Department of Parks
Explore Life of Frontier Women At Fort Boonesborough June 21-22
RICHMOND, Ky. -- Fort Boonesborough State Park will host its 4th Annual “Women on the Frontier” on June 21-22, 2008. Fort Manager Bill Farmer initiated the event in 2005 as a way to bring attention to early women settlers. It has become a highly successful program at Fort Boonesborough with a twofold purpose.
For women re-enactors it is a chance to encourage other women to become re-enactors and to become more familiar with the lives and culture of these early settlers. For visitors to the fort, it is a glimpse into a side of history seldom seen. Everyone is familiar with Daniel Boone, but how many people know as much about Rebecca Boone. And all agree, it is a hands-on program. Both the re-enactors and the visiting public can try their hand at early colonial skills like starting a fire with flint and steel or shooting an 18th century flintlock rifle.
The two-day event has a full schedule of demonstrations, classes and hands-on experiences running from 8:15 a.m. Saturday to 3 p.m. Sunday. This year’s featured speaker is Randolph Hollingsworth, whose topic will be “Searching for the Real Rebecca Boone: The Idea of Womanhood in Early Kentucky History.” Dr. Hollingsworth has been an award-winning educator for more than 25 years and is a native of Lexington, Ky. She received her Ph.D. in American History from the University of Kentucky and currently is assistant provost and an adjunct professor at UK. She will speak on Saturday at 1 p.m.
On Sunday, participants will join in the 2nd Annual Skills Contest. A highlight of last year’s program, the contest allows participants to put their newly honed skills to use. Last year the skills course consisted of starting a fire, gathering eggs, frying an egg and eating it, naming the parts of a flintlock, throwing a tomahawk, sewing a patch on a garment, all while holding a doll baby and being timed with a 21st century stopwatch. It was hard to say who had more fun -- those running the course or those visitors who were watching and cheering.
Registration to participate is free and open to all -- not only re-enactors. Visitors who wish to come for the day pay only regular fort admission. “So many women get into re-enacting because their husbands are re-enactors,” said Kathy Cummings, a veteran re-enactor. “We originally only wanted to encourage women who had never put up a tent on their own or maybe built a fire by themselves to come out and give it a try.” But when Cummings and fellow re-enactor Melanie Kuntz started making suggestions to fort management on programs to be included, Bill Farmer encouraged them to run with it. Said Kuntz: “It has really become a unique weekend. We never expected such a response from fort visitors. It has proven to us that there is a lot of interest in the early women settlers and the type of lives they led.”
So for fun, education and history, you can’t beat the 2008 Women on the Frontier. For more information, visit www.fortboonesboroughlivinghistory.org or call for a schedule of the weekend’s events at 859-527-3131.
Fort Boonesborough is located at 4375 Boonesborough Road, just north of Richmond. It is 5 miles off I-75 at Exit 95, and about 10 miles south of Lexington.
The Kentucky State Park System is composed of 53 state parks plus an interstate park shared with Virginia. The Department of Parks, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, operates 17 resort parks with lodges -- more than any other state. Each year, Kentucky parks draw 7 million visitors and contribute $317 million to the economy. For more information on Kentucky parks, visit our Web site at http://www.parks.ky.gov.