Swamp to tell ‘legends and lore’

Published 9:48 pm Thursday, October 27, 2016

One of the eeriest places in Suffolk will offer some spooky tours this weekend for folks eager to get into nature and the Halloween spirit at the same time.

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge will have its first Legends and Lore Festival on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Boat tours, guided bus tours and “Walks of Lore” with guides telling folk tales and legends will be on site, and the author of a haunting yet uplifting novel set in the swamp will be available to discuss and sign her book.

“It’s a whole lot packed into four or five hours,” said Deloras Freeman, visitor services specialist at the refuge. “We’re excited about it.”

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Freeman said the boat tours and bus tours already are full, but a waiting list is being offered.

She is especially excited about the Walks of Lore, which will last about 45 minutes and be offered four times throughout the event.

Costumed storytellers will escort groups along a trail through the swamp and share legends and lore surrounding the swamp.

“That’s going to be really neat, especially for people that are into legends and stories,” Freeman said.

Ann E. Burg, author of “Unbound,” will be on site to discuss her research for the book and sign copies, which will also be available for purchase. It is recommended for ages 9 to 12, but Freeman said even adults can enjoy it.

“It is the most awesome book, even for adults,” Freeman said. “It’s not oversimplified.”

The story is told in the voice of Grace, a young slave girl, and is based on the remarkable true stories of runaway slaves who sought sanctuary in the Great Dismal Swamp.

For kids, there will be face painting and a craft station where they can make firefly lanterns, Freeman said. Many myths and legends about the Great Dismal Swamp include a firefly lantern, including one about the mysterious “Lady of the Lake,” who uses her lantern to light her journey in a white canoe on Lake Drummond.

“That little element keeps popping up in several of the myths about the swamp,” Freeman said.

For more information about Sunday’s events, call 986-3705. All of the activities are free.