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Stately Oaks, Historical Jonesboro gearing up for annual Native American Heritage Day

Family fun event set for Saturday

Frank Hall, a Lakota Sioux Indian, speaks at last year’s Native American Heritage Day festival at Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro. This year’s festival will be held Saturday. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

Frank Hall, a Lakota Sioux Indian, speaks at last year’s Native American Heritage Day festival at Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro. This year’s festival will be held Saturday. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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Locust Grove resident Dennis Byrd explains the history of muskets during last year’s Native American Heritage Day festival. This year’s festival will be held Saturday at Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro. (File Photo)

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Locust Grove resident Dennis Byrd gives a presentation on musket firing during last year’s Native American Heritage Day festival. This year’s festival will be held Saturday at Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro. (File Photo)

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Jonesboro resident Virginia Baker and her son, Kevin Baker, were some of the participants in last year’s Native American Heritage Day festival. This year’s festival will be held Saturday at Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

JONESBORO — Old Man Winter was not kind to the replica Native American Village at Stately Oaks Plantation this year.

Some of the structures in the village took a real beating between the snow, ice, rain and wind that has blown through the area over the last four months, according to organizers of the annual Native American Heritage Day festival held at Stately Oaks. In the case of one hut, said Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County Inc. volunteer Debbie Lundell, the roof went with the wind.

“The whole roof is completely gone on the council hut,” Lundell said. “It wasn’t in the best shape before this past winter, but between the snow and the wind, and everything else we had this winter, it just collapsed. The [more recent] problem has been that on Saturdays, when people could come out and do some repair work, there’s been rain.”

Volunteers have been trying to get everything patched up before this weekend, though. That’s because the 31st annual Native American Heritage Day festival will take place Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on the grounds of Stately Oaks Plantation, 100 Carriage Lane in Jonesboro.

The festival is intended to be a family-friendly event for weekend fun. Throughout the event, attendees will be able to see demonstrations of Native American basket-weaving, dancing, musket-firing, pottery-making, blowgun-shooting, moccasin-making, flat rock cooking, corn-grinding and beading. A storyteller will also be on hand to tell traditional Native American stories and there will be traditional Indian games for children.

Several of the exhibitors expected to give demonstrations at the festival hail from Clayton and Henry counties, including Jonesboro resident Andrea Johnson, Riverdale resident Molly Dowd, Hampton residents Patsy Crawley, Joshua Carraro and Anthony Clure, McDonough residents Andrew and Trent Cockran, Locust Grove resident Dennis Byrd and Stockbridge resident Shelia Bradley.

Clayton County’s earliest residents were Creek Indians whose tribes inhabited central Georgia before the mid-19th Century. The village at Stately Oaks was created in the early 1980s by Native American Heritage Day founder Ted Key as a way to teach school children about the Creek Indians and their traditions.

Admission for this weekend’s festival will be $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $ 3 for children under 12. There is a $1 discount for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and brownies who wear their uniforms to the festival.