Christmas at the Fort 2017 Goes Out with a Bang!
Old Fort Parker’s annual Christmas at the Fort was quite successful, despite a blustering cold start to the four day event. Beginning Thursday, December 7 and ending on Sunday, December 10, an exact number of attendees has not yet been named, but nearly 3,000 students from 21 schools visited the historic site on Thursday and Friday to learn about the history of the Fort as well as skills used to in daily life in the Fort’s prime. Saturday and Sunday, the event was open to people of all ages, and the worst of the weather had passed, allowing an enjoyable, educational experience for the whole family!
“The weather dampened the turnout, but everyone who came had a great time,” said Sarah McReynolds, one of two employees who work to keep Old Fort Parker running.
Christmas at the Fort is the biggest event held at Old Fort Parker every year, and volunteers come from all over the state to help see it through. Inside the fort, one can find learn about all types of skills required to survive in the mid to late 1800s, including blacksmithing, weaving, farming, and more, taught by people who use these older methods as a hobby or profession. This year was arrowhead aficionado Michael Roegner’s 17th year participating, and several other volunteers have been participating 10 years or more.
Volunteer Mike Call taught passersby how to use a foot operated loom, used to create fabric for clothes and cloth. He explained that even today, looms are still used to make fabric but are mechanized and powered by gas. Call drew many kids and adults over to the bench to sit down and try it for themselves, and the length of fabric created was coming out surprisingly smooth and tight.
“The thing I like about the loom is all the work on the loom is done before you ever pick this up,” Call said, waving the bobbin in his hand. “The twill of your blue jeans is decided by how they put the thread in here, and that's how the pattern is created.”
Outside the fort, vendors paid the Fort a fee to set up shop and sell various items, many of which were handmade or gained through trading. Available for purchase were things like animal skulls and fur, hand crafted jewelry, clothing, purses, wooden toys, ceramic mugs and pipes, old fashioned candy, knives, and much more.
To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.