OLIVE HILL —
By CARRIE STAMBAUGH
OLIVE HILL The frontier has returned to Carter Caves State Resort Park for the annual Pioneer Week, scheduled through Sunday.
Now in its 21st year, the event features a vibrant pioneer encampment near the campground, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Historical re-enactors immerse themselves in pioneer life for the week, demonstrating skills used in everyday life on the frontier to visitors and giving them the chance to try them out. The encampment includes white settlers as well as Native Americans.
Mike Little, a historian and longtime pioneer re-enactor who’s been the camp’s “Bushway” for 21 years, said the event is immensely rewarding and educational for the 50-plus volunteers who participate each year.
“It’s a passion for us. We get to teach people about our history and we get to dress up in our old-fashioned clothes and live out in the woods,” Little said. “It’s almost better than a movie. You can smell it and taste it. Being able to touch and feel it and just learn, you learn a little bit of something every year that makes you better.”
Re-enactors, he said, “do it with a real sense of pride and workmanship and discovery.”
Special presentations are featured each day for the remainder of the week, including primitive fire making and black powder rifle demonstrations and tomahawk throwing today and Friday. There are dozens of other demonstrations and many hands-on lessons ranging from doing laundry the pioneer way to flint knapping.
“It is just crammed the rest of the week,” said Coy Ainsley, the park’s naturalist. “There is lots of different stuff.”
On Friday, the park’s restaurant will host a Buffalo Buffet, where buffalo will be served various ways, “from ribs to roast, to chili and meatloaf,” said Ainsley. Fish and other meats will also be available from 5 to 9 p.m.
From 6 to 8 p.m., Little will give a presentation titled “The Rise and Demise of the Buffalo in Kentucky and Virginia.” At 8 p.m., a Shelter House Dance for all ages called by Steve Kitchen will include styles ranging from the chicken dance to the electric slide.
Saturday will be County Fair Day, with demonstrations and activities from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. A pie auction and ice cream social are favorites.
On Sunday, an “18th-century naturalist” will visit the encampment from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to explain the wonders of the region. In the 1700s, scientists called naturalists from England, Europe and the American colonies began to study the great diversity of animals, plants and geography in the Appalachian region.
The park will also host canoe trips and flashlight cave tours the rest of the week and through the weekend.
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2653.
OLIVE HILL —
By CARRIE STAMBAUGH
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