Ted Key reenacts a Native American scene in this April 23, 1993, file photo. Organizers of the annual Clayton County Native American Heritage Festival will honor Key, who died last September, with the dedication of the Ted Key Pavilion April 20.
JONESBORO The Clayton County Native American Heritage Day celebration will take place next weekend, but for the first time it won’t have its founder to help participate in the festivities.
Ted Key founded the celebration in the early 1980’s as part of a project for a class he was teaching in Clayton County schools. That project also included the construction of the Creek Indian village at Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro. Key, who dressed up in Native American garb each year for the festival, died last September.
Organizers plan to honor Key’s memory at this year’s celebration by dedicating a pavilion at the village in his memory.
“All of those people he worked with over the years on the Native American celebration wanted to do something to honor him so they decided to do it during this year’s festival,” said Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County Inc. President Barbara Emert.
100 Carriage Lane, Jonesboro, GA
Despite the loss of Key, organizer Debbie Lundrell said the festival will go on as usual this year. It will be held April 20 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Stately Oaks, 100 Carriage Lane, Jonesboro.
The event will include Native American dancers, blow guns, finger weaving, children’s games, traditional Native American foods cooked on rocks and demonstrations on bead making, basket weaving, arrow making and musket firing, she said. It will wrap up with the dedication of the Ted Key Pavilion at 2:30 p.m.
Key started the festival as a way to teach his students about the Creek and Muscogee Indians who lived in Clayton County in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries.
Just before last year’s celebration, he lamented about the students lack of knowledge about the local tribes.
“My students knew a lot about the Cherokees, the Seminoles, the Sioux and the Apache, but none of them knew anything about the Creek and Muscogee tribes that actually lived in Clayton County,” Key told Clayton News Daily in its April 18, 2011 edition.
Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children and $1.50 for boy scouts, girl scouts and cub scouts who attend the event in uniform.