Fans go back in time at Frontier Festival

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- Tomahawk throwing, musket shooting and other frontier-style activities appealed to families at Chehaw on Saturday.

"I came here two years ago and thought it was really neat," said Chris Reid, of Greenville, S.C., who was also suitably dressed in a period costume. "I really enjoyed it, so this time I brought my family."

The three-day 18th annual Frontier Days event at Chehaw harkened back to the era that probably lasted from 1700 to 1840, said Ben Kirkland, natural resources director at Chehaw. Kirkland, dressed in traditional frontier fringe clothes, is an avid student and teacher of the frontier traditions.

The traditions that were part of frontier life seem to conflict with the rush and especially the high-tech lifestyles of the 21st century.

Contrast driving up to the takeout window at Arby's to trapping an otter and skinning it for its meat and pelt.

Andy Gurley from Gwinnett County makes his own bows and arrows. He skinned an otter he had trapped as part of his frontier day's


"My great-great grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee," Gurley said. "I try to act as a half-breed might back in frontier days. I would have loved to live back then."

That thought was seconded by Reid, whose son Jonathan was busy poking the otter's carcass alongside another boy Ethan Nutt.

"I think I was born in the wrong time," Reid said. "This time takes you back to a more relaxed time without all the technology. It is like the time when you went to sit on your mom and pop's front porch and just relaxed."

As campfire smoke drifted across the camping area people snacked on Brunswick stew, funnel cake and pumpkin frybread. Children picked through souvenirs such as real tomahawks, wooden guns, Davey Crockett hats and wampum beads.

There wasn't a laptop or iPod in sight. Cell phones were another matter.

The laid-back and relaxed event continues through today.