Bent’s Fort Hosts Annual 1846 Holiday Celebration

Buckboard Ride at the Fort


Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site will celebrate the holidays in 1840’s fashion beginning on Friday evening, December 7, and activities are planned throughout the day on Saturday, December 8.  *PLEASE NOTE:  In the event of a federal government shutdown, Saturday’s activities would be cancelled.*

The event begins with candlelight tours starting at 6:30 pm on Friday, December 7.  Groups are led by lantern light through the rooms of the fort interacting with inhabitants preparing for or celebrating the holidays as they might have in 1846.  These highly popular tours fill very quickly.  Currently very few slots remain for the Friday and Saturday evening tours. Call the park soon at (719) 383-5026 for reservations.

Holiday Fandango!

Pending continued government operations, on Saturday, December 8, festivities will continue during the daylight hours, with no reservations needed.  Activities will include toy-making in the carpenter’s shop (9:30, 11:15 am, 1 pm), a piñata break (10 am), wagon rides across the prairie (11 am – 4 pm), a taffy pull (1 pm), black powder demonstration (2 pm), and a Yule log hunt (3 pm).  The fort will close at 4 pm and then reopen for the reserved candlelight tours at 5 pm.

The fort will be very active all through the day Saturday as over 60 living history volunteers provide a glimpse into the lives of the fort’s diverse occupants.   Even at an outpost far from home for many, and while the work of the trading post had to go on, the holidays became a memorable time for the men and women who lived at the post.

In order to cover event costs, the park will be charging a special event fee of $5 per person, ages 6 and up, for admission to the fort during the holiday celebration.  Kids 5 and under are free.   National Park Passes are honored for admission to the daytime activities, but not for the special evening candlelight tours.  Fees will be collected at the fort entrance.  Visitors should be prepared for the weather.  Water, appropriate outerwear and comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is located 8 miles east of La Junta or 13 miles west of Las Animas on Colorado Highway 194.  For more information, call the park at (719) 383-5010 or visit the Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site Facebook page.


Filed Under: CountyEducationEntertainmentEventsFeaturedMedia ReleaseRecreationTourism


About the Author: