The grounds of the Calusa Heritage Trail came to life Saturday as individuals walked the grounds and listened to lectures during the 8th annual Calusa Heritage Day.
"We are having a great time," Bethany Zuiderveld said of the event, adding that she had learned a lot about the Calusa Indians.
She said the event provided a lot of good information about the Calusas, which is a very good thing.
Artist Peter Sottong, of Calusa Art Reproductions, paints one of his masterpieces during Saturday’s Calusa Heritage Day.
While walking the grounds, she said she enjoyed the duplicate art of the Calusas.
"You can take a little something to remind you of the Calusa," Zuiderveld said. "Amazing history."
Doris Murray said she was happy to see so many people on the Calusa Heritage Trail Saturday.
"It's amazing seeing so many people," she said.
Murray, who vacations close to the Calusa Heritage Trail, takes a walk to the area every day where she stops and sits on a bench for a little while before heading back home. She said she used to volunteer for three or four years selling books about the Calusa Indians.
The theme of this year's event was "First Contact" based on the first recorded encounter between Juan Ponce de Leon and the Calusa people taking place in 1513, which was 500 years ago.
The event included an area for the children where they had the opportunity to create Calusa crafts, have their face painted and make clay boats and artifacts.
There were also areas on the trail were individuals had the chance to try some foods that the Calusa enjoyed, which included oysters, mullet, papaya, among other things.
Individuals also had the chance to partake in using remote sensing technology with the Seminole Tribe Historic Preservation Office and throw an atlatl with Florida Public Archaeology Network.
Guided tours were also offered often during the Calusa Heritage Day to provide some more history of the Calusas as they traveled the grounds.
Lectures were also provided every hour from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., offering more information about the Calusas.
David Fitz said he really enjoyed William Marquardt's lecture about "Calusa at Contact: Archaeological Understandings."
"I learned a lot," he said, adding that he probably will not be able to retain all the information due to the amount that was provided during the hour presentation. "He did a good job of giving you some background."
Fitz, who is from Pennsylvania, attended the Calusa Heritage Day for the first time this year.
"I plan to stay the rest of the day," he said of the event.