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Atlatl competition returns to Chimney Point

ADDISON —The Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison is hosting a modified Northeastern Open Atlatl Championship day on Saturday, Sept. 18, with special workshops offered on Friday and Sunday with all activities outside. This is the 26th year of the annual event and always a highlight of Vermont’s September Archaeology Month.

The Chimney Point field, on the shore of Lake Champlain, will be set up for accuracy and distance competitions on Saturday. Contestants will use the atlatl, an ancient spear-throwing tool in use around the world before the bow and arrow, to test their prowess in accuracy and distance by throwing at a variety of targets. Event attendees can watch and cheer them on. Contestants are strongly urged to pre-register by calling 802-759-2412 and leaving a message. Attendees are encouraged to  bring a picnic lunch and an outdoor portable chair for comfort.

The competition starts with registration at 10:30 a.m., followed by the “International Standard Accuracy Competition,” the accuracy test with painted animal and other targets, and the distance event. The contest ends with a “Grand Champion” shootout. Categories include youth (ages 16 and under) girl and boy, women, and men. Contestants usually range from interested novices to some of the best in the country. Competitors pay $10. Visitors pay $5 for adults and free under 15. Thunderbird Atlatl and Barry Keegan will be demonstrating several ancient skills throughout the day, including flint-knapping your own stone tool. The museum will be open at special times during the day.

Thunderbird Atlatl will also offer an atlatl workshop on Friday, Sept. 17, from noon to 5 p.m. Attendees will make an atlatl, fletch three darts, and receive coaching advice and much more. The fee is $70 and includes all materials; pre-registration is required. Call 802-759-2412.

A willow basket workshop with Barry Keegan will round out the weekend’s activities on Sunday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Keegan will demonstrate how to use willow shoots and wands to weave and twine a round base, and sharpened spokes and twined willow shoots to form the basket walls. The final basket will be about 10 inches tall. The fee is $60 and includes all materials. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Call 802-759-2412.

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