American Indian Heritage Weekend returning to Cumberland Falls

In 2015, the beating of Native American drums and jingle of dancing bells filled the Blair building at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. The annual Native American weekend held at the park featured nearly two hours of a Skyhawk drum and dance. | File Photo

WHITLEY COUNTY — A new face at one local state park is helping prepare to bring back a weekend event that's been put on pause over the past few years.

Olivia Immitt transferred from the Big South Fork River and Recreation Area around six months ago and is now the Parks Program Services Leader for Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

Immitt is making a smooth transition and said she is ecstatic to be working at the Cumberland Falls State Park.

Originally from Utah, she and her husband ended up in the area after they set out seeking a place that felt like home for them. They live not far from the park surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest and uniquely they produce a lot of their own food.

One event that Immitt is excited about bringing back to the park is the American Indian Heritage Weekend. The event, which has a history of being annual has been on pause for some time.

The largest reason for that is due to its location being condemned. Immitt said the Blair building was torn down and that played a key factor in the park not hosting the festivities.

However as Immitt has hit the ground running in her new position she is already planning the event's return for May. Immitt has already been in contact with Venus Evans, of Corbin, and Helen Danser who serve on the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission in preparation for the event.

The three felt confident that they could start it back up again.

Immitt said the program has a large emphasis on education and she hopes schools will help promote the event and parents will bring their children.

On May 15, the first day of the three-day event, presenters will be both at the lodge and at the Monnbow Cafe with historical and cultural information. Along with presentations, crafts and activities will be available for all age groups.

Immitt said a large part of this will be cultural awareness. Dancing, storytelling, drumming and a flute concert are just some of the festivities planned for the American Indian Heritage Weekend which will be held May 15-17 at Cumberland Falls State Park.

The event will be free and open to the public, however Immitt said vendors will be set up with things for purchase.

"It's really wonderful to be partnering with the Kentucky Indigenous People (KIP) and the American Heritage Commission," said Immitt.

Before the May event, the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park will also host two other events community members might want to take advantage of, including a Valentine event and a storytelling weekend.

The Valentines weekend features dinner, and a murder mystery on February 15. The storytelling weekend is held March 20 - March 22 and including story sessions, concerts meals and lodging.

The falls is also known as the "Niagara of the South," and only at night during a full moon that can see the moonbow, a phenomenon not found anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information on any of these events visit the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park website or call 606-528-4121.

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