The Civil War comes to life again on June 7 in Kodak, as a Civil War Infantry Camp, a Surgeon’s Tent, General Robert E. Lee, and President Abraham and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln will all be present at Kodak Heritage Day, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Northview Optimist Park on West Dumplin Valley Road in Kodak. The public can tour the camp and interact with these historic figures at no charge. This annual community event is co-sponsored by Friends of Kodak Library and the Northview Optimist Club.
“We try to spotlight a different aspect of history each year,” said Friends Co-President Karen Clausing.
“The Civil War was certainly a defining period of American history,” pointed out Co-President Rita Marshall.
“Even though there were no consequential battles fought in Kodak, troops did move through the area and it definitely impacted the community,” added Optimist President Larry Taylor.
To help interpret this important period, people that have done a great deal of research so they can accurately portray people from that era will be on hand. The 63rd Tennessee Infantry will set up a camp and conduct military drills. Bill Walker will demonstrate how a Civil War Surgeon would care for the wounded.
Jim Young will be portraying General Robert E. Lee. He is under consideration to portray Lee next year at Appomattox for the re-enactment of the surrender that ended the Civil War. Thomas and Patricia Wright will step into the roles of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. These are characterizations they have exemplified for years.
In addition to the commemoration of the Civil War, Kodak Heritage Day will feature antique cars and farm tractors, live music, craft vendors, kids activities, and plenty of good food.
“There are a lot of activities going on that day,” said Clausing. “There should be something of interest for almost anyone.”
“We are going to have our best turnout of crafts vendors ever for Kodak Heritage Day,” said Marshall.
Around a dozen crafters from across East Tennessee will be selling a wide range of items. Those items include artwork and photography, baby blankets, birdhouses, candles, dolls, floral arrangements, holiday decorations, jams and jellies, jewelry, Native American crafts, scarves, and more. “The wide variety of crafts alone being offered this year are enough to make it worth attending,” said Clausing.
Live music will be performed throughout the day. Buddy & the Boyz, a bluegrass group from Kentucky, will be the featured band. The Old Harp Singers from Sevier County will showcase shaped note singing. Other entertainers will be performing as well.
Children get a chance to experience outdoor activities without electronics. At different times throughout the day, stick horse races, sack races and cake walks will be held so children can have fun take doesn’t include downloads, video screens or batteries. All of these activities are free and prizes will be awarded.
A silent auction will also be taking place during Kodak Heritage Day.
“Many of the craft vendors have donated items to the auction,” said Friends Vice-President Linda Lubke.
In addition, tickets to Dollywood and area theaters and a host of other items will be available. In a nod to pie suppers that were once a staple of community activities, a selection of homemade baked goods will be up for auction as well.
With all of these activities going on, people are bound to get hungry. Barbecue and hot dog plate lunches, with all the trimmings, will be available at reasonable prices. Drinks and desserts can be purchased as well.
Another new addition to Kodak Heritage Day, the local Boy Scout troop will perform a Flag Disposal Ceremony to retire worn American flags.
“This is a special service that shows significant dignity as these flags are properly discarded,” said Taylor.
The public is invited to bring flags for the Boy Scouts to use for this ceremony.
There is no charge for admission or parking. Kodak Heritage Day is co-sponsored by Friends of Kodak Library and the Northview Optimist Club. Proceeds from the silent auction and food sales are divided between the two groups. FOKL’s portion will go into a fund for the construction of a new building for the Kodak Branch Library of the Sevier County Public Library System. The Optimist Club will use their portion for various youth serving activities including college scholarships, support for the Boys & Girls Club, and sponsorships of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and athletic teams.