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The 24th Annual Siege at Fort Watauga will take place May 19-20

John Thompson • May 15, 2018 at 7:00 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Over 200 living history re-enactors will participate in the 24th annual Siege of Fort Watauga this weekend at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, once again bringing the 18th century frontier to life. The park is located at 1651 W.Elk Ave.

The re-enactors will once again portray the principal groups active in the summer of 1776 on the frontier: The families who had recently relocated from colonies, the British traders and military men and the Cherokee.

The Siege of Fort Watauga is a live retelling of the Cherokee attack brought upon the settlers of the Watauga Valley in June 1776. At Sycamore Shoals, Fort Watauga offered protection to nearly 200 settlers during a two-week siege led by Cherokee War Chief Old Abram and 300 warriors.

Sycamore Shoals will once again be the scene of war during the Siege of Fort Watauga. The event lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 19. and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 20.

Visitors will feel they have stepped back in time as they visit the fort, militia camps, British encampment and Cherokee camp. The highlight of the weekend is always the attack on the fort, which will be re-enacted at 1 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The popular Sutler’s Row will also be back this year, with vendors offering a variety of 18th century reproduction items for the colonial enthusiast or the primitive decorator. Vendors this year include:

• Johnson & Moffet, specializing in hand-crafted wooden items and herbal remedies.

• The Virginia Floorcloth and Textiles Co., offering hand-painted canvas floor coverings and block printed neckerchiefs.

• Ft. Vause Outfitters, specializing in finished leather goods.

• Windhil Woolens, offering hand-processed and dyed woolen goods such as yarn, blankets and clothing.

• Several other vendors will offer everything from 18th century reproduction clothing, weaponry and original antiques to replica housewares and military accouterments.

• Food vending and concessions will also be available for purchase from the Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.

Several Revolutionary War living history units will be in attendance and will make the 18th century come to life during the weekend. The recreated units include the 1st Maryland, based in Hendersonville, N.C., Musgrove’s Mill Militia and the South Carolina Rangers, based in upstate South Carolina, and British units the 42nd Light Infantry, the 71st Highland Regiment and the British Legion. The host unit is the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia, based at Sycamore Shoals.

Visitors may also enjoy musical entertainment from The Sons of Liberty, Faire Wynds and the Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps. Numerous individuals will also participate in the event portraying many 18th century walks of life, including Cherokee, backcountry hunters, farmers, housewives, indentured servants, commoners and gentry.

A special addition to this year’s event will be an evening concert on Saturday featuring the talents of the Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums, the official fife and drum corps of Tennessee. During the concert, corps members will showcase traditional and martial music of the 18th century on fife and drum as well as individual performances on other traditional instruments.

The concert begins at 7:30at the Fort Watauga Amphitheater. Admission to the concert is $5 for adults and $3 for students aged 7-17. Children 6 and under will be admitted free. Concert tickets will be available during the daytime events at the park as well as before the concert. Proceeds will benefit the Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums in its mission to promote the cultural heritage of the area through music and historic interpretation.

For more information, call the park at 423-543-5808 or visit the website at www.sycamoreshoalstn.org. Admission to the event, which is sponsored by The Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia and The Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, is free.

The schedule of events for Saturday, May 19:

10 a.m.: Raising the Colors.

10:30 a.m.: Frontier scout skills: stalk and hide.

11 a.m.: Ulster Scots in America.

11:30 a.m.: Early American music with the “Sons of Liberty.”

Noon: 18th century medicinal uses of plants and herbs.

1 p.m.: Battle re-enactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga — Part 1.”

1:30 p.m. Field music: Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums.

2 p.m.: Patience cooper: enterprising woman of the frontier.

2:30 p.m.: Salt making on the frontier.

3 p.m.: Auction (18th century reproductions, clothing, housewares, books and much more).

4 p.m.: Living history camps close for the day.

7:30 p.m.: Evening concert: Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums (Fort Watauga Ampitheater).

The schedule of events for Sunday, May 20:

10 a.m.: Event Opens.

10:30 a.m.: Militia muster and inspection.

11 a.m.: 18th Century worship service.

Noon: Early American music with the “Sons of Liberty.”

1 p.m.: Patience Cooper: enterprising woman of the frontier.

2 p.m.: Battle Reenactment: “Siege of Fort Watauga — Part 2.”

2:30 p.m.: Field music: Watauga Valley Fifes & Drums.

3 p.m.: Retiring the Colors.

Ongoing Activities Throughout the Weekend:

Native American camp, colonial games, cornshuck dolls, medicinal plants, salt making, 18th century laundress, weaving, 18th century market faire, hand sewing, flax processing, art displays, colonial music, colonial balladeer, open hearth cooking, flintlock firearms demonstrations, 18th Century militia encampment, British camp, and other aspects of 18th century life.

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