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Pocahontas County Bicentennial ~ A bash for the ages

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

When it comes to celebrating 200 years, the people of Pocahontas County will do it right – with a year-long celebration. The Pocahontas County Bicentennial Committee has been working on plans for the festivities since 2017. The celebration will begin October 1, 2021.

Bicentennial coordinator Katy Gay is excited at how the plans are coming together, and hopes members of the community are ready to be a part them.

“We are going to have the most exciting, extensive, biggest, coolest Bicentennial ever,” she said. “This is really over the top. It’s going to be a year long. It’s scheduled to kick off October 1, 2021 during Huntersville Traditions Day, and it’s going to run a whole year to the next Huntersville Traditions Day.”

There are events scheduled throughout the year, as well as special projects which will make a lasting impression on the county and her people.

“We’re going to have premier events,” Gay said. “Right now, we have three dramas that we’re looking at. The first one is the Cass play – I think there was a production of it in 1993. The second is the Saga of Pocahontas and the third one has been written like a local quiz show about the history of Pocahontas County.

“We’re also doing a podcast and oral history series,” she continued.

“We’re looking at something called a Portrayal of Pocahontas where living characters go into the schools and talk to the kids about Pocahontas – who she was and what she was.”

On the actual Bicentennial – December 21, 2021 – there will be a re-enactment of the official bill signing to commemorate Pocahontas County’s birth.

“There’s discussion of maybe getting descendants of some of the original signers to take part, and one of the original signers was Robert Gay,” Gay said. “That’s exciting.”

Included in the plans are several time capsules – using vaults donated by local funeral homes.

A K-8 curriculum will bring Pocahontas County history to the students. Two bicentennial quilts are also in progress – one will be displayed in the courthouse and the other will travel the county during the year-long celebration.

One of the larger projects is a permanent art installation featuring fiberglass sculptures, decorated by local artists.

“I did a few surveys around asking the public and visitors what icon they associate with Pocahontas County,” Gay said. “The most popular answer was rivers. We had some group discussions and some brainstorming, and we’ve decided to pick the trout as our icon. Our community art project – I’ve come across these very large fiberglass trout statues – and here in the next few months, we’re going to do a call for artists and ask artists to submit their proposals to decorate them.”

The project will include eight large trout which will be named for the eight rivers whose headwaters are in Pocahontas County. There will also be smaller trout sculptures that businesses and individuals can sponsor and decorate to include in the project.

“We’re going to distribute them around the county – probably to the larger towns and areas,” Gay said. “They will be permanent installations outside in more visible traffic areas.”

While a lot is already set in motion and planned, there is always more that can be added. Gay said she is working with local veterans organizations to honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces and hopes members of the community will share artifacts, letters, documents and photos which will all be included in the Bicentennial.

“I did a PSA with the radio station, and I’ve asked the community for documents or letters or artifacts that contribute to our history – the county history,” she said. “I’m hoping people will bring things out and share them. I’m going to be traveling to all the libraries and hopefully scanning the documents to get them to our website creator.”

Gay said those who wish to share information or be part of the Bicentennial in other ways may contact her at kattygay@celebratepoca

They may also visit the website – for updates and news on plans for the celebration.

“There’s a lot of passion and love for this county,” Gay said. “I’ve really enjoyed the experience.”

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