Independence on the Frontier at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park on Saturday

Published 3:10 pm Monday, July 17, 2023

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Step back in time 247 years to a colorful revolutionary world and witness life on the colonial frontier during a very tumultuous time. In the summer of 1776 colonial leaders met in Philadelphia to draft a document that would forever change the world. By today’s standards information traveled slowly in the 18th century. As our guests to Fort Watauga, you too can be part of the excitement as news of American independence finally 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 celebration takes place on Saturday, July 22, as members of the Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia, host living history organization at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, will be garrisoned at Fort Watauga. The militia muster will include a myriad of activities allowing guests the opportunity to step back in time and experience daily life on the colonial frontier in 1776. The highlight of the day will be a special reading of the Declaration of Independence given inside Fort Watauga at 1 p.m. Ongoing activities will include colonial games, Revolutionary War soldiers display, life at Fort Watauga, and much more. Also, don’t forget to visit our award-winning museum and shop in our book and gift store while you’re enjoying the day.

Extend your Independence celebrations and bring the entire family out for a day full of history, patriotism, education, and family fun. Admission is free, and the event will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is located at 1651 W. Elk Ave., Elizabethton, TN 37643. For more information about Sycamore Shoals please contact the park at 423-543-5808 or log on to these websites: or

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Schedule of Events

10:00 – Event Opens
10:30 – Posting the Colors: Start the day off with a bang as the militia falls in for inspection and raises the flag.
11:00 – Colonial Militia Demonstration: Members of the Washington County Regiment will give a demonstration of flintlock weaponry and 18th century battlefield tactics.
11:30 – 18th Century Firearms: Join Seasonal Interpreter Slade Nakoff for a closer look at the types of firearms used during America’s War for Independence.
12:00 – Independence Day Through Time: From Declaration readings and cannon fire to parades and concerts, join Seasonal Interpreter Andrea Price as she shares how the celebration of Independence Day has changed over the last 247 years.
12:30 – Kids Militia Drill: Attention all kids of the settlement! Fall in with Ranger Taylor for drill and training for the defense of the settlement.
1:00 – Reading of the Declaration of Independence: Join the Watauga settlers as the document declaring our separation from Great Britain finally arrives on the frontier and is read publicly inside Fort Watauga.
2:00 – Bayonet Competition: Witness some friendly rivalry between the gentlemen of the militia as they hone their skill with this 18th century weapon.
2:30 – Ladies’ Skillet Toss: The ladies of the settlement gather to test their skills of strength and accuracy. A spectacle not to be missed!
3:00 – Flags in Colonial America: Meet Museum Curator Chad Bogart in the visitors center to learn about various flags used in America throughout the 18th century and take a closer look at the history of our nation’s most recognized symbol.
4:00 – Event Closed

Schedule is subject to change or cancellation due to inclement weather.