2021 Special Events Calendar

Our 2021 Calendar of Special Events may be affected by Covid-19 related changes to program schedules, along with visitor safety considerations.  Please check with the park or follow us on the websites listed below for updated information.

We thank you for your continued support!

Old Christmas at Fort Watauga 

*Due to the current high Covid numbers, this event has been cancelled. *

Saturday, January 9                                                                      10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, January 10                                                                   10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Christmas isn’t over yet! In the 18th century colonial Americans celebrated a holiday on January 6th called Old Christmas. Visit Fort Watauga to learn about the 12 days of Christmas and discover the European roots of our modern holiday celebrations. Contact the park for detailed schedule.

The Overmountain Institute    

Friday – Sunday, March 5, 6, & 7

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. Gain 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 13                                                                    10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, March 14                                                                     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

Saturday, April 10                                                                     10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Join us 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 17                                                                     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. 

Bird Walk with the Lee & Lois Herndon TOS Chapter             

Saturday, May 8                                                                        8:00 am

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

27th   Annual Siege at Fort Watauga

Saturday & Sunday, May 15 & May 16                                      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.            

Watauga Valley Art Leagues Summer Show – Celebrating 51 years!   

Art show and sale, June 6 – 27

Meet the Artist Awards Reception: Sunday, June 6                      1:30 – 4:00 pm

This multi-media exhibit is two art shows in one: “18th Annual Judged show” and the “26th Annual Watauga Valley Art League Member show”. Please join us for this popular summer event! 

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

Friday & Saturday -June 4-5; 11-12                                            7:30 pm

Thursday, Friday, & Saturday – June 17-19; 24-26                        7:30 pm          

Tennessee’s official outdoor drama presented by local performers against the backdrop of Fort Watauga. See the Revolution through the eyes of the Overmountain Men: colonists who defied British law and settled west of the blue ridge.  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.  Presented in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater; bleacher style seating.  Sponsored by Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.  Admission Charge. 

Independence on the Frontier

Saturday, July 24                                                                      10:00 am – 4:00 pm

By today’s standards information traveled slowly in the 18th century. Be a guest in Fort Watauga as news of Independence finally arrives on the colonial frontier.  What did the early settlers think about a new nation? From fear of war to the hope of a brighter future, walk among historical characters and hear their varied reactions to the Declaration.  

Cherokee Heritage Day *NEW!*

Saturday, August 28                                                                 

Schedule and Times to be announced

Sycamore Shoals is forever linked with the rich traditions and influence of the Native Cherokee. Join us for a day devoted to sharing Cherokee history and culture through traditional arts and historical presentations. Activities include traditional Cherokee dance, music, language, cooking demonstrations, and skills such as basketmaking, finger weaving, beadwork and woodcarving. Contact the park for a detailed schedule. Admission Charge.   

18th   Annual Elizabethton Butterfly Count

Saturday, August 7                                                                     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. (Rain Date to be announced).

The Gathering at Sycamore Shoals

Saturday, September 11                                                             10:00 am

Join the Tennessee Society Sons of the American Revolution at Fort Watauga in honor of the Overmountain Men and their victory over loyalist forces at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The 241st anniversary of the “Gathering at Sycamore Shoals” will be celebrated with a memorial service and a ceremonial wreath laying.   

24th Annual Fort Watauga Knap-In

Saturday & Sunday, September 11 & 12                                      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.

OVTA Watauga River Crossing

Saturday, September 25                                                               1:00 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 241 years ago. 

Overmountain Muster at Sycamore Shoals

Saturday, September 25                                                             10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, September 26                                                               10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Join us for a weekend of living history demonstrations at the encampment of 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 2, 9, 16, & 23                                               8:00 am

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

26th   Annual Sycamore Shoals Quilt Show

Friday & Saturday, October 1 and 2                                           9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, October 3                                                                     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 17 – October 31

Reception:  Sunday, October 17                                                 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 28                                                                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 family friendly stories, songs, and tales that are sure to send a shiver down your spine and tickle your funny bone.

Autumn Heritage Celebration

Saturday and Sunday, November 13 and 14

The 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 13                                                             10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, November 14                                                               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 13                                                             10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, November 14                                                               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!

Christmas at the Carter Mansion

Friday, December 3 & Saturday, December 4                               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 re-creating an 18th century Christmas celebration.  Tours are 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.

Please contact the park for tour cost, times, and group scheduling.

Gardening Series with Ben Hunter

Sponsored by the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners             

Each session – 9:00 am – noon

Saturday, February 6 – Raised Bed Gardening

Saturday, March 20 – Vegetable Gardening

Saturday, August 7 – Fall Gardening           

Saturday, October 16– 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                                                                 

Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is our 501c3 support group who support the park through the production of Tennessee’s Official Outdoor Drama, Liberty!, our interpretive programs, and with park operations.   If you would like to learn more & become a member, please visit www.friendsofsycamoreshoals.org 

The following educational groups are a part of the Friends of Sycamore Shoals and welcome your participation!

            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 daily for lunch)

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM Sunday

Our Visitors Center is closed most State holidays.   

Park grounds are open from sunrise to sunset.

1651 West Elk Avenue         

Elizabethton, TN 37643      

(423) 543-5808