Campfires & Candlelight September 10, 2016
On September 10, 2016, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will host its annual Campfires & Candlelight event. This free event is the national park's largest living history event of the year. This year the theme for the night is “Night of Fire,” September 24, 1844, when a huge wildfire threatened the fort.
Friends of Fort Vancouver will have the Friends Shop at the Visitor Center (1501 E. Evergreen Boulevard) open for the event so that visitors can browse and purchase new and vintage books, artwork, NPS Centennial souvenirs and more. Hungry visitors can also purchase a little 'taste of the past;' a bag of homemade Fort Vancouver Ginger Cookies, baked from a Hudson's Bay Company recipe. Ginger cookies were very popular during the time period featured for the Campfires and Candlelight event.
Beginning at 4 pm, the "Timeline of History" leading from East Fifth Street to the gates of Fort Vancouver will be the site of several camps filled with costumed re-enactors sharing the history of the site. As visitors walk closer to the fort, they will be transported further and further back in time. Along this stretch, Living History Group NorthWest will host a World War II camp, the Buffalo Soldiers NW Chapter 9th & 10th Horse Cavalry will host a camp representing Buffalo Soldiers at Vancouver Barracks, and the First Oregon Volunteer Cavalry and Infantry will host a Civil War-era camp. Other camps populated by National Park Service volunteers will represent the site's World War I, Oregon Trail, and Hudson's Bay Company history.
At 5 pm, the gates of the reconstructed Fort Vancouver will open. Inside the fort, re-enactors will recreate the night of September 26, 1844. On this night 172 years ago, a massive wildfire that had sparked to the northeast of the fort was moving towards the fort, and would eventually come within 300 feet of the fort's walls. Visitors will be able to interact with volunteers portraying specific characters who were present on that night, and will learn not just about the story of the fire, but also about other important issues from the time period. Learn more about the history behind the event at http://go.usa.gov/xDQ7C
Fort Vancouver and the Timeline of History camps will be open to the public until 10 pm, offering a rare chance to see the fort after dark, and see buildings lit by candlelight, as they would have been in the 19th century.
What: Campfires & Candlelight at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Where: 1001 E. Fifth Street, Vancouver, WA 98661
When: The Timeline of History opens at 4 pm. Fort Vancouver opens at 5 pm. The event ends at 10 pm.
(Photo courtesy of NPS.)