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Sycamore Shoals State Park has lots of events in February

John Thompson • Updated Jan 29, 2019 at 7:49 PM

ELIZABETHTON — It may still be wintertime, but there are always interesting and fun things going on at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park all-year around. It is just that most of the activities are indoors at this time of year.

One thing that is certainly ongoing throughout the year is the biweekly rehearsals of the Watauga Valley Fife and Drub Corps. It meets on the first and third Saturdays of every month from 10 a.m to noon. The group performs at historical events, dedications and parades. Musical experience is welcome, but not necessary, just come with a willingness to learn.

The park must be assuming the groundhog will not see his shadow and that spring must be on its way. In anticipation, the park is once again featuring Ben Hunter and his raised-bed gardening. It will be held on Groundhog Day, Saturday, Feb. 2, from 9 a.m. to noon. The event is free and it is not necessary to register to attend this event. Even if the groundhog does see his shadow, it is not too early to be planning and building your spring garden. Hunter will be joining us to share his experiences and techniques for growing the garden of your dreams. Hunter is sponsored by the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardners.

One of the fun indoor events of February will be 19th century card games with the Sabine Hill Social Society on Sunday, Feb. 3, from 1-4 p.m. in the Gathering Place at the Sycamore Shoals Visitors Center.

Winter does not impact the many workshops offered at the park. For February, there is a water media painting class being offered on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon. The class will be taught by Barbara Jernigan. The cost is $12 when the students bring their supplies or $20 when supplies are provided. The students will paint with watercolors and acrylics on paper. Students with supplies may use watercolors, acrylics or fluid acrylics on paper.

There will be more art on Sunday, Feb. 10. The monthly meeting of the Watauga Valley Art League will start at 1:30 p.m. The program for the day features Linda Campbell, who will be speaking on “Editing and Submitting your Artwork for Judged Shows.” You do not have to be a member to attend the meeting, everyone is welcome.

There will be a guided tour of the Carter Mansion on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The cost of the tour is $7 for adults, $3 for students, ages 7-17, children 6 and under are admitted free. Pre-registration is required online at www.tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals. Choose “Upcoming Events” in the left hand menu.

Ranger Jason Davis will lead the tour of Tennessee’s oldest frame house. Those taking the tour will discover the secrets of this elegant frontier home and learn the history of the family who built it between 1775 and 1780. The tour will be given in 18th century period clothing. The mansion is located at 1031 Broad St.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, the park will feature an early 19th century formal sweetheart tea on Sunday, Feb. 17 from 2-4 p.m. The cost is $15 per person, or $25 for a couple or friends.

February is a month for sweethearts, so the Sabine Hill Social Society has planned a fun afternoon of refreshments and entertainment. The historically inspired event will have an early 19th century flavor in keeping with the history of Sabine Hill. Attendees will dine on finger foods, appetizers and pastries accompanied by coffee and a selection of hot tea. Make reservations by calling 423-543-5808.

There will be a guided tour of Sabine Hill on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m. The cost is $7 for adults, $3 for students ages 7-17, and children 6 and under will be admitted free. Pre-registration is required at www.tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals. Choose “Upcoming Events” in the left hand menu.

Ranger Corbin Hayslett will lead the tours of Tennessee’s most remarkable example of Federalist architecture. The home of the Taylor Family, Sabine Hill, is a unique and beautiful home that documents the period of East Tennessee in transition from frontier to sophistication. The historic home is located at 2328 W. G St.

It may still be February, but the most important event during the summer at Sycamore Shoals will get a start at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, with auditions for the annual outdoor drama: “Liberty!: The Saga of Sycamore Shoals.” There will be another audition on Saturday, March 2, at 5 p.m.

Interested in performing in Tennessee’s official outdoor drama? Audition for this fun and unique interpretation of the American Revolution as told by the Overmountain Men: colonists who defied British law and settled on Cherokee lands. This performance takes place at Sycamore Shoals, the last three weekends of July. Auditioning individuals are subject to background checks.

As is usually the case, the last event of the month is “Old Time Music Jam,” Led by Art Lang. The jam will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, from 1:30-4 p.m.

Enjoy the rich musical traditions of our region each month. Old-time musicians of all levels are welcome. Don’t play and instrument? Come on over, kick back, and enjoy the tunes.

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