Fort raises spirits with 1840s Christmas

first_imgChristmas at Fort Vancouver was a holiday tradition in the 1840s, and it seems to be a tradition again for many local residents.The annual celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the reconstructed fur-trade fort, 1001 E. Fifth St.It will headline a program that includes two events at the Visitor Center, 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd. — a Celebration of Birds and the opening of a new exhibit, The River People.Regular entrance fees to the fort will apply.Admission to the Visitor Center is always free.During Christmas at Fort Vancouver, costumed volunteers will provide the sights and sounds of an 1840s fur trade celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Day. It was one of the few times a year that the Hudson’s Bay Company granted leave to all employees. Many spent their time off hunting or fishing, and all would celebrate together by dining and dancing in the fort, according to company archives.Visitors will hear caroling by the Madrigal Singers, drink holiday apple wassail and watch games, demonstrations and dancing.There will be several ongoing Victorian-era craft activities, with the park providing materials for visitors to make wooden toy tops, wreaths and potpourri ornaments.“Families often share with us that making Victorian crafts here has become a holiday tradition,” Superintendent Tracy Fortmann said in a news release.At the Visitor Center:Celebration of Birds, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Special activities for children include building a wooden bird house (limited quantities) and making a pinecone bird feeder. Visitors may enjoy a cup of hot cider and shop for holiday gifts at the Friends of Fort Vancouver Gift Shop.The River People, 2 p.m.: An exhibit featuring work by guest artist Pat Courtney Gold will open. Her creations reflect the traditions of the Wasco Nation. Her work is in collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, the Burke Museum in Seattle and the British Museum. There also will be a talk by the artist and a short documentary film highlighting her work.last_img