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Tennessee State Parks announce Middle Tennessee Events starting October 8th

History hayrides!  Antique Cars! Native American culture!  Autumn festivals! There are several great events planned at various Tennessee State Parks in your area – so, get outdoors and enjoy this beautiful fall weather!

Finding a state park in your own backyard is easy to do and you don’t have to spend a lot of gas money to get there!

Tennessee State Parks offer a variety of activities and events throughout the fall. From great hikes to bluegrass – there’s something designed for the entire family!

Cedars of Lebanon State Park

Join the Friends of Cedars of Lebanon on Friday, October 8th, for Veteran’s Day Out – an event that hosts and honors hospitalized veterans from Alvin C. York Medical Center for a day in the park. The event will be held in the Cedars Assembly. Lunch will be served by local organizations, churches and businesses that graciously sponsor these events. Music will be provided by local bluegrass musicians who also generously donate their time and talent. For more information call the Friends Group at 615-286-1390.

Cedars of Lebanon State Park and State Forest are located in the southwestern part of Wilson County within the central basin of Tennessee. Both were established during the 1930s as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s program to resettle people and replant the Cedar trees that had been heavily harvested. The area now contains one of the largest juniper forests in the country. For more information about the park, visit www.tnstateparks.com/Cedars [1]

Rock Island State Park

Runners are encouraged to participate in the Rock Island 5 Miler on Saturday, October 9th, at Rock Island State Park. The event is part of the Tennessee State Park Running Tour – a unique fall and winter series of foot races with distances varying from 5 to 13 miles and is the oldest state parks’ running series in the nation. There are a total of 20 races this season, beginning with the Rock Island 5 Miler. On-line registration is available at www.racesonline.com [2]. For more information call Blaine Wilcher with the Middle Tennessee Milers at 931-743-2461.

The scenic beauty of this wooded park is dominated by the Great Falls of the Caney Fork River – an imposing limestone gorge or “gulf” as it is called in the region. It provides scenic overlooks, waterfalls and deep pools for fishing, rock hopping and exploring. Located at the confluence of the Collins and Caney Fork Rivers, this 883-acre park has a natural sand beach on Center Hill Reservoir. Historic features of the park include a 19th-century textile mill and one of Tennessee’s early hydroelectric plants. For additional information about the park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/RockIsland [3].

Tims Ford State Park

Tims Ford State Park will be celebrate the history of the Elk River Valley on Saturday, October 9th, at its Heritage Day Celebration.  Learn more about the families and communities that lived along the Elk River – which is now part of the Tims Ford Reservoir. The park invites the family and friends of the Elk River communities and those who are just interested to come and share stories, photographs, and remember the good old times.  The event will be held from 1:00pm to 5:00pm at the Recreation Building and will include bluegrass, country and gospel music – so, musicians are encouraged to bring their own instruments to join in the music making. For more information, please call 931-962-1183.

Tims Ford State Park, located on the Tims Ford Reservoir in the rolling hills of southern Middle Tennessee, is an outstanding recreational area and fishing paradise. Long before the construction of Tims Ford Dam on the headwaters of the Elk River, the area was used extensively by American Indians as a hunting and fishing territory. Archaeological excavations uncovered numerous artifacts and occupational sites, indicating that man had occupied the area as much as 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.  For more information about the park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/TimsFord [4].

Standing Stone State Park

Car enthusiasts are encouraged to visit Standing Stone on Saturday, October 9th, for the park’s 13th Annual Car Show – featuring antique cars, trucks and hot rods. More than 300 vehicles will be shown and judged at this year’s event. This will be a fun-filled day of great music and food. For more information about the Annual Car Show, please call 931-823-6347.

Standing Stone State Park covers nearly 11,000 acres on the Cumberland Plateau of north-central Tennessee. The quaint and rustic park is noted for its outstanding scenery, spring wildflowers, fossils and other natural diversity. The park is located in Overton County within a triangle formed by highways connecting Livingston, Gainesboro and Celina, Tennessee. The park takes its name from the Standing Stone, an eight-foot tall rock standing upright on a sandstone ledge, which was supposedly used as a boundary line between two separate Indian nations. When the rock fell, the Indians placed a portion of it upon an improvised monument to preserve it. The stone is still preserved in Monterey, Tennessee. Additional information about the park can be found at www.tnstateparks.com/StandingStone [5]

Long Hunter State Park

The Friends of Long Hunter State Park will hold a Woodland Walk on Sunday, October 10th, beginning at 4:00pm. This one-mile hike on the deeply wooded Inland Trail is a great way to discover the flora and fauna of Long Hunter. Naturalist Ponda Armstrong will guide hikers on this trail, which features sinkholes, migrating songbirds, unique plants, and perhaps a greater variety of hickory trees than anywhere else in the park. Participants should meet at the Area 4 parking lot. For additional information, please call 615-885-2422.

