Historical Christmas at the Fort This Week
This weekend, Old Fort Parker is hosting their annual Christmas at the Fort celebration hosting vendors, historical re-enactors and events, and of course, Santa!
Every holiday season, the Fort first opens its’ gates to welcome students (private, public, and homeschool groups) on the first two days of the festivities, Thursday, Dec. 7 and Friday, Dec. 8. Old Fort Parker Director Connie Copeland-Colon is excited for the visitors of all ages who will attend.
“We are expecting right at 1,700 kids scheduled to be here, barring bad weather, so it’s a big deal,” CopelandColon said. “We will have re-enactors, vendors, and kids will get to learn a lot about the fort’s history.”
All are welcome on Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, but CopelandColon advises those who wish to shop to come on Saturday, as many vendors, traders, and event participants will be packing up to head home on Sunday
In addition to shopping a variety of handmade goods, visitors to this event will have the opportunity to see demonstrations like weaving, smithing, yarn spinning, and historical readings. Competitions with black powder riflery, primitive archery, tomahawks, and knife throwing will take place, American Mountain Men will showcase black powder weapons and survival pieces like powder horns, and the Master Gardeners will also be on-site to make presentations.
This event truly offers something for the whole family, including live animals and a covered wagon for kids to explore. Thanks to the expertise and hard work of volunteers like Tom Bolton, the cabins are being restored to a similar lived-in state that they were in back in the 1830s.
“We’re renovating and upgrading the cabins with more period-correct stuff, taking out the chicken wire barriers that were there so people can actually walk in and sit down to have a cup of coffee in the little cabins,” Bolton said. “I don’t want it to look like an abandoned fort, I want it to look like people were living in the fort and maybe they’re out working the fields, if you poke your head in the cabin you better be careful because they could be right back and catch you.”
Old Fort Parker has a limited budget but limitless plans for work that would improve the site and restore it to its former glory, projects that can only be completed through donations and volunteerism. When you visit this weekend for Christmas at the Fort, ask Copeland-Colon about future work days and ways that you can contribute to the historic site in the near future
Entry fees for this event are the same as their daily entry fees- $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 5-12; no admission fee is required for children under the age of 5.
To stay up to date on events and happenings at the Fort, make sure to like and follow the “Old Fort Parker Official Site” Facebook page. You can reach the Old Fort Parker Visitor Center during business hours (Wednesday-Sunday, 9 am5 pm) at 254-729-5253.