The Fort Loudoun State Historic Park and the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum are partnering for the Great Island Festival, slated for Sept. 8-9, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.
The Great Island Festival is actually a series of concurrent events, designed to take visitors back in time to an 18th century Trade Faire and a Cherokee encampment.
The 18th century Trade Faire at Fort Loudoun will feature encampments of soldiers, settlers and American Indians. There will be demonstrations throughout the day in artillery and musketry, along with several battle and skirmish re-enactments. The main battle re-enactment will be held at 1:30 p.m. daily. Merchants and artisans will be on hand to peddle food and wares reminiscent of the time. Visitors can learn about 18th century toys, slate tombstone carving, 18th century angling, blacksmithing and salt making.
Music and other entertainment acts will include The Traveling Caudells, a traditional vocal duo; Out of the Ordinary, featuring a hammered dulcimer, English guitar, harp and vocals; and the Beggar Boys, talented singers and fiddlers. Common Stocks Curious Booth of Wonders and the Amazing Juggling Budabi Brothers will also delight and astonish visitors of all ages. Returning this year will be Faire Wynds Circus, featuring musicians, a conjuror, equalibrialist, contortionist and an escape artist – just a few highlights of their whimsical act. Visitors can attend an entertaining and educational presentation as Steven Caudill portrays Daniel Boone of Kentucky.
Meanwhile, at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, visitors will have the opportunity to experience Native American food, arts and crafts demonstrations, music and dance. Highlighting the 250th Anniversary of Lt. Timberlake’s visit to the Cherokee Overhill, special demonstrations and displays will give a glimpse into Cherokee life in 1762, a Civil War encampment and battle re-enactment. Visitors will experience the same sights, sounds, tastes and smells Lt. Henry Timberlake experienced when he discovered the region some 250 years ago. Dozens of craftsmen and demonstrators will be on hand recreating everything Timberlake documented on his first visit.
Special entertainment will be provided by the Warrior Dancers of Ani-Kituhwa; Cherokee flutist and storyteller Eddie Bushyhead; a Cherokee Stickball demonstration game; Cherokee food demonstrations by author Johnnie Sue Myers; blow-gun competition; and a Birds of Prey program. Visitors also will have the opportunity to meet the reigning Miss Cherokee.
Other activities include a poster contest featuring the children from the Cherokee Elementary School in Cherokee, North Carolina. Darts, beads, talking sticks, face painting and free Cherokee name cards will be available for children. Traditional Indian Fry bread and Indian tacos, and other food and drinks will be sold.
The festival is named for the “Great Island,” a Cherokee village site 250 years ago. Today, Fort Loudoun State Historic Area and the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum occupy an island created by the Tellico Lake Project.
Festival parking is at Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, located at 576 Highway 360 in Vonore, Tn. Free shuttle buses will provide transportation for visitors from each site (approximately 1.5 miles). Adult tickets are $5.00 to the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum and $5.00 to the Trade Faire. Kids 12 and under are admitted free of charge.
Fort Loudoun State Historic Area is a 1,200-acre site on the location of one of the earliest British fortifications on the western frontier, built in 1756. Nearby were the principle towns of the Cherokee Nation including Tenase, namesake of our state, and Tuskegee, birthplace of Sequoyah. Today the fort and the 1794 Tellico Blockhouse overlook TVA's Tellico Reservoir and the Appalachian Mountains.
For more information about the Great Island Festival, contact the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum at 423 884-6246 or Fort Loudoun State Historic Park at 423 884-6217. For more information about Tennessee State Parks, please visit www.tnstateparks.com.