Cowee Heritage Center planning Scottish/Cherokee event June 19

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Breacan Clan

 Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer

In an effort to honor the historical significance and cultural contributions of both Scottish settlers and Cherokee Natives, the first annual Cherokee/Scottish Heritage Celebration will take place Saturday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Main Street in Franklin. 

The event takes place in conjunction with the annual Braveheart 5K & Rob Roy Fun Run.

Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center director Stacy Guffey, who is on the event’s committee, explained.

 “This celebration is set apart from the annual Taste of Scotland, which will not take place this year. We really want to continue focusing on Scottish heritage because it’s good for the residents, the museum [Scottish Tartans Museum and Heritage Center, Inc.], the town, and more. But when you talk about the Scottish, who were the first traders in the region to trade with the Cherokee, it’s hard to tell that story and leave out the interaction and history of the Cherokee. They’re not separate stories. It’s 300 years of interaction, intermingling, intermarriage … a connection of cultures.”

Added Claire Suminski, who is also on the event’s committee, “There was a thriving trade between the Scots Irish and Cherokee that lived in our area, which also led to relationships between the two groups. It is wonderful to have an event that celebrates these connections. The Women’s History Trail of the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County will one day unveil a statue, by sculptor Wesley Wofford, called, “Sowing the Seeds of the Future,” which also conveys this. [When finished, the sculpture will eventually be on display somewhere near the entrance to Franklin’s Main Street.] In light of current tensions in our country, it is great to be taking positive steps in our community to help build connections and support one another.”

Guffey, who noted that Bringing It To Life Productions’ David Linn is the committee’s chair, explained, “The festival will be relatively small as a trial run, especially since we’re coming out of a pandemic.”

However, visitors to the celebration will have an opportunity to listen to a Cherokee storyteller, experience historical demonstrations, and listen to bagpipe and Celtic music. Plus, said Guffey, “We will have a variety of vendors sharing art and merchandise.”

Individuals, organizations, and businesses funding and supporting Cherokee/Scottish Heritage Celebration are numerous: Franklin Chamber of Commerce/TDC, Gooder Grafix, UPS Store Franklin, Walmart Supercenter Franklin, Kitchen Sink, Inc., Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center, Suminski Family Books, Bringing It To Life! Productions, The Moberg Group, Doodlebugs, Élite Services, Carla L Haire CPA, PA, Deer Springs RV Park, John Hamlin State Farm, Rathskeller Coffee Haus & Pub, BLOOM Personalized, Parties & Event Planning, Folk Heritage Association of Macon County, Franklin Main Street Merchants, Outdoor 76, and The Attic. 

“The merchants will have displays on Main Street, demonstrators will be in front of  businesses, and we will have a shortbread contest, a traditional Scottish encampment with re-enactors, and demonstrators of traditional Scottish arts and crafts and Cherokee arts and crafts,” said Guffey.

Anyone interested in entering the shortbread contest can take their shortbread to the Kitchen Sink on Main Street between 10 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 19. Entrants must register by June 18 by calling (828) 524-2956.

Kathryn Seller, a noted historic costume seamstress in Franklin, is also part of the steering committee. She will be present – along with representatives of the Southeastern Civilian Living Historians and of the ECBI – to demonstrate authentically such 18th through early 20th century agrarian and traditional skills as blacksmithing, wool walking, spinning, weaving, butter churning, sewing, and more.

The schedule of events is as follows: 

Gazebo on the Square Heritage Demonstrators throughout the day:  

Cherokee Artisans: Freeman Owle and Mary Thompson (STM)

Kathryn Sellers and the Scottish Traditions 18th Century Demonstrators

Blacksmith, David Burress: Sponsored by Folk Heritage Association of Macon County

– 10 a.m. Cherokee/Scottish Heritage Celebration Opening Ceremony 

– 10:30 a.m. Music – John Mohr MacKintosh Pipes & Drums (Clock Tower/Garden) 

–- 11 a.m. Music – Rainbow’s End (Celtic Music by Dave, Maria and Katharine)

– 1:15 p.m. Music – Thunder Muggs  (Scottish and Re-enactor Camp Tunes)

Town Hall Entrance:  Re-enactment Camps

– 11:30 a.m. Music – Thunder Muggs  (Scottish and Re-enactor Camp Tunes)

– 12 p.m. Music – John Mohr MacKintosh Pipes & Drums 

– All Day Roving Fidler, Richard Tichich

– All Day      Reenactment Camp: The Breacan Clann, and 71st Highlanders

Rathskeller Coffee Haus & Pub

– 12:30 p.m. Music – Rainbow’s End (Celtic Music by Dave, Maria and Katharine)

– 1:30 p.m. Music – John Mohr MacKintosh Pipes & Drums

Outdoor 76: Rock House Lodge

– 11 a.m. Lecture – Charlie Rhodarmer:  18th Century Highland Dress

– 11:45 a.m. Lecture – Freeman Owle:  Cherokee Storyteller

– 12:30 p.m. Lecture – Mary Polanski and Marty Greeble:  The Women’s History Trail; Stories of Rebecca Na-Ha, Salley, and Timoxena, written by Barbara McRae 

Kitchen Sink, Inc. on Main

– 12:00 pm Shortbread Contest with Prizes and Free Samples  

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