Bent’s Fort Celebrates Holidays, 1840s-Style

Courtesy Photo: National Park Service

Courtesy Photo: National Park Service

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site will celebrate the holidays in 1840s fashion beginning on Friday evening, December 2 and continuing all through the day on Saturday, December 3.

Events begin with guided candlelight tours through the fort starting at 6:30 pm on Friday, December 2.  Groups depart at 15 minute intervals and are led through the rooms of the fort interacting with fort inhabitants preparing for or celebrating the holidays as they might have in 1846.  Reservations are needed for these tours.  As of November 22, a total of about 25 slots remain open for the Friday night tours; Saturday night’s tours are full.

On Saturday, December 3, festivities will continue all day.  The fort will open at 9 am with the first event being toy-making in the carpenter’s shop beginning at 9:30.  Wagon rides across the prairie around the fort will begin at 11 am.  Afternoon activities will include a taffy pull, more toy-making, a piñata break (2 pm), and a Yule log hunt (2:15 pm).  The fort will close at 4 pm and then reopen for reserved candlelight tours at 5 pm.

Even at an outpost far from home for many, the holidays were a memorable time for the men and women of the fort.  Over sixty living history volunteers will bring those times to life during this event and offer a glimpse into the meaning of the season for the fort’s diverse occupants.

As the park wraps up its observation of the 2016 Centennial of the National Park Service there will be no charge for this year’s daytime events or candlelight tours.  However, do remember that reservations are required for the candlelight tours.  To reserve space for the Friday night tours (Saturday night is already full), call (719) 383-5026.

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is located on Colorado Highway 194, 6 miles east of La Junta or 13 miles west of Las Animas.  For more information, go to the park’s website at, call the park at (719) 383-5010, or visit the Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site Facebook page.

Come enjoy 19th century holiday traditions with the people of Bent’s Fort during this fun and interactive special event.

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