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September 17, 2013 > Stone Age Olympics & Knapp-In

Stone Age Olympics & Knapp-In

By Mauricio Segura

The Stone Age is known as the dawn of modern man. It was a time when fire, the essence of modern human advancement, was not necessarily discovered as is often stated, but more controlled. Fire provided humans with light, warmth, a way to cook their meals, and introduced the need to improve tool making. Spears, hammers, knives, and countless other stone based tools made home building, hunting, and play an easier task than ever before. The Stone Age paved the way for knowledge, logic, and invention to bring humankind together and advance as the dominant species on the planet.

Coyote Hills Regional Park is giving visitors a rare opportunity to travel back 2.7 million years to capture a glimpse of what life may have been like back then through the tools and activities of that period. The 4th annual "Stone Age Olympics & Knapp-In" will be filled with fun and competition for all ages.

Everyone is invited to participate in feats of primeval skills throughout the day. "Most activities will be geared for 8 to 60+ year olds, but we will be having activities that even younger kids can have fun doing," says Coyote Hills Naturalist Dino Labiste. Start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, twine plant fibers to create anything from traps to baskets or, for participants more physical, throw a rabbit stick (a sort of non-returnable boomerang used by Native Americans), a South American bola or play an Ohlone Indian game of Hoop and Pole. Hoop and Pole requires accuracy, challenging players to throw a spear-like object through a rolling hoop.

Knapp-in activities have nothing to do with overnight camping. The term refers to the art of fashioning stone tools and weapons by breaking, chipping, and carving stone to its desired shape and sharpness. Expert knappers will be present to demonstrate the craftsmanship involved and teach others how to transform rock into functional tools.

Between 10 a.m. and noon participants will be given a chance to use a prehistoric dart thrower called an "atlatl" to cast spears at a life-size Mammoth target. This official atlatl International Standard Accuracy Competition (ISAC) will be divided into age groups in men's and women's divisions. The winner of each division will take home a beautiful first place plaque; all participants will be listed on ISAC's official website.

Visitors and participants should meet at the Dairy Glen Campground, an eight-minute walk on the Bayview Trail toward the Bay from the Old Quarry parking lot. No food will be provided, but there are plenty of picnic tables for people to bring their own lunches to enjoy in a picturesque setting. The annual "Stone Age Olympics & Knapp-In" is a fun event, attended by curious and adventurous people interested in a unique experience. Labiste says, "Where else will someone have a chance to learn to fashion tools from stone or participate in activities that are thousands to millions of years old? These skills are practically lost to the majority because of technology. There is a sense of accomplishment and wonderment from creating something with your hands. Simply watching a burst of flame appear from nowhere rekindles an age old mystery."

Knowledge from the "Stone Age Olympics & Knapp-In" is priceless... the fun is icing on the cake!

Stone Age Olympics & Knapp-In
Sunday, Sept 22
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
ISAC Competition: 10 a.m. - noon
Coyote Hills Regional Park
8000 Patterson Ranch Rd., Fremont
(510) 544-3215
Free admission; $5 parking fee

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