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Okefenokee celebrates its heritage
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The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is about an hour and a half southwest of Hinesville, near Waycross. - photo by

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge will celebrate the annual Okefenokee Festival and National Wildlife Refuge Week from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at the historic Chesser Island Homestead in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
Visitors will walk into history and witness the ways of the old “swampers.” They’ll watch how settlers washed clothes, smoked meat, collected pine resin for turpentine and survived in and around the Okefenokee.
The Roddenberry Sisters will give four-note singing performances at 1 and 3 p.m., and the Johnny Griffin Band will play bluegrass music. Attendees can listen to stories, learn how settlers made soap, fans, butter, quilts, basket and other everyday items from various swamp and forest resources.  
There will be boiled peanuts, soup, biscuits and other items cooked on the homestead’s wood-burning stove for sampling.
Traditional games, including musical chairs and wheelbarrow races, start at 2 p.m.
Rangers will give short guided walks at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. through the hardwood hammock, which attracted a long history of settlers to the island.
In the evening, for an additional charge, Okefenokee Adventures will offer a sunset boat tour into the Okefenokee Swamp. Visitors will have the chance to see alligators, wading birds and other wildlife. Call Okefenokee Adventures at 912-496-7156 for more information about boat tours.  
The refuge entrance fee is $5 per vehicle. Duck stamps and/or annual passes also are accepted. Free shuttle buses will leave from the refuge’s visitor center every 15 minutes, traveling to and from the Chesser Homestead.  
The refuge is 11 miles southwest of Folkston, off Highway 121/23.
For information on events and activities at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, call the visitor center at 912-496-7836 or go to

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