FOR THE HOHENWALD OKTOBER HERITAGE FESTIVAL
In 2016, the Oktober Heritage Festival Committee launched a vision to double or triple the local festival (by the year 2020) that has been held since 1986. Several of the previous festival organizers were contacted to find out what they felt were the most successful aspects of the festival and, yet, what they saw we should do differently. All of the previous organizers agreed on the problem: many Hohenwald and Lewis County citizens don’t connect with the Swiss/German heritage that is being celebrated.
Tommy Haskins, a local history buff, suggested that we add the other people groups that make up our heritage to the celebration. Those would be the folks who came across the Appalachian Mountains (down through Kentucky- hill folks) and the Chickasaw and/or Cherokee Native Americans .
So, in 2017 the festival carried on as usual, with just the celebration of the Swiss/German heritage.
But, in 2018 we will be adding the celebration of the Appalachia influence (the hill folks) through the MODERN HOMESTEAD EXPO to be held in the newly renovated city event /parking lot. The committee has concluded that the one common thread among the 3 major people groups who settled our area was their self- reliance while living in this rugged region. The MODERN HOMESTEAD EXPO will be A Self Reliance Fair in the truest sense of the word, helping the modern-day homesteader or curious local folks learn the old traditions of homesteading spiced with the newest technologies available on the market.
Then, in 2019, we will add another layer of celebration by inviting representatives of the Chickasaw and/or Cherokee Nations to the festival. We hope to locate this part of the celebration in the Discovery Center by the museum. If our offer is accepted, the Cherokee and/or Chickasaw will demonstrate their own versions of self- reliance through clothing, dwellings, food, games, storytelling ceremonies, medicinal plants etc. Experts will be on hand to conduct seminars in related topics.
Another successful aspect of our festival is the Annual Classic Car Show. In 2017 we saw a record number of cars (192) in the show. We also added a non-competitive BIG RIG show with 12 trucks, and in the future we would like to add a motorcycle showing (non-competitive).
Each of the four distinct components of the Oktober Heritage Festival will have a dedicated space. The committee has designated each as a “Village”. Having separate areas such as these facilitate planning, traffic flow, and advertising. In 2019, the Oktober Heritage Festival will be comprised of four “ Villages” including the Swiss/German Village (Main Street), the Homestead Village (The Lot), Native American Villages (The Discovery Center) and the Hohenwald Motor Village (Lewis County Court House).
We have confidence the expanded Oktober Heritage Festival will be of interest to a broader audience by bringing more of our unique history to life. If you want to be a part of helping to make our hometown festival the best it can be give us a call at 796-4084 or emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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