Atlatl Championship Weekend at Chimney Point


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the Lake Champlain BridgeThe annual Northeastern Open Atlatl Championship weekend at the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont has been set for September 21 to 23, 2018, part of Vermont’s Archaeology Month.

The event includes an atlatl-making workshop on Friday and basswood bark strip basket-making on Sunday, and demonstrations and the competition on Saturday. The Chimney Point field, on the shore of Lake Champlain, is set up for the accuracy and distance competitions. Contestants from all over New England and New York use an atlatl, an ancient spear-throwing tool, to test their prowess in accuracy and distance by throwing at a variety of targets. Event attendees can watch and cheer them on.

Saturday’s competition starts with registration at 10 am, followed by the International Standard Accuracy Competition, and then the accuracy and distance event. The contest ends with a “Grand Champion” shootout. Categories include youth girl and boy, women, and men. Contestants usually range from interested novices to some of the best in the country. Competitors pay $7 with pre-registration or $8 on the day. Call (802) 759-2412 to pre-register.

Saturday demonstrations on the lawn compliment the new museum exhibits on the Native American and early European and American history of Chimney Point. Visitors can watch or try their hand at flint-knapping (making tools out of stone) with expert Barry Keegan; atlatl making and more with Thunderbird Atlatl, making Woodland pottery with Charlie Paquin, learning about birchbark canoes and how the Europeans adapted them from Mike Blakeslee, and flint and steel fire-making from the Revolutionary War period with Charlie Paquin. From 11 am to 2 pm are special children’s activities.

On Friday from noon to 5 pm is an atlatl workshop with Robert Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl. The $70 fee includes materials, instruction, and coaching. Participants make an atlatl and three fletched darts, receive instructions on using them, and are welcome to compete the next day. Pre-registration is required.

On Sunday, from 10 am to 4:30 pm, Barry Keegan offers a new basket-making workshop—with basswood bark strips. The $60 fee includes materials. Dress for getting wet. Pre-registration is required. Bring your lunch.

Admission for Saturday’s event is included with the regular museum ticket of $5 for adults and free for children under 15. The Chimney Point State Historic Site presents the history of the region’s three earliest cultures — Native American, French Colonial, and early American. The site was used by Native Americans for thousands of years, was the location of the 1731 French fort, and the museum is in the c.1785 tavern building.

Chimney Point State Historic Site is located at 8149 VT Route 17W in Addison at the foot of the Lake Champlain Bridge. For pre-registration and more information, call (802) 759-2412.

For more information about the Vermont State-Owned Historic Sites, click here.

Photo of view of Chimney Point, Vermont, showing the State Historic Site and the Lake Champlain Bridge, courtesy courtesy wikimedia user Zeph77.

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