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25th re-enactment of the Siege of Fort Watauga highlights May events at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

John Thompson • Updated Apr 23, 2019 at 4:35 PM

ELIZABETHTON — With the coming of May, activities are picking up at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, including the 25th Annual Siege at Fort Watauga as the month’s highlight.

The siege will take place on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

The wiege is a re-enactment of events that took place in July 1776, when Cherokee forces supplied by the British attacked frontier settlements on the Nolichucky, Watauga and Holston rivers. When a Cherokee force led by Chief Abram attacked the Watauga Valley, approximately 200 settlers took shelter in Fort Watauga during a two-week siege.

Historical re-enactors will depict militiamen, settlers, Cherokee and British troops and frontier agents to tell the complicated story of how the Revolutionary War spread over the mountains into the frontier region of what would become the state of Tennessee 20 years later.

In addition to re-enacting some of the famous scenes from the siege, there will also be depictions of the British and Cherokee encampments, There will also be a safe place where colonial merchants may sell their merchandise.

This event is sponsored by the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia and the Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area.

Among the other events coming up during May is the biweekly gathering of the Watauga Valley Fife and Drums Corps, which meets on the first and third Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon for practice. The corps performs at historical events, dedications, and parades. Musical experience is welcome but not necessary, just come with a willingness to learn.

The Watauga Valley Art League meeting and program will be held on Sunday, May 5, at 1:30 p.m. This monthly meeting is open to all. Each month a unique program is planned that ranges from talks, to demonstrations, to hands-on projects.

The second Saturday of the month is set for bird lovers. The Lee and Lois Herndon Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society will lead a Bird Walk, beginning at 8 a.m., giving an opportunity to meet other birders and naturalists at Sycamore Shoals for a morning of birding during the migratory season. 

The monthly gathering of the Old Time Music Jam, led by Art Lang, will take place on Sunday, May 26, 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 an instrument? Come on over, kick back, and enjoy the tunes.

Also on Sunday, May 26, from 1-4 p.m. there will be an Afternoon of Early 19th Century Dance with the Sabine Hill Social Society. Beginners and seasoned dancers alike are welcome. The afternoon will include English country dance and early American dance techniques.

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