Jump into history with Rocky Mount's first annual Timeline Festival

Jessica Fuller • May 30, 2018 at 11:57 PM

Rocky Mount is stretching its timeline.

The site will host a festival this weekend that will tell not only the tale of William Cobb and his historic cabin, but the timeline of the region through the centuries.

Living history actors, storytellers and authors will guide guests through history at the inaugural Timeline Festival to give them a peek at different facets of life over the years, from life on the battlefield to life in the cattle field.

“We decided to broaden the reach and do all sorts of different kinds of things,” Museum Director Sam Wegner said.

Wegner said the festival was made possible by an increase in funding from the state, so he and other officials at the Rocky Mount Museum and Living History Site decided to bring something fresh while collaborating with other organizations in the area, like the Overmountain Victory Men and the Bristol Forge Blacksmiths.

Several authors and performers will also be on hand throughout the weekend, including Ted Olson, Andy Hare, Charles Charlton, Capt. William A. Coleman and Robert Rambo. The Johnson City Bluegrass Band will perform throughout the weekend and there will be intermittent games and crafts for kids and families.

Turner said one of the presentations will be a segment on the Barbary Wars, which took place along the Barbary Coast with Tripoli in the early 1800s. The presentation by Robert Rambo will tie that event back to East Tennessee through one of his ancestors, an Elizabethton native who was involved with the conflict.

“What we really want to do is showcase all of East Tennessee’s history,” education director Kristin Turner said. “That is something people have probably never thought of that relates to this region, and hopefully we can show people that there is more than they think.”

Rocky Mount usually puts on single-day events, so a weekend-long festival is new territory that could expand into one of the site’s largest events. Wegner said he is interested in showing guests that with history, everything is connected, and how something that happens in one place can affect something else across the world.

“It really is something that is evolving, and if it is going to be successful, we hope to expand it even more so a year from now and include re-enactors from several different time periods,” Wegner said.

The Timeline Festival will take place at the Rocky Mount State Historic Site Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Next on Rocky Mount’s agenda will an Old Fashioned 4th of July.

Email Jessica Fuller at jfuller@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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