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Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park celebrates Independence Day this weekend

John Thompson • Jun 25, 2019 at 7:56 PM

ELIZABETHTON — One of the earliest places to celebrate this year’s Fourth of July will be Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, 1651 W. Elk Ave., which will offer a special concert Friday, June 28, starting at 6:30 p.m. at The Gathering Place at the park’s Visitors Center.

The concert is “Echoes of Independence: An Evening with the Sons of Liberty.” Admission is $7. Pre-registration is required at www.tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals. Cash payments may be made at the park office during regular business hours prior to June 28.

The concert is a musical journey back in time to the 18th century with brothers Joshua, Daniel and Noah Smith, known as The Sons of Liberty. They will entertain their audience with historic songs and stories, from lively jigs and reels to flowing classical sounds, The Sons of Liberty bring to life the music of the 18th century through the mastery of the violin, viola and cello.

The concert will provide listeners with the sounds and songs that entertained and inspired the country’s founding generation, and will provide an early start for the Fourth of July celebration that will take place all weekend at Sycamore Shoals.

One of the last places in what had become the United States of America to hear about the Declaration of Independence was probably this section of the frontier. It was one of the most distant places from Philadelphia and one of the most difficult for even a courier to reach. But that won’t be the case this Independence Day. As a guest at Fort Watauga, you can be part of the excitement as news of American independence reaches the colonial frontier. What did the colonists think about a new nation? Walk among historical characters and hear their varied reactions to the declaration, from fear of war to the hope of a brighter future.

The schedule of events for Friday evening:

6:30 p.m.: Doors open.

7 p.m.: The Sons of Liberty.

8 p.m.: Reception.

8:30 p.m.: Close.

The celebration continues throughout the weekend as the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia, host living history organization at Sycamore Shoals, will be encamped in and around Fort Watauga. The militia muster will include a myriad of activities throughout the weekend allowing guests the opportunity to step back in time and experience daily life on the colonial frontier in 1776. The highlight of the weekend will be a special reading of the Declaration of Independence given each day inside Fort Watauga. The events on Saturday and Sunday are free and open to the public. 

Saturday, June 29:

10 a.m.: Posting the Colours — start the day off with a bang as the militia falls in for inspection and posts the flag with a patriotic ceremony.

11 a.m.: Patience Cooper, enterprising woman of the frontier — Join Ramona at the Cock & Bull Publick House in Fort Watauga to hear the intrepid story of Patience Cooper.

Noon: Artillery drill and demonstration: Learn about 18th century artillery as the militia fires the fort’s 3-pounder.

1 p.m.: Food through time — Join Laura in the fort as she stirs up some culinary history. Enjoy a taste of the past as she tells how today’s food is influenced by 18th century culture.

2 p.m.: Reading of the Declaration of Independence — Join in the excitement as the document declaring our freedom from Great Britain is read publicly inside Fort Watauga.

2:30 p.m.: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness — 243 Years Later” — Join Mr. Simerly for a look at the legacy of those stirring words from the Declaration of Independence.

3 p.m.: Fifes & Drums — The Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps will perform martial and field music of the Revolutionary War era.

3:30 p.m.: Militia drill — The Washington County Militia demonstrates the tactics and firearms used during the Revolutionary War.

4 p.m.: Camps close to the public.

Sunday, June 30:

10 a.m.: Posting the Colours — Start the day off with a bang as the militia falls in for inspection and posts the flag with a patriotic ceremony.

10:30 a.m.: Worship Service — Sunday service held inside Fort Watauga.

12:30 p.m.: Patience Cooper, enterprising woman of the frontier — Join Ramona at the Cock & Bull Publick House in Fort Watauga to hear the intrepid story of Patience Cooper.

1 p.m.: Artillery drill and demonstration: Learn about 18th century artillery as the militia fires the fort’s 3-pounder.

1:30 p.m.: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness — 243 Years Later” — Join Mr. Simerly for a look at the legacy of those stirring words from the Declaration of Independence.

2 p.m.: Reading of the Declaration of Independence: Join in the excitement as the document declaring our freedom from Great Britain is read publicly inside Fort Watauga.

2:30 p.m.: Fifes & Drums — The Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps will perform martial and field music of the Revolutionary War era.

3 p.m.: Militia drill and retiring the colours — The Washington County Militia demonstrates the tactics and firearms used during the Revolutionary War, then retires the flag.

Ongoing activities throughout the weekend will include open hearth cooking, 18th century weaponry, medicinal herbs and plants, militia camps, colonial era music, and frontier fort life.

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