25th anniversary Pocahontas Festival Nov. 16-17

- Posted on Nov 06, 2019 - 02:13 PM

Gloucester County will reintroduce the Pocahontas Festival next Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16-17, marking the 25th anniversary of the Pocahontas Festival that was held in 1994.

With numerous requests to bring the festival back, it will now be held as an annual event drawing people from the region, the state and beyond to honor the life, legend and legacy of Pocahontas and to help educate the public about Virginia’s Indian tribes.

Sponsored by Gloucester County and the Gloucester Historical Society, the event on Saturday, Nov. 16, will be held along Main Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when Indian dancers, a statue, a mural, museums and multiple exhibits will be available while hopping on and off free shuttle buses, according to a release. Special activities for children will be available.

At 11:30 a.m., a new exhibit within the Gloucester Visitor’s Center on Werowocomoco will officially open to the public. The exhibit is funded by the National Park Service.

The program on Sunday, Nov. 17, will feature a presentation on Werowocomoco by Kym Hall, superintendent of Colonial National Historical Park; and Dave Brown of the Fairfield Foundation. The two will discuss the site’s past, present and future beginning at 2 p.m. at the T.C. Walker Education Center. All events are free and open to the public.

The festival will also provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about two major land acquisitions in Gloucester. 

The federal government, through the National Park Service’s Captain John Smith Historic Water Trail, purchased the land known as Werowocomoco in 2016. An influential site since the 1200s, Werowocomoco was the tribal headquarters of Powhatan and where he and his daughter Pocahontas first met John Smith, according to the release. Also, where, legend has it, is the site of where Pocahontas as a young girl saved the Englishman’s life. Planning is currently underway on how to open the park to the public in a way that does not harm the land considered to be sacred by Native Americans.

Also, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation purchased a tract of land approximately 10 miles south of the national park property known as Timberneck. It will open to the public as Machicomoco State Park in 2020. The park is thematically designed around Virginia’s Native Americans, the land’s original inhabitants, according to the release. The park will feature interpretive exhibits and native landscaping along with RV and tent camp sites and other traditional state park facilities. An old farmhouse on the property, known as the Catlett House, will be preserved, and plans are being developed for it to include exhibits about Virginia’s tribes.

Chief Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock Tribe has acted as an advisor for the event. The Rappahannock Tribe as well as other Indian tribes will be participating. 

For more information on the Festival and/or the Pocahontas Project, contact Gloucester’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism department at 804-693-2355 or go to www.visitgloucesterva.org.