This month Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument will celebrate Texas Archeology Month with the third annual “Alibates Rocks! FlintFest” on September 29-30 to celebrate the special resource known as Alibates flint. FlintFest runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. All events are free.
This year, FlintFest includes native plant demonstrations with yucca soap making, pictograph painting, corn grinding with traditional “metate” grindstones, atlatl throwing, archery, bead stringing, and a children’s “dinosaur fun dig.” FlintFest also will feature a “knap-in” with flintknappers demonstrating the art of making stone tools and weapons. All who attend can watch these craftsmen create arrowheads, spearpoints, and knives from Alibates flint and other types of toolstone.
Other activities during FlintFest include viewing the short award-winning film, “The Sharp Edge of Survival,” visiting the native plant garden, walking the new Mesquite Trail, and shopping in the bookstore. Books, calendars, and posters featuring flintknapping and stone tools and weapons will be available. Rangers and park volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and help visitors.
You can also join one of the archeological hikes to an excavated flint quarry and other ancient flint quarry sites on the monument. The archeological tours are free, but reservations should be made in advance by calling 806-857-3151. The tours last about two hours, and participants need to be fit enough to complete a one-mile hike on a narrow, sloping trail that includes stairs. They are asked to have sturdy, closed-toe shoes and water.
Another new event for this year’s FlintFest was a FlintFest student poster contest. Students in teacher Julie Kerr’s Advanced Graphic Design class at Borger High School took a field trip to Alibates Flint Quarries in the spring to learn more about the national monument.
“Students were very interested in the Quarry and the information that the tour guides [Dr. Paul Katz and Glendon Jett] had to share,” Kerr said. “Lots of photos, questions, ideas happened. It was a great project to introduce so many aspects of the graphic [arts] field and we appreciate the opportunity.” After the trip, the students designed posters to promote FlintFest 2012. Borger High School student poster contest winners are: 1st Place: Austin Bivens; 2nd Place: Ana Mendieta; 3rd Place: Nicole McMurry.
Schedule of FlintFest events for Saturday, Sept. 29:
9:00 a.m. Flintknapping demonstrations and activities begin; 10:00 a.m. the Quarry Tour departs (reservations required; arrive by 9:30a.m.); 2:00 p.m. the Quarry Tour departs (reservations required; arrive by 1:30 p.m.) At 5:00 p.m. activities end for the day. Schedule of FlintFest events for Sunday, Sept. 30: 10:00 a.m.- the Quarry Tour departs; 1:00 p.m. the Flintknapping demonstrations and activities begin; 2:00 p.m. -the Quarry Tour departs (reservations required; arrive by 1:30 p.m.); and 5:00 p.m. - activities end for the day.
For more information or to make reservations, call the park headquarters at 806-857-3151. To reach staff during FlintFest, call 806-857-6680.