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La Junta, CO – The sights, sounds, and smells of what the Holiday Season may have been like at Bent’s Old Fort in the 1830s and 1840s will be on full display for park visitors to enjoy on Saturday, December 2.
There will be ongoing programs throughout the day where visitors can listen to a reading of “A Christmas Carol,” which was first published in 1843. Kids can make a trade for taffy or help bale buffalo robes on the fur press, and the young and young at heart can try their luck at Spanish Monte, one of the popular card games at the time. In addition, we will have several scheduled programs:
9:30am: Reading of A Christmas Carol begins in the Dining Room.
10:30am: Furs for Candy? This interactive program will include a chance to learn and use Plains Sign Language, participants can then hear about the most popular trade items, and kids can “trade” for a piece of candy.
11:30am: A Yule Log for the Yuletide. The Hunt is On! This program will discuss the tradition of the Yule Log. Kids of all ages can then take part in the Hunt for the Yule Log! It will then be dragged up to the fort and will be ceremonially lit as part of a demonstration of fire making.
12:30pm: Losing your Hide: Games of Chance at Bent’s Old Fort. Attendees to this program in the Laborer’s Quarters will get the chance to learn how to play Spanish Monte with winners getting to take home a prize! In this program they will also learn about the variety of entertainments available to pass the time at the fort.
1:30pm: Smoke and Thunder on the Prairie. Come learn about the types of weapons used in the Borderlands for hunting and for defense. This program will feature the firing of a flintlock firearm like those traded and carried at Bent’s Old Fort.
2:30pm: Christmas in the 1840s: The Dawn of the Modern Holiday. This program will take place in the Wagon Shed near the Bookstore. Participants will learn the differences in how the holiday was celebrated at the time of the fort’s operation from today, including differences in how it was celebrated by the different cultures in the Borderlands.
The park’s fee of $10 per person aged 16 and up will apply. Kids 15 and under are free. All National Park Passes are honored. Fees will be collected at the fort entrance.
As always, visitors should be prepared for the weather. Temperatures may be cold at the time of this event. Please be aware of your limits and use your best judgement. Water, dressing in layers, and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. There is a one quarter mile walk from the parking lot to the fort.