Sycamore Shoals brings history to life this weekend

Published 5:44 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

For many years Chad Bogart has enjoyed learning about and bringing history to life, and his favorite part about re-enactments is passing along that joy to a new generation.

“I always enjoy talking to the young people and the kids,” said Bogart, who serves as the Historic Interpreter at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.

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Growing up, Bogart enjoyed visiting historical sites and events, and he hopes to pass along the excitement he felt then to the children he meets at the park now.

“I try to remember how I felt going to these historic places as a kid and recreate that for the kids here,” Bogart said. “I always enjoy talking to the young people and the kids. That’s my favorite part.”

Events like the Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration coming up this weekend at the Park provide Bogart with the perfect opportunity to interact with kids and help them to learn about, and appreciate, the history around them.

In this day and age, Bogart said, children have everything at their fingertips, and while information is readily available, simply reading about an event does not have the same impact as a re-enactment.

“You cannot experience it on a device,” Bogart said. “You have to unplug and go to the location to feel it.”

The event features a variety of historic re-enactors bringing to life not only the famous muster of the Overmountain Men but also portraying what life on the frontier was like during that time frame.

Hosting events like this weekend’s celebration reinforces the park’s mission of giving people a better understanding of their history. Particularly in these modern times where there is much division across the nation, Bogart said he feels it is important to focus on events such as the muster of the Overmountain Men.

“It shows how these people came together in solidarity to face a threat,” Bogart said. “I really just instills a great patriotic feeling.”

The Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration at Sycamore Shoals State Park will take place on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. On Monday, Sept. 25, re-enactors will recreate the historic river crossing of 1780. For the past 42 years, members of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association have recreated this historic event following the same route and timetable as their legendary forebears from Abingdon, Virginia, to Kings Mountain, South Carolina. The crossing is always held on Sept. 25 in honor of the original crossing date.

The weekend events will feature a variety of programs and demonstrations. Bogart said he is looking forward to two special presentations by fellow historic interpreter Lisa Bennett.

“One of my favorite things we do is ‘Life on the Homefront,’ with Lisa Bennett,” Bogart said. “She gives the ladies perspective of what life was like after the men marched off to war.”

Bennett will also be presenting a new program this year entitled “Keep Yer’ Powder Dry,” a special program about famous Carter County resident Mary Patton, who had black powder manufacturing operation in the Powder Branch area, so named because of Patton’s mill.

In the program, Bennett portrays Patton to talk about her contributions to the fight for independence and also discussing how Patton manufactured her black powder. Bennett has given this presentation at the Cumberland Gap National Park and David Crockett Birth Place, but this marks the first time she will give the program at Sycamore Shoals.

For more information on the Overmountain Victory Trail Celebration contact Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park at 423-543-5808 or visit to see a full schedule of events.