A Roman Holiday
Trip Start Mar 07, 1997
95Trip End Dec 25, 1998
This weekend we'll join with the Romans in celebrating their Heritage Holidays. For starters, there is the Chiaha Harvest Fair, held on the banks of the Coosa River downtown. Chiaha is an Indian word meaning "meeting of the hills and the waters."
Over 100 artists and demonstrating craftspersons set up in Heritage Park to show their stuff. The live entertainment is continuous, the cider is free, and the riverboat rides let us enjoy the beautiful fall colors. Tour guides tell the history of the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers, which meet in Rome to form the Coosa. It flows on to the Gulf of Mexico.
Anytime you visit the Chieftains Museum you can experience the three cultures of the Coosa Valley; the Mississippian Culture (700 to 1600), the Cherokee Indians (1700-1838), and the Agrarian South (1834-1935). But during Heritage Holidays there is a special exhibit - "Awakening of Turtle Island: Portraits of Native America," featuring the work of photographer Tracey Schmidt.
The museum, at 501 Riverside Parkway, was the 1794 home of Major Ridge, who signed the New Echota Treaty. It's a point of interest on the chieftains Trail.
And how about a wagon train? Camp out near Ridge Ferry Park tonight and follow the wagon master downtown Saturday for a parade on Broad Street, complete with a newly formed Citizens Kazoo Band. This part of the celebration recalls John Wisdom's ride in 1863 which saved the city from advancing Federal troops.
Each year Heritage Holidays focuses on a different aspect of Rome's history, and this year it honors the "history of firefighting" with a new exhibit in the Rome Area History Museum. For fun, they're staging muster competitions as neighboring fire departments challenge each other in old-time fire-fighting techniques.
In case that's not enough, Heritage Holidays has a Friends of the Library Book Sale, a Bicycle Rodeo, performances of "Disney on Ice" at the Forum and "Carousel" at Heritage Hall, a Blues Band Concert on Saturday night and the Finley Voices Spiritual Concert on Sunday afternoon. Not historic, but fun! See you there.