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Sautee takes a trip back to mid-19th century

Various cultures, crafts will be on display at Folklife Festival

POSTED: September 1, 2011 12:30 a.m.

You can go back to the South of the 1860s at the Sautee Nacoochee Center this Saturday.

The Folklife Festival and Folk Pottery Sale, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will focus on the European, Native American and African-American cultures that coexisted in that era in the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys.

Suzanne Reese, assistant to director Chris Brooks of the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia, adjacent to the center, said the event will give visitors a chance to see how the three cultures converged.

"That's a turning point in history in many ways," Reese said of the time period. "It's before the Emancipation Proclamation, so there's still slavery in the area."

The center's African American Heritage Site, located on the grounds, will be a focus of the festival.

"We have an interpreter that comes in," she said. "She talks about the life and times of the slaves and the blacks in our community, and we share tools and crafts and trades that we all had in common at that time."

Visitors can see demonstrations of blacksmithing, open-hearth cooking, butter churning and gold panning, and get first-hand experience at each station.

"It's a hands-on, all the way throughout," she said. "The lady churning butter, she'll let you sit there and help churn. She has crackers to taste the different flavors that you can add to the butter."

Folk potters featured in the museum will be in the gym, demonstrating and selling their wares.

"Pottery was used back in 1860, very much so, for all your syrup and your pickled meats," Reese said. "Anything that you would need to put up, you had to put up with pottery."

Mike Craven will demonstrate on a treadle wheel inside the museum, which will feature free admission on the day of the festival.

An exhibit honoring the late Lin Craven, who died April 13 from cancer, will be on display.

"We're going to do a tribute to her, and we're unveiling her exhibit that's going to be in our hallway, and it'll be up for a year long," Reese said.

The exhibit will be on display through September 2012.

Reese said food and drinks will be available for sale on the center's grounds.

A dinner concert commemorating the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War is set for 6 p.m.

The concert will feature Yonah Brass and local singers, and a Civil War-era meal of pork loin, greens and black-eyed peas will be served.

"It's just a wonderful thing to be a part of, because you can kind of have a walk back in history," Reese said.



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