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David Crockett 235th Birthday Celebration

Aug 13th, 2021

Residents of all 21 Counties in West Tennessee will Enjoy Free Admission

Discovery Park of America invites you to celebrate David Crockett’s 235th birthday on Sat., Aug. 14, 2021. The folk hero, frontiersman, politician and Tennessee settler made his home in Northwest Tennessee from 1822 until he departed for the Alamo in 1835. He was born near the town of Limestone in present-day Greene County, Tenn. on Aug. 17, 1786.

The celebration is sponsored by Dixie Gun Works and residents of all 21 counties in West Tennessee will enjoy free admission.

Discovery Park CEO, Scott Williams, has released a book about Crockett, “The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett.” He will be hosting a panel discussion that day with guests Broadway actor Bart Shatto and educator Arthur W. Hunt III, PhD.

Shatto is a member of the original Broadway casts of Tony-nominated “Hands on a Hardbody” and “The Civil War.” He has also been seen on Broadway in “War Paint,” in the iconic role of Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” and he originated the role of Quincey Morris in “Dracula.” Shatto and a team are currently working on a new play, “Davy Crockett: In Concert,” that takes place in Memphis the night before he departs Tennessee for Texas. Shatto will also be performing at Discovery Park on Aug. 14.

Dr. Hunt is professor of Mass Media and Strategic Communication at the University of Tennessee at Martin where he teaches public speaking related courses. For three years, he performed a living history program for Tennessee state parks, schools and other venues called, “The Story of Davy Crockett as Told By Himself.”

Throughout the day, guests will be able to experience Crockett and learn more about his contribution to West Tennessee with panel discussions, performances and activities taking place throughout the museum and park.

Crockett, known for his marksmanship, was one of the earliest non-Native American hunters around nearby Reelfoot Lake. A passionate advocate for the earliest settlers of West Tennessee, he served in the state legislature from 1821 to 1824, then as a member of Congress representing West Tennessee counties in the United States House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831 and 1833 to 1835. He represented settlers making their homes in the counties of Carroll, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lawrence, Madison, McNairy, Obion, Perry, Shelby, Tipton, Wayne, and Weakley.

Residents of all the counties listed, along with Benton, Chester, Crockett, Decatur, Lake and Lauderdale that were formed later, will receive free admission on Sat., Aug. 14 with a valid Tennessee driver’s license or other form of identification noting a residence in one of the listed counties.

Other presentations will take place throughout the day on a variety of topics relating to Crockett and his life and career in Tennessee. There will also be craftspeople demonstrating work done during that period and opportunities to learn more about the wildlife of Northwest Tennessee during the time Crockett lived here.

Visitors will find many ways to experience David Crockett at Discovery Park all year long. Included is a statue dedicated to the frontiersman, a congressional exhibit in Liberty Hall at Freedom Square, a reproduction of Crockett’s portrait by John Gadsby Chapman, the Regional History Gallery telling the story of Northwest Tennessee, a 20,0000-gallon aquarium and tanks featuring the wildlife of Reelfoot Lake, a one-of-a-kind Earthquake Simulator, the Native American Gallery, an 1800s Tennessee log cabin community, Mill Ridge featuring a working gristmill and forge and more.

To make the celebration even sweeter, Sabin’s Café at Discovery Park is giving a free mini cupcake to the first 235 guests who request one in honor of Crockett’s 235th birthday.

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David Crockett 235th Birthday Celebration Schedule

Indoor programs will be simulcast to the Eats ‘n’ Treats Patio for those who would prefer an outdoor venue.

Discovery Park of America encourages everyone to seriously consider taking advantage of the COVID-19 vaccine. Masks are optional but are available for guests who would like one. Social distancing is encouraged and additional cleaning measures have been incorporated into standard operating procedures.

Throughout the day:

Craftspeople – Weaving, woodworking, wickerwork and other demonstrations in the 1800s Settlement and Mill Ridge

Wildlife – Experience the wildlife of Northwest Tennessee at the touch table in the Regional History Gallery

11:00 a.m. The Political Geography of West Tennessee / Tennessee Room
Nathaniel Newlin will explore the history of the political boundaries of the local, regional and federal jurisdictions that have existed within West Tennessee over time and how the 21 counties west of the Tennessee River came to embody the political and cultural distinctions of the Grand Divisions.

11:45 p.m. 20-minute Tour of Discovery Park’s Pollinator Gardens and Innovation Farm
Meet five minutes before start time under the Titan Missile at STEM Landing.

12:00 p.m. Tennessee to Texas: The Ballad of David and Sam / Tennessee Room
More than ships passing in the night, Sam Houston and David Crockett share a bond of historical congruence that cannot be overstated. In this program, Nathaniel Newlin will explore the movements that brought both Houston and Crockett to Texas and how their legacies diverged into refined aristocrat and rowdy folk legend, respectively.

12:30 p.m. 20-minute Tour of Discovery Park’s Pollinator Gardens and Innovation Farm
Meet five minutes before start time under the Titan Missile at STEM Landing.

1:00 p.m. The Accidental Fame of David Crockett / Tennessee Room
Scott Williams explores how Crockett rose from the Tennessee frontier to international icon with panelists Bart Shatto and Dr. Arthur Hunt.

1:45 p.m. Book Signing with Scott Williams, author of “The Accidental Fame and Lack of Fortune of West Tennessee’s David Crockett” / Outside the Tennessee Room
Books will be available for purchase.

2:00 p.m. 1800s Medical Practices and Home Remedies / Heritage Garden
Focusing on the medically purposed plants found in the Heritage Garden, Zach Rea will share antiquated methods of treating illnesses and injury in the 19th century.

2:30 p.m. Frontier Wildlife / Trapper’s Cabin
Join Hannah Collins from Discovery Park’s Wildlife department to explore how animal habitats and distributions have changed since the days of Crockett, as well as the hunting and husbandry practices that epitomized the 19th-century frontier.

3:00 p.m. Bart Shatto Performance / Discovery Park’s Chapel
Select portions of “The Life and Times of Davy Crockett” by Broadway performer Bart Shatto. Also featuring Micah Barnes, Chloe Cook, Brent Hopper and Ken Robinson.

Simulcast to the Eats ‘n’ Treats Patio

*All programs are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Also, be sure to follow us for more information on Discovery Park of America’s Facebook pageTwitter and Instagram.

The mission of Discovery Park of America is to inspire children and adults to see beyond. Discovery Park of America is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations including its founder, the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation.