2020 Calendar of Special Events


Old Christmas at Fort Watauga

Saturday, January 4

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, January 5

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

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


The Overmountain Institute    

Friday – Sunday, March 6, 7, & 8

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 14                                                                   

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, March 15

11:00 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 4

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Join us for a day 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 18                               

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 25

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 9

8:00 am

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


26th   Annual Siege at Fort Watauga

Saturday & Sunday, May 16 & May 17

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.


30th   Annual Native American Festival – 

Cancelled this year in keeping with CDC Covid Guidelines

Saturday & Sunday, May 30 & May 31

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-

Cancelled this year in keeping with CDC Covid Guidelines

Saturday, June 27

10:00 am – 4:00 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.


Watauga Valley Art Leagues Summer Show – Celebrating 50 years!

Cancelled this year in keeping with CDC Covid Guidelines

Art show and sale, July 9 through July 26

Meet-the-Artist Awards Reception: Sunday, July 12

1:30 – 4:00 pm

This multi-media exhibit is two art shows in one:  “17th Annual Judged show” and the “25th Annual Watauga Valley Art League Member show”. Please join us for this popular summer event!


Liberty: The Saga of Sycamore Shoals – Our 42nd Year!

Cancelled this year in keeping with CDC Covid Guidelines

Thursday – Saturday, July 9 – 11, 16 – 18 & 23 – 25

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.


17th   Annual Elizabethton Butterfly Count

Saturday, August 1

9:00 am

Meet naturalist Don Holt at Sycamore Shoals for this day-long winged adventure across town. The morning is spent at Sycamore Shoals and the afternoon in other areas of Elizabethton. Come for all or part of the day! (There is a small fee if you wish to have your name included on the official count list.) Sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association & Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. (Rain Date to be announced). 


The Knap – In has been cancelled this year – we will see you again in 2021!

23rd Annual Fort Watauga Knap-In

Saturday & Sunday, September 12 & 13

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.


The Gathering at Sycamore Shoals

Saturday, September 19

10:00 am

On Saturday the 26th of September 2020, the Tennessee Society Sons of the American Revolution will celebrate the 240th “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.


Overmountain Victory Trail March

Friday, 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 240 years ago.


Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration

Saturday, September 26

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, September 27

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!


Bird Walks with the Lee & Lois Herndon TOS Chapter  

Saturdays, October 3, 10, 17, & 24                                

8:00 am

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


The Quilt Show has been cancelled this year -we apologize for the inconvenience and hope to return in 2021!

25th  Annual Sycamore Shoals Quilt Show

Friday & Saturday,   October 2, and 3                                       

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, October 4

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.


Small Works Art Show

Sunday, October 18 – November 1

Reception: Sunday, October 18

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 29

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 14 and 15

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……

26th Annual Siege of Fort Watauga (Rescheduled from May!)

Colonial Harvest Celebration

Saturday, November 14

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, November 15

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 14

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, November 15

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 6 – Wednesday, December 16

Opening Reception:   Sunday, December 6

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 6 with great opportunities for holiday shopping! Artwork from the Watauga Valley Art League will remain on display during regular park hours through December 16.


Christmas at the Carter Mansion

Friday, December 4 & Saturday, December 5

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.


Gardening Series by Ben Hunter 

Sponsored by the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners

Each session – 9:00 am – noon

Saturday, February 1st – Raised Bed Gardening

Saturday, March 21st – Vegetable Gardening

Saturday, August 1st – Fall Gardening           

Saturday, October 17th – 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 State Historic Park

January – December

The Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is our 501c3 support group who assist Sycamore Shoals in many ways, including the production of Tennessee’s Official Outdoor Drama, Liberty! If you would like information on their organization or on becoming a member, please visit www.friendsofsycamoreshoals.org The following educational groups are a part of the Friends group and welcome your participation! For further information, call the park at 423-543-5808.


            Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners

Do you enjoy gardening? The NE TN Master Gardeners, trained via the University of Tennessee Extension service program, volunteer at Sycamore Shoals to help maintain our North American Butterfly Association garden and other historic gardens. Please contact the park if you would like to volunteer to help keep these gardens beautiful for everyone to enjoy – all are welcome!


Sabine Hill Social Society

Focused on the early 19th century era associated with the Taylor family and historic Sabine Hill, this group offers opportunities year round to learn early 19th century dance, traditional games, along with various social and educational events, workshops, and lectures. Watch our monthly events listings for upcoming activities!


            Washington County Militia

This is the host living history organization of Sycamore Shoals which present reenactments and militia musters that truly bring our history to life. The militia invites you to visit them at the park for the many educational events they present throughout the year


            Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps

The Fife & Drum Corps, a component of the Washington County Militia, performs at historical events, dedications, parades, and more. If you would like to join the Corps, musical experience is welcome but not necessary, just come with a willingness to learn.


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!


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 –

Closed for lunch and cleaning from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM Sunday

Our Visitors Center is closed most State holidays.

Park grounds are open from sunrise to sunset.


Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

1651 West Elk Avenue

Elizabethton, TN 37643

(423) 543-5808