News Release

Celebrate the Holidays with Three Events at Fort Vancouver

Three carolers in period clothing sing Christmas carols from a book.
Enjoy carols sung by the Madrigal Carolers at Christmas at Fort Vancouver

Photo by Steve Young

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News Release Date: November 20, 2018

Contact: Bob Cromwell, Chief of Interpretation (Christmas at Fort Vancouver), (360) 816-6253

Contact: Mary Rose, Friends of Fort Vancouver (Celebration of Birds and author talk), (360) 816-6216

The National Park Service is pleased to announce several holiday-themed events for Saturday, December 8, including the park’s annual Christmas at Fort Vancouver event, a Celebration of Birds, and a book signing and presentation on Oregon Trail History at the park’s Visitor Center.
This season’s Christmas at Fort Vancouver is on Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 10 am to 3 pm. Within the reconstructed fort, volunteers will portray the sights and sounds of an 1840s fur trade Christmas. This holiday was one of the few times a year when the Hudson’s Bay Company granted leave to all employees. Many spent this respite outdoors hunting or fishing, and all would celebrate together by dining and dancing in the fort.
Visitors will hear traditional caroling by the Madrigal Singers as they enjoy free holiday wassail, games, music, demonstrations, and dancing. There will be several ongoing Victorian-era craft activities, with materials provided for visitors to make wooden toy tops, wreaths, and potpourri ornaments to take home.
The regular admission fee of $7 for adults (children 15 and under free) will apply for entry into the fort for the Christmas event. In order to save you time on the day of the event and avoid waiting in the line, the park encourages you to try a new service, Your Pass Now ( You can pay your fee on the website, and bring a pre-printed pass, or download a QR code to your smart phone, and be ushered into the event without having to pay by cash or wait for your credit card purchase to be approved!
“This holiday event continues to increase in popularity. Families often share with us that making Victorian crafts here has become a holiday tradition,” said park Superintendent Tracy Fortmann.
“The park’s many hard-working volunteers make it possible for our visitors to create their own holiday-themed handcrafts and experience how the employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company celebrated the holidays,” said the park’s Volunteer Coordinator, Jennifer Ladd.
Also on December 8, two events will be held at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center. From 10 am to 1 pm, celebrate our feathered friends! A Celebration of Birds will feature special activities for children, including building wooden bird feeders (limited quantities, supplied by The Home Depot). Several artists from the Portland Paper Shapers group will be in the Visitor Center working with visitors to design paper birds to decorate the tree in the Visitor Center lobby. Visitors may enjoy a hot cup of hot cider and shop for unique holiday gifts at the Friends of Fort Vancouver Gift Shop as well.
From 1:30 pm to 3 pm, the Friends of Fort Vancouver will be hosting a book signing and talk presented by Susan G. Butruille, author of Women’s Voices from the Oregon Trail—25th Anniversary Edition. The Friends Gift Shop and Bookstore is one of the first to have this 25th Anniversary edition of a wonderful classic that includes an expanded and updated “Guide to Women’s History Along the Oregon Trail.” Join author Susan Butruille as she signs and reads from her book, sings a few songs, and tells of the women who recuperated at Fort Vancouver following their harrowing 3000-mile journey across the continent. Also, learn about Abigail Scott Duniway’s vow to write a Women’s Declaration of Independence while traveling the Oregon Trail.

Christmas at Fort Vancouver Schedule

These programs will take place at the reconstructed Fort Vancouver.

10 am - 3 pm: Ongoing hands-on activities (while supplies last):
  • Build your own toy top
  • Taste apple wassail
  • Craft your own holiday wreath
  • Make your own Victorian handcraft
  • Play games of the 1840s
  • Visit the Kitchen and watch a cooking demonstration
  • Visit the Blacksmith Shop and talk with volunteers demonstrating the lost art of blacksmithing
11 am: 19th-century Saber Demonstrations

11 am - noon: Christmas caroling by the Madrigal Singers
At noon: 19th-century Saber Demonstrations

1 pm: 19th-century Saber Demonstrations
1 pm - 2 pm: Listen to excerpts from Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic, A Christmas Carol, at the Fur Store

1 pm - 3 pm: Learn a holiday jig! Enjoy music and dancing in the Counting House

2 pm: 19th-century Saber Demonstrations


Cost: Admission to Christmas at Fort Vancouver at the reconstructed fort site is $7 per adult. Individuals age 15 years and younger, visitors with an America the Beautiful Interagency Pass, and visitors with an Every Kid in the Park pass, are free. Events at the Visitor Center are free. You are encouraged to pay the fee ahead of time by using the online service Your Pass Now at

A Celebration of Birds and the author talk and book signing with Susan G. Butruille are free of charge.

When: Saturday, December 8, 2018, 10 am - 3 pm
Where: Christmas at Fort Vancouver takes place at the reconstructed Fort Vancouver, located at 1001 East Fifth Street, Vancouver, WA).

A Celebration of Birds and the author talk and book signing with Susan G. Butruille will take place at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center & Bookstore, located at 
1501 East Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, WA).

Note: Pearson Air Museum will be closed on Saturday, December 8, 2018, and will reopen on its regular schedule on Tuesday, December 11, 2018.


Last updated: November 20, 2018

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Mailing Address:

612 E Reserve St
Vancouver , WA 98661


(360) 816-6230

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