Long Hunter State Park will host the 29th Annual Pow Wow and Fall Festival October 15th-17th, featuring Native American artists, musicians, dancers, food and storytellers. Sponsored by the Native American Indian Association of Tennessee, this time-honored gathering draws thousands of people from across the country and offers a unique opportunity to explore a variety of tribal customs and cultural experiences.  

In addition to musicians and dancers, the festival will feature craftspeople selling their wares and handicrafts at various vendor booths, along with a number of games and activities for the whole family. Live performances will be held throughout the three-day event, with Tim Tallchief serving as the master of ceremonies and Marty Pinnecoose as the arena director. 

Activities will begin at 9:00am each day, running into the evening. Admission is $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children ages 6 to 12 and senior citizens, and children aged 5 and under will be admitted free of charge.  NAIA-TN is offering a Free School Day on Friday, October 15th, from 10:00am until 2:00pm for all students, teachers and school faculty members. 

For more information and specific event times and activities at the 2010 Pow Wow and Fall Festival, please call the NAIA’s Nashville office at 615-232-9179 or e-mail them at [6]. Additional information about the event can be found on the NAIA Web site at www.naiatn.org [7].

Looking at Leaves, Scampering Squirrels, Spider in the Web and Having a Hoot with Owls are just a few of the upcoming topics The Nature Circle at Long Hunter State Park will be discussing in the coming weeks. The Nature Circle is an interactive group made up of nature-themed stories, puppets, songs and crafts for ages three to five.  The group meets at the park visitor center every Monday at 10:00am and is co-sponsored by the Friends of Long Hunter State Park. Children are encouraged to bring an item, such as a favorite book, stuffed animal or photograph that relates to each week’s theme. For a complete schedule of events, please visit www.friendsoflonghunter.com/kidsplace.html [8] or call 615-885-2422.

Long Hunter State Park is situated along the shore of J. Percy Priest Lake. It consists of four units: Couchville, Baker’s Grove, Bryant Grove and Sellars Farm. Picnicking, swimming, hiking, backpacking, boating, fishing, nature photography and wildlife observation are among the activities available to park visitors. Planned activities include interpretive and recreation programs for the general public and environmental education programs for school and other interested groups. For more information about Long Hunter State Park, please visit www.tnstateparks.com/LongHunter [9] or call 615-885-2422.

Edgar Evins State Park

Cooler weather, campfires, storytelling, roasting marshmallows – a chance to snuggle down under blankets – all these are pleasant happenings in the fall and are part of Edgar Evins State Park’s 5th Annual History Hayride, on Center Hill Lake Saturday, October 16th. There are still a number of seats available! 

This is a wholesome, family-oriented event rather than a Halloween ride although one of the new characters will be a gravedigger from the 1930s when bodies were exhumed from existing cemeteries to be reinterred during the construction of Center Hill Reservoir. Some of the other characters will include an area moonshiner, a local foxhunter, and the Revolutionary War veteran who founded the town of Liberty. Back by popular demand will be Elizabeth Dale, the lovely daughter of the founder of Liberty who later became known as “The Black Widow of Hazel Green.”

As many as nine wagon loads will leave at 30-minute intervals from the park’s office at the observation tower. The ride will take approximately 90 minutes to make a complete circuit, stopping at several scenes where costumed re-enactors will present historical sketches.

Hosted by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park, this event is an opportunity to learn about the history of the park and the area, while enjoying fresh air and spectacular lake and hillside scenic views. Reserve your spot now as this event sells out quickly!  Admission is $10.00 per person, with all proceeds benefiting the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park whose efforts help improve and preserve the park. Light refreshments also will be served, including marshmallows – and it is recommended you BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket) and dress warmly in layers. Phone the park office for reservations: 931-858-2446 or toll free at 800-250-8619.

Edgar Evins State Park is located on the shores of Center Hill Lake in the steep, hilly Eastern Highland Rim. The 6,000-acre park provides excellent recreational opportunities and accommodations on one of the most beautiful reservoirs in Tennessee. Wildlife is abundant, including three different owl species, numerous hawks and wintering bald eagles as well as the rare Cerulean Warbler – a summer resident of the park’s mixed hardwood forests, which include stands of Tulip Poplar, Oak, Hickory, Buckeye and Wild Cherry. The park was dedicated in 1975 and named for James Edgar Evins, a Dekalb County businessman and mayor of nearby Smithville. As a two-term state senator, Evins was instrumental in the development of Center Hill Dam and Reservoir. For more information about the History Hayride, please call 800-250-8619. Additional information about the park can be found at www.tnstateparks.com/EdgarEvins [10].

Tennessee’s 53 state parks and 81 natural areas offer diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences for individuals, families, or business and professional groups.  State park features range from pristine natural areas to 18-hole championship golf courses.  For a free brochure about Tennessee State Parks, call toll free 1-888-867-2757. For additional information, visit our Web site at www.tnstateparks.com [11].