“Liberty! the Saga of Sycamore Shoals” opens its 43rd season of the Official Outdoor Drama of the State of Tennessee, June 3. Each year, the Fort Watauga amphitheater comes to life with the sights and sounds of the late 18th century on the colonial frontier.
Nationally significant events that helped to shape the future of our nation before, during, and after the American Revolution are presented in an engaging, exciting and entertaining fashion.
The Watauga Association, formed in 1772, was widely recognized as the first continental government that was “free and independent” of the British Crown, designed to provide for law and order and the right of every free man to vote. In 1774, Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore called it a “dangerous example” to form a government “distinct from and independent of his majesty’s authority.” Later, the area was annexed by North Carolina and became known as the Washington District, named in honor of General George Washington, who was leading the fight for American Independence at the time.
In 1775, The Treaty of Sycamore Shoals took place at the Watauga “Old Fields” where Judge Richard Henderson and other land speculators purchased 20 million acres of land from the Cherokee. This negotiation sparked a series of Cherokee attacks on the pioneers of the Watauga and surrounding settlements a year later.
“Liberty!” is set in front of the full-scale replica of Fort Watauga, which was used to defend the settlement against attacks from a faction of the Cherokee, led by Chief Dragging Canoe, who opposed the sale. Ultimately, the settlement was successful in staving off the attack and siege of the fort.
Sycamore Shoals also served as the gathering place for the Overmountain Men, who were an essential part of a broader militia that defeated Major Patrick Ferguson and his British force at the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780. That event is often noted as a major turning point for the American Revolution.
“Liberty!” tells the stories of these important days of American history as well as demonstrating the life of pioneers in a frontier settlement.
“Liberty” runs weekends in June beginning Fridays and Saturdays – June 3 and 4 and June 10 and 11; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, June 16, 17 and 18 and 23, 24 and 25 in the Fort Watauga Amphitheater at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton, Tennessee.
General admission tickets range from free for children 5 and under; to $8 for students 6 to 17 years; $14 for seniors 55 and up; and $19 for adults. Members of Friends of Sycamore Shoals, veterans, and first responders may attend the drama any night for a reduced adult/senior admission price of $10. Tickets may be purchased online at www.thelibertydrama.com or at the door.