“Building A Park,” WPA Day will be celebrated Saturday, Oct. 10 at Cedars of Lebanon State Park, and everyone is invited.
The Workers Progress Administration, or WPA, was created in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration to help provide economic relief to the citizens of the United States who were suffering through the Great Depression.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park and Forest was created as a reclamation project of some 9,000 acres of land in Wilson County in an effort to bring jobs and money to an area plagued with barren land previously deforested and unsuitable for crops.
The land was purchased from 60 local farmers, many of whom were resettled, and jobs were given to 300 employees to replant and develop the park for recreation and conservation.
The WPA Day will feature historical and cultural programs and demonstrations about the beginnings of the park and portraying life during the period in which Cedars of Lebanon was established Presenters and exhibits include:
• Barbara and Tommy Upchurch – Weaving. Weaving was revived as an arts program during the W.P.A, and the couple will be demonstrating with a loom.
• Shelly and Clive Valentine – Millwright. The Valentines are traditional artists specializing in sorghum cooking, cabin building, mill grinding.
• Roy Harper – Music Artist and Painter. He is a retired brakeman who received the Tennessee Heritage Artist Award and numerous other awards singing traditional folk country music.
• Lex Conaster and Chuck Linville – Fiddles. Avid Fiddle collectors, Conaster and Linville represent the rich history of fiddle playing in the park.
• David Harris – John Deer tractor expert.
• WPA and L.U.Worker Re-enactors. Brent Higgins: Foreman
• Mac Davidson – Traditional Tools. Davidson is a devoted antique trader and collector of traditional devices and tools required for daily living and work.
• Wayne Thompson – Early Single cylinder engines.
• Tom Jackson – Stone Carver, Fiddler and Wood Cook Stove Specialist. “Jack of all trades,” try Jackson’s beans in the back of the Lodge
• Tony Bible – Stone Mason. Bible Recreates the traditional art of stone masonry, the way WPA workers did who built the Cedar Forest Lodge.
• Michael Defosche – Traditional Southern String Band. Defosche is an award winning fiddler focusing on traditional Tennessee string band music.
• General George Patton's 3rd Army Maneuvers Re-enactors. The 3rd camped and practiced war games at the close of the WPA time period at Cedars of Lebanon (John Justice, Pete Dewitt, Thomas Killion, Mike Ezell).
• Crosscut Saw Demostration and Competition: Starting 10 a.m. Jeremiah Barnes serves as Judge.
Also, visit Cedars of Lebanon State Park’s historical photographs and documentation exhibit at the Lodge.
All programs will be held rain or shine. All events are free. Contact the park office at 443-2769 for information on camping fees and other recreational opportunities. Cedars of Lebanon State Park is at 328 Cedar Forest Road, Lebanon.