Our 2017 Calendar of Special Events


Old Christmas: Militia Muster at Fort Watauga

Saturday, January 7

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, January 8

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Christmas isn’t over yet! European migrants brought Old World holiday traditions to America, from the Dutch Sinterklaas 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.


Winter Militia Muster at Fort Watauga

Saturday, February 4

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, February 5

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Visit Fort Watauga and step into a colorful Revolutionary world. Reenactors portray a variety of characters, from hunters and farmers to land speculators and backcountry gentry. Walk among colonists and native people who share their past through talks, mini-dramas, and demonstrations of 18th century life.


Overmountain Weavers Guild Fibers Show and Sale      

Saturday, March 18                                                                   

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 8

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, April 9

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.


Landscape Seminar & Plant Auction        

Saturday, April 15                               

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 29

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 13

8:00 am

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


23rd Annual Siege at Fort Watauga

Saturday & Sunday, May 20 & May 21

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.


27th Year in 2017! Sycamore Shoals Native American Festival

Saturday & Sunday, June 3 and 4

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.


Summer Art Show at Sycamore Shoals     

Art show and sale, June 25 – July 31

Meet-the-Artist Awards Reception: Sunday, June 25

1:30 – 4:00 pm

This multi-media exhibit is two art shows in one:  “14th Annual Judged show” and the “22nd Annual Watauga Valley Art League Member show”. Public is invited to the June 28 Reception and to enjoy the art exhibit all month.


Independence on the Frontier: Militia Muster at Fort Watauga

Saturday, July 1

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, July 2

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. The Celebration will take place on Saturday; the muster will continue until 3 pm on Sunday.


Liberty: The Saga of Sycamore Shoals – Our 38th Year!

Thursday – Saturday, July 13 – 15, 20 – 22 & 27 – 29

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 Area. Admission Charge.


14th Annual Elizabethton Butterfly Count

Saturday, August 5

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).


Newell Hendershot exhibit – Wall show

Sunday, August 6 – Thursday, August 31

Opening Reception: Sunday August 6th

1:30 pm – 4:00pm

Water-media exhibit presented by local art groups and Tennessee Watercolor Society members.


The Gathering at Sycamore Shoals

Saturday, September 16

10:00 am

On Saturday the 16th of September 2017.  The Tennessee Society Sons of the American Revolution will celebrate the 236th “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.  For more information please contact Ronnie Lail at 423-914-8677 Wataugatnssar@Gmail.com .


20th Annual Fort Watauga Knap-In

Saturday & Sunday, September 16 & 17

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 23

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, September 24

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

Monday, 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 236 years ago.


Bird Walks with the Lee & Lois Herndon TOS Chapter            

Saturdays, October 7, 14, 21, & 28                               

8:00 am

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


22nd Annual Sycamore Shoals Quilt Show

Friday & Saturday,   October 6, and 7th                                               

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, October 8

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.


Scary Stories at Fort Watauga

Thursday, October 26

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 11 and 12

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……


A Walk in Their Boots: A Military Timeline

Saturday, November 11

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, November 12

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

In honor of Veteran’s Day join reenactors and historians from across the nation for this unique look at our country’s military history. From the Revolutionary War to modern conflicts, see how our armed services evolved throughout the years. Uniform displays, living history camps, weapons demonstrations and battle reenactments are just a few of the many activities.


Colonial Harvest Celebration

Saturday, November 11

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, November 12

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

While visiting the Military Timeline, 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 Show

Saturday, November 11

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sunday, November 12

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

November 19th until January 7th , 2018

Opening Reception: Sunday, December 3

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 3 with great opportunities for holiday shopping! Artwork from the Watauga Valley Art League will remain on display during regular park hours throughout the month of December until January 7th, 2018.


Lamplight Christmas Wreath Exhibit

November 19th until January 7th, 2018

Tuesday – Saturday

9:00 am – 4:00 pm


1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

A visit to the park Visitors Center is sure to inspire as the rooms will be graced with wreaths of all designs and colors hung from old time lampposts. Please contact the park to request a place in this show. Wreaths will be made by community members, civic groups and schools to bring to life the Christmas spirit of our region.


Christmas at the Carter Mansion

Friday & Saturday, December 1 & 2

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


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

Saturdays                                                                                  10:00 am – 12 pm

The Fife & Drum Corps performs at historical events, dedications, and parades. This group is open to anyone ages 13 & up. Musical experience is welcome but not necessary; just come with a willingness to learn. Meet our volunteer coordinator John Large at the Sycamore Shoals Visitors Center. Lessons are free of charge, just call and let us know you’re coming!


Gardening Series with Ben Hunter

Sponsored by the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners

Each session – 9:00 am – noon

Saturday, February 4, 2017 – Raised Bed Gardening

Saturday, March 4, 2017    – Vegetable Gardening

Saturday, August 5, 2017    – Fall Gardening

Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 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.


The Liberty Spinners

2nd Tuesday of the Month, April to November

9:30 am – 11:30 am

This gathering of spinners and fiber artists is open to anyone interested in the art of spinning. All are welcome!


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 Tuesday through Saturday

1:00 PM – 4:30 PM Sunday

Closed Mondays

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