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Last updated: Fri. May. 02, 2014 - 07:01 am EDT

Learn self-sufficiency at the Primitive Skills Gathering this weekend at the Old Fort

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Skills sessions

What: The Three Rivers Primitive Skills Gathering will offer instruction in a variety of pioneer-era skills, such as hide tanning, finger weaving, fire starting and flint knapping.

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Old Fort, 1201 Spy Run Ave. Parking is available at Headwaters and Lawton parks.

Cost: Free admission, but there will be a fee of $5 or less for workshops to cover the cost of materials.

Information: Search for “Three Rivers Primitive Skills” on Facebook.


You can prepare for an apocalypse or just get hands-on with history at workshops offered at the Three Rivers Primitive Skills Gathering on Saturday and Sunday at the Old Fort, 1201 Spy Run Ave.

“I think there is a growing interest in self-sufficiency and survival,” said event organizer Adele Stuerzenberger of Roanoke.

More and more people want to know skills such as growing their own food, canning food and using herbal medicines, Stuerzenberger said.

Workshops will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, but there will be a fee of $5 or less for workshops to cover the cost of materials.

Workshop topics include hide tanning, finger weaving, bag weaving, fire starting, flint knapping, making gourd containers and building a wigwam framework. Most classes last from 30 to 90 minutes.

All workshops are open-ended, meaning a teacher will start when he or she has time to teach you, Stuerzenberger said.

The instructors typically can teach small groups at the same time, she said. Part of the instruction involves working with visitors one-on-one to get started, however, and then letting them ask questions as they continue to work on their own.

The workshops are designed for young teenagers and older, she said.

Elementary-age children can take part in activities in the kids' area, which include forming small clay pots, stringing bead necklaces and making leather pouches.

Stuerzenberger said she's always had interest in history and survival skills.

“Even as a kid, I was into it,” she said. “I like knowing, if I was on a plane that crashed in the middle of the wilderness, I would get out all right.”

Primitive skills workshops are popular in the West, she said. She couldn't find any offered in the Midwest, so last year she decided to organize one herself. This is the second year for the event.

Stuerzenberger also will display some items she has collected, such as a primitive fish trap, spears and atlatls, the last of which are devices for throwing spears.

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