The bustling days of trapping, trading and freighting will come back to life this coming weekend as Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site hosts a Living History Encampment.
The bustling days of trapping, trading and freighting will come back to life this coming weekend as Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site hosts a Living History Encampment. Around 50 living history interpreters will inhabit the fort demonstrating life at a working trading post. Camps of a Plains Indian, U.S. Army Topographical Engineers, and hunters and fur trappers will also be set up outside the fort.
The event will run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, and wrap up at noon on Sunday, June 11. Among the groups to visit with will be traders, soldiers, craftsmen, laborers, cooks, trappers and hunters and other fort visitors and employees. These interpreters will be carrying out the daily activities that a visitor to the fort might have seen in the 1840s.
Activities may include trading sessions, learning Plains Indian sign language, freighting with oxen, surveying by the Army, carpentry and blacksmithing, making of adobe bricks (you can help!), open hearth cooking, historic gardening, bullet making and hide skinning.
“This encampment is set up to teach living history skills to preregistered participants who have signed up for a fully immersive experience, but it offers a great opportunity for the general public to come out and see the fort brought to life,” according to Chief of Interpretation Rick Wallner. “Folks who come out will get a great taste of what life was like when the fort was active in the 1840s.”
Recent flooding along the Arkansas River means visitors should be prepared for mosquitoes. Visitors are highly encouraged to bring insect repellent. Water, sun screen and comfortable walking shoes are always recommended.
In order to cover the costs associated with this event, the park will be charging a special event fee of $5 per person, ages 6 and up, during the encampment. Kids 5 and under are free. National Park Passes are honored for this fee. Fees will be collected at the fort entrance.
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is located on Colorado Highway 194, 8 miles east of La Junta or 15 miles west of Las Animas. For more information on the Living History Encampment, visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/beol and click on “Special Events” or call the park at (719) 383-5010.