NPS to Host 30th Annual Campfires and Candlelight Signature Event

Image of visitors enjoying the campfires & candlelight special event by lantern light in 2012.

Photo courtesy of Christopher Communications

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News Release Date: September 4, 2013

Contact: Robert Gutierrez, Park Ranger, 360-816-6247

Contact: Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian, 360-816-6231

Contact: Mike Twist, Park Ranger, 360-816-6246

What: 30th Annual "Campfires & Candlelight" Special Event 

Who: Presented by the employees and volunteers of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site 

When: 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday, September 14, 2013. The Timeline of History begins at 4:00 p.m. and the reconstructed fort opens at 5:00 p.m. 

Where: The grounds surrounding and including the reconstructed stockade at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 1001 East Fifth Street, Vancouver, Washington 98661 

 How Much: Free!

VANCOUVER, WA –On September 14, the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will host the Campfires and Candlelight signature community event for the 30th consecutive year.

This interactive, living history event, first staged in 1983, features costumed staff and more than 150 volunteers in encampments and re-enactments on the grounds and inside the buildings of the reconstructed Hudson's Bay Company fort at the national historic site.

The tour begins by leading visitors back through the site's past along the Timeline of History, where encampments and demonstrations shadow the lantern-lit ADA accessible pathway and highlight key people and events from the site's history. 

Among numerous opportunities, visitors can scrub rags against a washboard alongside nineteenth century Army washerwomen, smell the spruce of the World War I-era Spruce Production Division camp, tap rudiments on a snare drum with post-Civil War soldiers, cover ears at the boom of an Army mountain howitzer, play shadow puppets against the lantern-lit canvas of an Oregon Trail wagon, spark a fire with flint and steel and throw trade axes in the Fort Vancouver Village camp, speak in Russian with a reenactor portraying famed Soviet pilot Valery Chkalov, and inspect uniforms and camp equipment from soldiers from many eras.

The Timeline of History ends at the gate to the reconstructed stockade, where visitors can step back in time to September 13, 1846---a night the usually-quiet fort buzzed with activity as the Hudson's Bay Company organized a relief effort for the wreck of the American naval vessel USS Shark at the mouth of the Columbia River. Visitors can observe and interact with reenactors in numerous fort buildings, including the Blacksmith Shop, Bake House, Chief Factor's House, Counting House, Carpenters Shop, Kitchen, and Dispensary.

Campfires and Candlelight is Fort Vancouver's largest costumed re-enactment, and is only possible through the help of more than 150 costumed interpreters from the park's volunteer team, the park's youth volunteer team, and multiple community partners.

Special Notes:

  • To facilitate event setup, the hours of operation for the reconstructed stockade will be 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14. The Visitor Center will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14.
  • Carpooling is encouraged as parking is limited. Event parking can be found at the gravel lot immediately north of the fort's garden, on Fifth Street, at the Visitor Center parking lot located at 1501 East Evergreen Blvd, and available public parking areas within the Reserve. Disabled parking is available at the gravel lot immediately north of the fort's garden.


BACKGROUND: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is one of the 397 national parks which make up the National Park System and it is located in both Washington and Oregon. This national park is also the heart of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve which is located in Vancouver, Washington. The Vancouver National Historic Reserve brings together a national park, a premier archaeological site, the region's first military post, an international fur trade emporium, one of the oldest operating airfields, the first national historic site west of the Mississippi River, and a waterfront trail and environmental center on the banks of the Columbia River. The partners of the Reserve teach visitors about the fur trade, early military life, natural history, and pioneers in aviation, all within the context of Vancouver's role in regional and national development. The Reserve's vast array of public programs -- including living history events, festivals, cultural demonstrations, exhibits, active archaeology, and other special activities – serve communities in Washington and Oregon and create a dynamic, fun, and unique tourist destination for people of all ages.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

612 E Reserve St
Vancouver , WA 98661


(360) 816-6230

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