Boones Creek might be a forgotten community to some, but judging by Saturday’s turnout for the second annual Boones Creek Day, people are doing their best to recognize the long heritage of Tennessee’s oldest community.
Having a festival that both educates and highlights Boones Creek’s place in the state’s history is all part of the fun of Boones Creek Day, which was organized by the Boones Creek Historical Trust.
“There are a lot of people moving into this area, never heard of it, don’t know about the history of it, and we want the people who are moving in here to be aware that they are living in the oldest community in Tennessee,” Trust member Edward Bowman said.
The history of Boones Creek can be dated back to 1760, according to Bowman, when famous frontiersman Daniel Boone is said to have shot a bear and later with carving his initials into a tree in Sugar Hollow. Shortly after Boone’s exploration in the area, Bowman said William Bean and his family moved into the area in 1769 as the first white settlers in Tennessee.
In addition to tours of the historic Clark House that how houses the Potters Gallery, Saturday’s festival also featured bluegrass music from Rockingham Road and the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass Band. But the festival’s main attraction was its focus on the art of handmade crafts.
Ed Lockett, of Mountain Lakes Pottery in Gray and One of a Kind Gallery in Bristol, was one of the more than 30 craftspeople lined up around the Potters Gallery property. Lockett, a returning vendor from last year’s festival, said more people were in attendance, despite Saturday’s heat.
“We had a rainy morning last year and though it’s hot this year, the attendance has been a lot better and stronger, and we’ve sold a lot more pottery this year here,” he said.
Lockett sells pottery at a number of area festivals, including Blue Plum in Johnson City and Rhythm and Roots in Bristol, but he said Boones Creek Day is more craft-friendly with its emphasis on community. As a vendor, Lockett said it’s great to be a part of a festival that aims to celebrate a heritage not many people may be aware of.
“This area has been kind of forgotten, with the growth of Jonesborough and especially Johnson City, going and annexing all around it. The people from here are so proud of their heritage, they want to remember their heritage as the Boones Creek area,” he said.
Jan Magee, of Jonesborough, has been looking forward to the festival for several weeks after attending last year. As someone who admires craftspeople, Magee said she looks forward to festivals like Boones Creek Day that highlight that kind of talent.
“They seem to really be enjoying what they do and proud to share their products and their crafts, and I don’t blame them,” she said.
Magee, who attended the festival with her daughter, Heather, said the community-focus of Boones Creek Day helps to remind others of the storied history of the area.
“When you actually have something that’s organized in an area like Boones Creek here, it makes you feel like you participate in the community,” she said.