Gov. praises drama   

From Staff Reports

  Gov. Phil Bredesen has awarded 'The Wataugans' with a certificate praising the official outdoor drama of Tennessee for its contributions to the region and the state.
  The award was given "in recognition of outstanding service in the best interests and in the highest traditions of the State of Tennessee," Bredesen said Tuesday in a released statement.
  Jennifer Bauer, director of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, said, "We are very pleased that the governor is supportive of the drama and the efforts of so many good people to keep our incomparable heritage alive. We will display the certificate inside the visitor's center to share it with our patrons and friends."
  'The Wataugans' continues for the next two weeks with performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 7:30 p.m.
  Cheryl Smith, vice president of the Watauga Historical Association that sponsors 'The Wataugans' and chairman of the volunteer task force that handles numerous production details, said the governor's award is "another milestone along the way. Countless volunteers have worked down through the years to make 'The Wataugans' something special. It is very nice to know that the governor thinks it is too."
  Now in its 26th season, 'The Wataugans' tells the stories of the people who settled on the frontier, established the first free and independent government on the American continent and won the victory at King's Mountain called "the turning point of the American Revolution."
  "We proudly hail the pioneers, and especially the Overmountain Men as national heroes. It is a proud day to have the governor of Tennessee recognize them, and praise the people who are keeping their stories alive," said Herb Roberts, area manager for Tennessee State Parks who helped develop the drama during his 20-year tenure as director of SSSHA.
  The cast and crew of the drama have volunteered to help collect items for the Christmas in July Food Drive, sponsored by the Carter County Community Services Council.
  "'The Wataugans' is very much about family and community, from the original settlers to the people who perform the play. So it is a natural fit for us to try and assist the food drive," Bauer said.
  Last year's drive helped more than 800 families with many churches and organizations supporting the effort during the holidays. However, need outpaced demand and the council is attempting to get an early start for the 2004 drive. Non-perishable canned food items - including green beans, corn, soup, fruit, peas and carrots - are needed and can be dropped off at SSSHA during regular hours. Drama patrons are encouraged to bring cans with them to the performance. The council will store the items until December.
  For more information about 'The Wataugans", call SSSHA at 543-5808. Monetary contributions to the food drive may be made to Citizens Bank, c/o Bernice McAnich, P.O. Box 1900, Elizabethton, TN 37643.