As we’ve said in this space many times before, Northeast Tennessee is alive with history. Some of the most heroic figures in American history walked this very ground. This is where the state of Tennessee was born. You can even say this area is where the identity of this nation was forged.
We often take the rich history of his area for granted. We shouldn’t. In fact, we should be sharing it with a child or adult who may not be familiar with this true story of American courage and liberty. You can begin this work by catching a performance of “Liberty!,” Tennessee’s official outdoor drama. The entire production takes place on the grounds of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area near the banks of the Watauga River in Elizabethton. If you haven’t seen this history-based drama before, you really should go.
“Liberty!” illustrates the best of the American spirit of freedom and justice. More than 200 years ago, frontiersmen, tradesmen and clergymen from the area assembled at Fort Watauga to carve out a system of government that would stand as a model for a burgeoning nation.
The drama, which was originally produced under the title “The Wataugans,” has become an important part of preserving the region’s history. It is a story that has inspired generations of Upstate residents, and it would not be possible without the hundreds of volunteer actors — men, women and children — who come together each year to bring history alive. It is these dedicated thespians who make “Liberty!” the learning experience that it is.
“Liberty!” tells the story of how America’s first free and independent government was formed, shows the events leading to the Transylvania Purchase and chronicles the courage and determination of the Overmountain Men who mustered at Sycamore Shoals before heading to battle the Red Coats at Kings Mountain.
Performances of the drama are held Thursday-Saturday through July 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater, located just behind the Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area Visitors Center on West Elk Avenue. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for students. Children age 5 and under are admitted free.
For more information, call 543-5808.