Ancient skills will take center stage as the North Georgia Knap-In & Primitive Arts Festival returns to Cartersville Thursday.
Open to the public through Saturday from 8 a.m. to around 6 p.m. daily, the event will feature more than 40 vendors at Gatewood Park, 224 Bartow Beach Road. While the public can observe the artisans throughout the festival, demonstrations will only be conducted Saturday.
“The Knap-In has been running for about 25 years now,” said Mike Swetmon, who is coordinating the event with Eddie Hardin. “This is the second location, and it has grown from about 20 vendors to averaging between 40 and 50 in recent years. Our event is held to help promote many different primitive skills, primarily flintknapping, but also many related skills practiced by the Native Americans of our country. The festival runs for three days but our demonstration day is on Saturday the 22nd only. Approximately 45 vendors will be on site selling modern-made arrowheads, knapping tools, stone from all over the world, fire-starting materials, jewelry, display cases, pottery, animal skins and many more items. We also will have a food vendor on site for the full three days.
“On Saturday the 22nd at ... noon, we will hold an auction of items donated by our vendors. This auction and vendor fees [are] what we use to put on each year’s show. This keeps the show free to the public, so please make the auction a part of your scheduled events for the day and support our show so that we may continue next year.”
Among the various demonstrators on Saturday will be Hardin, who will provide instruction on beginning flintknapping.
“It’s amazing the amount of rocks that our ancestors used, the colors and how they prepared the rock prior to knapping it,” Hardin said. “They would heat treat it ... [and] it would chip or flake to the desired sharpness. So that’s what we do. We sit, and we knap these different type of points.
“... There will be people there that will have their stones, and they’ll be selling them, preparing what you call preforms or actually making the points, the knives. On Saturday, we start at about 9:30 in the morning — depending on the temperature or the wetness, the
humidity outside — [with] ... our demonstrations. We may have fire starting, arrow making, basket weaving, traps. We’ve got people here that know how to set traps for birds, rabbits, small game.”
He continued, “... It’s amazing. I had no idea when I first started this that there was this big of supply and demand for all these different stones. We have stone that comes from Australia ... [and] Ohio. We have coral that comes from Florida.”