Paynes Creek State Park had the 4th Fort Chokonikla Festival this past weekend.
It went very well.
This wonderful video of the event showed up on YouTube. It also shows many of the other interesting features of the park. Paynes Creek State Park in the old phosphate country along the Peace River off highway 17 is a gem in the state park system, in my opinion.
This is one of my favorite festivals for a number of reasons.
First, is that the local people who come here are related to the settlers who were here in 1849. They have stories and oral histories of what happened here.
Second, this park is a hidden gem in the state park system.
Third, we acted out the incident of the burning of the store, that started the "Panic of 1849." There is only one other annual event that we do in Florida that is scripted from an actual eyewitness account, and that is Dade Battle reenactment. I love to act out the events like they happened, even if it is our interpretation.
Even the Okeechobee event that I saw posted on YouTube; I do not consider that an accurate reenactment of events. There are things done at Okeechobee that I see on YouTube which are not in the reports and eyewitness accounts. So events at Okeechobee are over-dramatized.
It can be explained this way: In Civil War reenactments, there are battles and skirmishes, and there are "raids." The battles are recreated events. The raids are usually a loose interpretation of events, and not expected to always be a particular event. In other words, just make things up and wing it!
Why reenact something where we just make things up? Often it is because there are not enough historical sources written down. Like at Fort Cooper. We know the Georgia soldiers at Fort Cooper were there under siege of the Seminoles, but we do not have very many details of what happened. So we just do a loose interpretation of events where we think this might have gone on.
For Okeechobee, I saw a lot of dramatic interpretation injected into the reenactment that I don't think actually happened. But it is all story telling, afterall.
At least Okeechobee or Cooper are not like Monty Python's garden club ladies reenacting. (As in the humorous clip below.)
Unfortunately, I did not have my camera this past weekend. By the time I remembered that it was sitting on the table at home, it was too late to turn back and retrieve it. But, I know that enough people out there have cameras for stills and motion pictures. I called Elizabeth and she filmed on Saturday.
Also, let me close to say that much effort was put in by the park staff to make it a good event, and the park volunteers. I want to thank Jackson, Neal, and Sam for their work. And also thank George from Dade Battlefield for helping out, too. George showed up a couple days early to dress the set with some antiques. The park has an extremely small staff and could not do a great event like this without help.