Come, Sing, Dance, and Play at the Annual Christmas at Fort Vancouver

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Date: November 14, 2013
Contact: Robert Gutierrez, (360) 816-6247

VANCOUVER, WA -- Friends and families can experience the sights and sounds of a 1840s fur trade Christmas at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site’s reconstructed Fort Vancouver on Saturday, December 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Visitors will hear caroling by the Madrigal Singers as they enjoy free warm holiday wassail, games, music, and historical dancing. There will be several ongoing handcraft activities and your urban national park will supply all the materials needed to make, wooden toy tops, wreaths, and potpourri ornaments.

"These handcraft activities provide families an opportunity to add a personal touch to the season by creating their own beautiful holiday treasure to decorate their homes or to give as presents to loved ones," said Park Ranger Robert Gutierrez.

The reconstructed fort will look much as it may have over 150 years ago as garland decorations and costumed re-enactors will be inside all the buildings to help bring the history alive for visitors.

"Christmas at Fort Vancouver gives visitors an opportunity to see how the employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company celebrated the festive time around Christmas and New Year’s Day. After months of hard work, it was one of the few times a year where all of the company’s employees were able to celebrate together away from their normal labors," said Greg Shine, the park’s chief ranger and historian.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a camera to capture the historic Hudson’s Bay Company holiday scene or to pose with the costumed re-enactors. Historic background and costumed re-enactors will provide a memorable old-fashioned holiday scene as visitors’ clothing contrast the 1840s fashion attire.

In anticipation of the event, visitors wanting to learn more about how the Christmas and New Year’s holidays were celebrated in the fur trade era can also read two articles on the park’s website, titled "A General Time of Indulgence and Festivity": Early Winter Holiday Celebrations at the Vancouver National Historic Reserve."

Part I: Christmas:

Part 2: New Year’s Day:

Make a day of your visit to the park by checking out the other venues of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve, such as Pearson Air Museum and the Marshall House.

Schedule of events at the reconstructed fort (1001 E. Fifth St.)

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Christmas Caroling by the Madrigal Singers

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Kids Games– Counting House

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Ongoing Hands-On Activities:

  •  Build your own toy top
  •  Taste apple wassail
  •  Craft your own miniature wreath
  •  Gather ’round for a winter story
  •  Play games of the 1840s
  •  Make your own Victorian handcraft
  •  Pose for a holiday photo
  •  Check out artifacts of a holiday feast
  •  Kitchen open for demonstration
  •  Blacksmith shop open for demonstration

11:00 a.m. – Blast of Black Powder! Historic Weapons Demonstration

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Trade Axes

1:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Learn a holiday jig and sing along to carols! Participatory music and

dancing in the Counting House

1:00 p.m. – Blast of Black Powder! Historic Weapons Demonstration

2:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Trade Axes

3:00 p.m. – Blast of Black Powder! Historic Weapons Demonstration

COST: $3 adult/youth 15 and under are free. and you take home the wreath, top, and crafts you make on site! America the Beautiful Interagency Passes accepted.

WHEN: Saturday, December 14, 2013. Activities at the reconstructed fort are available from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Fort is open to the public 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Reconstructed fort, 1001 E 5th St, Vancouver, WA 98661

For further information, please contact Park Ranger Robert Gutierrez at (360) 816-6247 or call the Fort Vancouver NHS Visitor Center at (360) 816-6230 or visit us online at

Last updated: February 28, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

612 E Reserve St
Vancouver , WA 98661


(360) 816-6230

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