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June 29, 2014

BACK IN THE DAY: George Rogers Clark Days explore history in Clarksville

Two-day event held at Clark's home site at Falls of the Ohio State Park

CLARKSVILLE — From a rocking chair on George Rogers Clark’s front porch, he might have seen an osprey nest on the other side of the Ohio River in the 19th century. But he wouldn’t have seen it through a bird watching scope, or nestled in the top of a cell phone tower.

But on Saturday, George Rogers Clark Days at the Falls of the Ohio State Park gave visitors a chance to see what life was like back then.

Kelley Morgan, interpretive manager for the park, said since the event’s revival three years ago, they’ve really tried to get as much on the Clark home site to give people a taste of Clark’s life.

“People really do like the community feel of this event,” Morgan said. “We’ve got a lot of re-enactors with unique stories from the time to tell people. It’s a way to experience history a little differently than what people get on a day-to-day basis.”

She said a re-enactor, playing the part of Clark, would talk about his life after the Revolutionary War.

Some regular standby exhibits drew in the crowds. Tomahawk throwing and booths with period crafts were available, along with musicians and dancing.

She said this year’s new additions included a blacksmith, Tom Jacobi, with some of his wares.

Jacobi, 52, Bradford, showed some of the cooking utensils he made, including tripods for pots when cooking over a fire, lid-lifters and others. He said in his five years of forging at festivals, one thing keeps him coming back.

“The smile on the kids’ faces,” Jacobi said. “That’s really what really makes it, when you show them a square piece of steel and form it into something useful. They look at that and tell you how cool it is.”

Another new feature of the event was the Woodland Indian Educational Programs, with representations of Native American dwellings and tools they would have made.

A Department of Natural Resources volunteer showed visitors how to use an atl-atl, a device Native Americans used to throw spear-length darts to get more leverage behind them.

Ray Walker, 40, New Albany, brought his daughter, Gladys, 6, to the event. While he said he could use more practice with an atl-atl, he’s glad his first trip to the home site would give Gladys an idea of how people lived in George Rogers Clark’s days.

“I think it’s important to know some of the history of the area,” Walker said, “as well as show her the activities that used to be a part of normal living.”

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Motion Studio's junior company performs "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in celebration of National Dance Day at the Bicentennial Park in New Albany Saturday. The junior company, ages 7-11, have been working with Motion Studios on the ballet routine for the past four months.

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