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Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park to Hold Tennessee’s History Festival Oct. 19-20

Friday, October 12, 2012 | 04:20am

NASHVILLE – The year 2012 marks Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary, and to help commemorate this important milestone, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park will host its annual Tennessee’s History Festival Oct. 19-20. With a focus on Tennessee’s 216 years of statehood, the event blends education and entertainment, allowing school groups and families to experience day-to-day soldier life in history.  In year’s past, the festival has drawn more than 6,000 visitors to the park.

“We are very excited to celebrate Tennessee State Parks’ 75th Anniversary this year,” said Park Manager Mike Cole.  "Tennessee’s History Festival offers something for the entire family and all age groups.”

Free and open to the public, the two-day festival will feature multiple displays and demonstrations by re-enactors and living history interpreters.  On display will be everything from the time of Hernando Desoto, Native Americans and early settlement to the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

Also making an appearance will be Tennessee State Parks’ new traveling anniversary exhibit, which hit the road this year to tour state parks and various communities – sharing Tennessee State Parks’ rich and storied history. Enclosed in a colorful trailer emblazoned with various images and logos, the exhibit interprets the origins and heritage of Tennessee’s state park system.

Activities will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Tennessee’s History Festival is made possible by the generous support of Tennessee State Parks and Bridgestone Americas. 

The Tennessee State Parks system was established through legislation in 1937, and those laws – with modifications and additions over the years – remain the framework for park operations today.  As in most states, Tennessee began in cooperation with federal programs that instigated individual parks. Later, Depression era recovery programs gave a boost to the idea and the possibility of creating parks. The Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration worked on land conservation, but also delved further into the actual planning and construction of what would become the first of 54 Tennessee State Parks.

Today, there is a state park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in Tennessee.  A 2009 University of Tennessee study highlights the positive economic impacts that state parks provide local communities, particularly in rural areas of the state.  The study found that for every dollar spent on trips to Tennessee State Parks, an additional $1.11 of economic activity was generated throughout the state.  When the direct and indirect expenditures were combined, the impact of Tennessee State

Parks to the state’s economy was $1.5 billion in total industry output, supporting more than 18,600 jobs.

“Our vision statement highlights the inherent value of our natural environment, along with the value of the many physical reminders of Tennessee’s past,” added Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill.

“Tennessee’s state parks have played such an important role in our history, and they play a critical role in our health and quality of life, which will benefit Tennesseans well into the future.”

Tennessee’s state parks deliver a rich fabric of natural landscapes, wild places, preserved ecologies, outdoor recreational opportunities and protected historic scenes and resources – together representing the heritage of Tennessee in the landscape.

Tennessee's 54 state parks and 82 state natural areas offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families or business and professional groups.  State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses.  For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free at 1-888-867-2757. For upcoming events in connection with the 75th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks, please visit the state parks website at

In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Tennessee State Parks, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation launched an innovative new microsite at Established in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the microsite displays Tennessee State Parks’ rich heritage and showcases the many outdoor adventures awaiting state park visitors through rich media and dynamic content.

The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is located at the foot of the State Capitol in downtown Nashville. The 19-acre park was designed to complement the Capitol and give visitors a taste of Tennessee's history and natural wonders, while serving as a lasting monument to Tennessee's Bicentennial celebration.  In 2011, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park was recognized as one of the American Planning Association’s Top 10 Great Public Spaces. Additional details about the park can be found at  For more information about Tennessee’s History Festival, please call the park office at (615) 741-5280.


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