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Red Clay State Park Announces Cherokee Days of Recognition August 4-5

Monday, July 30, 2012 | 11:24am

30th Annual Event to Feature Cherokee Traditions

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Red Clay State Park will host its 30th Annual Cherokee Days of Recognition festival August 4-5, featuring traditional Cherokee dance, food and arts.  Activities will begin at 10 a.m. on both days and run through 5 p.m.  

The festival is open to the public.  There is a suggested $5 parking donation per vehicle / motorcycle, with proceeds benefiting the Friends of Red Clay State Park in support of various programming and activities throughout the year.  

“Cherokee Days of Recognition has become one of the region’s most long-standing cultural events, designed to be both educational and fun.  It is the perfect opportunity to learn more about Cherokee history,” said Park Manager Carol Crabtree.  “Once again, we have a great roster of talented artisans, musicians and performers this year and hope that everyone can come out to help us honor this important part of Tennessee’s history.”  

Featured attractions will include Cherokee traditional and fancy dancers, storytelling, living history, games, demonstrations and more.  The annual Red Clay Open Blowgun Tournament is scheduled for Sunday, with men’s, women’s and youth divisions.  Participants must bring their own river cane blowgun and darts.  Designed for audiences of all ages, the storytelling programs will be held both Saturday and Sunday in the park’s small amphitheater.  

In addition to a talented list of gifted artists, a variety of special visitors will highlight this year’s event.  Back by popular demand will be Nashville-based Michael Jacobs, who will share his talents as an award-winning Cherokee recording artist.  Jacobs’ debut solo album “Sacred Nation” received the 2003 Native American Music Award for Best Independent Recording.  

Visitors also will have the opportunity to meet Cherokee Elder Freeman Owle, who will serve as the event’s keynote storyteller.  Born on the Qualla Indian Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, Owle is an award-winning former teacher, author, lecturer and expert on Cherokee culture. He also crafts authentic stone and wood carvings.

Cherokee arts and crafts will be demonstrated and sold both days.  Cherokee foods also will be available, along with some old favorites.  Park visitors should bring a blanket or chairs, along with sunscreen.  Cash is accepted for purchases, with some booths accepting personal checks.  

Red Clay State Historic Park is located in the extreme southwest corner of Bradley County, just above the Tennessee-Georgia state line, and is the site of 11 of the last 12 Cherokee Council meetings before the infamous Trail of Tears.  The park encompasses 263 acres of narrow valley and forested ridges and features picnic facilities, a loop trail and amphitheater.  The park also contains a natural landmark, the Blue Hole Spring, which arises from beneath a limestone ledge to form a deep pool that flows into Mill Creek.  The Cherokee used the Blue Hole Spring as their water supply during council meetings.

For more information about Red Clay State Park, including directions to the park, please visit the website at: www.tnstateparks.com/RedClay/ or call the park office at (423) 478-0339.

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