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Ames Plantation Heritage Festival


The 17th annual Ames Plantation Heritage Festival once again brought history to life on October 11, 2014. Rain put a damper on this year’s activities, “but it was not a washout,” said Jamie Evans, organizer of the festival. “We still had 1,737 people attend, lots of good food, good music, and many educational demonstrations. Even though we had adverse weather, we still had a really good day.”

The Ames’ Heritage Village is a collection of restored structures representing a typical 19th century farmstead. The collection of structures and log cabins date from around 1820 through the early 20th century, and include the 1830s Stencil House, a one-room school house, and the Cotton Interpretive Center. Every second Saturday in October, the empty structures of Heritage Village come alive with historic re-enactors demonstrating the lifestyle, crafts, and skills of an earlier time.

This year the Heritage Festival brought over 84 folk artists, demonstrators, re-enactors, and musicians to Ames for a full day of entertainment and education. Visitors could hear the sounds of gospel, blues, string band, and dulcimer music. There was story telling in the red school house. Folks could pick cotton, watch cotton ginning, pick greens, see the processing of a hog, learn about horseshoeing, kettle laundry, broom making, and see 100 quilts on display in Bryan Hall. “This is the third year we’ve had the Quilt Show,” said Evans. Visitors could see how 19th century dark burley tobacco was processed. And, of course, one could also purchase a wide selection of folk art and crafts. 

The Civil War Era was brought to life through a living history encampment and demonstrations about the process of firing a cannon. 

Dr. Bob Freeland gave a remote sensing demonstration at the historic Jones Family Cemetery, showing how to find unmarked graves. He also showed how to clean and maintain historical grave markers.

Of course there were Bird Dogs and information about the history of the National Championship, which takes place at Ames every February. New this year, David Meeks explained the history of fur trading and demonstrated animal trapping.

Located near Grand Junction, Tennessee, Ames Plantation encompasses 18,400 acres of land in Fayette and Hardeman counties and is one of the University of Tennessee’s AgResearch and Education Centers. In addition to forestry, raising Angus cattle, wildlife research, and being home to the National Field Trial Championships for Bird Dogs, Ames is an important historical research center in west Tennessee. For more information on the Heritage Festival and other historical research at Ames, visit

Many thanks to photographers Jeff Atwood of Wheaton, IL, & Dr. Stacey Evans of Memphis, TN.

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