The Saturday downtown Knoxville crowd will seem a bit different Aug. 18. It's not every day Abe and Mary Lincoln come to town.
The Lincolns — or people dressed as the famous power couple — won't be the only historical figures during the 10 a.m.-5 p.m. East Tennessee History Fair. Other re-enactors — from Cherokee Indians and colonial pioneers to World War II soldiers — create a living, walking timeline in downtown's Krutch Park.
The timeline is among the events during the fifth annual history fair presented by the East Tennessee Historical Society. The fair started in 2008 to celebrate the opening of the permanent "Voices of the Land" exhibit in the Museum of East Tennessee History, 601 S. Gay St. Some 7,000 people came to last year's free event that aims to highlight, celebrate and educate the region's history.
Krutch Park also is the stage for music, craft demonstrations that include blacksmithing, basket making and spinning and a "History Hound" Dog costume contest. Dogs dressed as historical characters can compete for prizes that include "best costume" and "Most East Tennessee Spirit." Costume registration starts at 9:30 a.m.; the contest is at 10:15.
Frontiersman Davy Crockett celebrates his 226th birthday with 2 p.m. storytelling and 3 p.m. birthday cake at the Clinch Avenue entrance to Krutch Park.
Regional historical, genealogical and preservation organizations will set up in Krutch Park to talk about area history and provide resources about local and family history. Many events are in the park, at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay St.; or various other downtown locations.
A fiddle that once belonged to Union County native and "King of Country Music" Roy Acuff makes its public debut. The fiddle Acuff played as a young man was recently acquired by the history museum. It is now part of the museum's "Voices of the Land" exhibit. Acuff, who grew up in Fountain City, died in 1992. There's also free admission to the museum during the history fair.
The presenting sponsor for this year's history fair is local railroad operations company Gulf and Ohio Railways. The company is headquartered in the 200-year-old James Park House, and so it's celebrating its birthday during history fair. The Park House hosts an open house with guided tours 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Area potter Peter Rose demonstrates wheel-thrown pottery and wood-firing. Those interested can decorate a piece of pottery Rose will raku fire for them to take home. The cost to decorate a pot is $10. Vintage films related to East Tennessee are shown noon-4 p.m. at the Bijou Theatre, 803 S. Gay St., by the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound.
Separate bus tours take history enthusiasts on visits to area historic homes and Civil War sites. Walking tours will highlight historic and Civil War locations.
Buses leave from the corner of Gay Street and Clinch Avenue 11 a.m.-3 p.m. to take participants to open houses at five of Knoxville's most historic properties. The tour buses travel to James Park House, Blount Mansion, James White's Fort, Mabry Hazen House and the Bethel Cemetery and Museum.
Other bus tours by the Knoxville Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and the Civil War Roundtable highlight some of the area's Civil War past. Those tours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and the buses leave from the Civil War Gateway Center at the Blount Mansion Visitors Center, 200 W. Hill Ave. Civil War-themed walking tours also leave at various times during the day from the Civil War Gateway.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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