore Shoals”. This is a celebration of the Overmountain Men coming together to march to King’s Mountain and defeat Loyalist forces under Col. Patrick Ferguson. We will have a Memorial Service and a wreath laying service. The public is invited to attend and to participate in the wreath laying.


22nd Annual Fort Watauga Knap-In

Saturday & Sunday, September 14 & 15

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Knapping—with a “K”—has nothing to do with sleep! Knapping is the art of making stone tools, and the Knap-In at Fort Watauga is our celebration of Tennessee Archaeology Week. Watch primitive skills craftsmen make arrowheads, spear points and other survival tools. There will be demonstrations of primitive tools such as the bow, arrow and atlatl throughout the day.


Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration

Saturday, September 21

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, September 22

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Join us for an encampment by the Overmountain militia before the Battle of King’s Mountain in 1780. Live some of the most crucial days of the American Revolution!


Overmountain Victory Trail March

Wednesday, September 25

2:00 pm (approximate time)

Members of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association have recreated the historic march to King’s Mountain since 1975. On September 25, marchers will cross the Watauga River at Sycamore Shoals, just as the Overmountain militia crossed 239 years ago.


Bird Walks with the Lee & Lois Herndon TOS Chapter  

Saturdays, October 5, 12, 19, & 26                                

8:00 am

Meet other birders and naturalists at Sycamore Shoals for a morning of birding during the migratory season.


24th  Annual Sycamore Shoals Quilt Show

Friday & Saturday,   October 4, and 5                                       

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, October 6

1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

This three-day exhibition, sponsored by the Sycamore Shoals Stitchers, features a show and demonstrations by local quilters. Bed quilts, wall hangings, holiday and baby quilts, miniatures and antique quilts will be on display. 


Ancient Tones Festival

October 12th and 13th

Times to be announced

East Tennessee has long been known for its musical lineage. Names of East Tennesseans like Brownie McGhee, “Tennessee Ernie” Ford, Dolly Parton, Charlie Bowman, Howard Armstrong and Grace Moore, ring prominently across multiple genres and generations. But what did some of the earliest music of our region sound like? The first-annual Ancient Tones Festival at Sycamore Shoals is the first musical celebration of its kind to document the cross-cultural sounds that were the audible backdrop of early East Tennessee History. Festivities will include work songs, spirituals, fiddling, native music, ballad singing and early banjo playing. Sing along or simply soak it in. Mark your calendars and bring a friend to what is sure to be a delightful and educational musical time.


Small Works Art Show

Sunday, October 20 – 27

Reception: Sunday, October 20

1:30 pm

Displays of 8 x 10 or smaller works by members of the Watauga Valley Art League are featured during this art event.


Scary Stories at Fort Watauga

Thursday, October 24

7:30 pm

Strange things happen around All Hallows Eve, especially at an old fort by the river. Bring the family and join us for tales of woe and terror, the weird and macabre, with a touch of wit thrown in for good measure. Don’t be afraid, Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals isn’t haunted… we think!


Autumn Heritage Celebration

Saturday and Sunday, November 9 and 10

This year may be drawing to a close, but we aren’t going to let it pass without one more festive weekend at Fort Watauga!   Events for the two days include……


Colonial Harvest Celebration

Saturday, November 9

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, November 10

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Join the festivities at Fort Watauga as the Washington County Militia gather to celebrate recent victories in the War for Independence and give thanks for a bountiful harvest. Enjoy demonstrations of 18th century life and living history presentations.


 Fall Fibers Fair

Saturday, November 9

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, November 10

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Fall is the time we plan our winter projects and our handmade holiday gifts! Spend a day visiting our regions finest fiber producers and artists! The day will include workshops,vendors with handmade items for sale, raw fibers, and demonstrations of spinning, weaving, and more!


Winterfest Art Show

Sunday, December 8th – Wednesday, December 18th

Opening Reception:   Sunday, December 8

1:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Kick off the holidays at Sycamore Shoals! The Watauga Valley Art League exhibition and sale begins with a reception on December 8 with great opportunities for holiday shopping! Artwork from the Watauga Valley Art League will remain on display during regular park hours through December 18th.


Christmas at the Carter Mansion

Friday, December 6 & Saturday, December 7

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Spend a candlelit evening in the oldest frame house in Tennessee, decorated with bright greenery for the holidays. Enjoy music, refreshments and historic interpreters acting out scenes from an 18th century Christmas. This Christmas celebration is by reservation only and space is limited. Contact the park at regular operating hours for more information.


Throughout the Year


Carter Mansion and Sabine Hill Guided Tours

Open seasonally and by appointment for groups

Sycamore Shoals operates two historic house museums! The John and Landon Carter Mansion, built between 1775 and 1780, is the oldest frame house in Tennessee and boasts intricate woodwork, over mantle paintings, and was home to one of the early founding families of the area. Sabine Hill, built ca. 1818, is the newly restored Taylor family home and is considered to be one of the finest examples of wood-framed Federal architecture in the State of Tennessee.

Tour prices for each house: $7.00 – Adults; $3.00 – Ages 7 to 17; Ages 6 and under – Free. Please contact the park for tour times and group scheduling.


Traditional Arts Workshops

January – December

Dates and times vary.

Catch this unique opportunity to learn traditional art forms from expert instructors. Pre-registration is required in addition to an instructor and materials fee.   Ask for our separate listing!


Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps

1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month

10 am – noon

The Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps performs at historical events, dedications, and parades.  Musical experience is welcome but not necessary, just come with a willingness to learn.


Gardening Series with Ben Hunter

Sponsored by the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners

Each session – 9:00 am – noon

Saturday, February 2, 2019 – Raised Bed Gardening

Saturday, March 2, 2019    – Vegetable Gardening

Saturday, August 3, 2019    – Fall Gardening

Saturday, October 19, 2019 – Get Ready for Spring: Winterizing Your Beds

Gardener extraordinaire, Ben Hunter, will be joining us to share his experiences & techniques for growing the garden of your dreams!  Each program meets in the park Community Room.


Old Time Music Jam – Led by Art Lang

4th Sunday of each Month                                 

1:30 pm – 4 pm

Enjoy the rich musical traditions of our region each month. Old time musicians of all levels are welcome. Don’t play an instrument? Come on over, kick back and enjoy the tunes! 


Friends of Sycamore Shoals Meetings

January – December

The Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park sponsors many of our special events. If you would like to be a part of what goes on behind the scenes, join us for our meetings! They are open to members, non-members and prospective members alike. Call the park for meeting times and programs.


History at Home                                                       

May – August

A creative mix of historical & natural programs presented throughout the summer by our seasonal interpretive staff. Please call for weekly schedules.



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 sunrise to sunset.


For more information contact:

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

1651 West Elk Avenue

Elizabethton, TN 37643

(423) 543-5808