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Folk Life on display at Sautee festival
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The African American Heritage Site will hold the fourth annual Folk Life Festival from 10 .a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on the campus of the Sautee Nacoochee Center.

The festival will celebrate the common skills, tools and traditions of Native, European and African-American settlers.

Traditional crafts such as gourd banjos, corn shuck chair bottoms and split white oak baskets will be on display.

Historical interpretations of life in the mid-1800s rural Georgia, re-enactors, traditional music, “interpretive laundry” and folk life demonstrations will immerse visitors in the heritage of Appalachian Mountain culture and customs.

Other demonstrations of folk life skills will include shingle splitting, blacksmithing, wood carving, poplar berry baskets, corn shuck dolls, gold mining and spinning.

Festivalgoers can even take a turn at shelling corn or go on a horse and buggy ride.

Visitors to the festival will have guided tours of the Nacoochee slave cabin. Atlanta History Center’s Candis White and Andrea Chanay, docents of the Tullie Smith Farmhouse, will offer interpretative history and descriptions of what 19th century life was like for enslaved black people and early white settlers.

Together, descendants of slaves and slave owners restored a slave dwelling and established an African American Heritage Site at the Sautee Nacoochee Center to raise awareness about the story of enslaved people in Nacoochee Valley.

“If we don’t keep this history alive and save what’s left, our children and grandchildren will never know the history and hardships of our ancestors,” said Lena Dorsey.

Framed by 19th-century landscaping, this antebellum cabin now provides a focal point for the story of a people whose labor contributed in countless ways to life in Northeast Georgia.

Food and refreshments will be available for lunch on the grounds and a Craft Raffle will be held later in the day.

Admission is free. The center is located on Ga. 255, four miles southeast of Helen. Donations and raffle proceeds support the African American Heritage Site and future programs.