For forty years the Fort Scott National Historic Site has had re-enactors portray people on the prairie in the 1840s era, just before Christmas, called The Candlelight Tour. This year the tours are Dec. 3-4, Friday and Saturday evenings.
“The purpose of the tour is to provide a deeper understanding of this region’s history, that helped shape this nation, and specifically how the fort was involved in that,” Carl Brenner, FSNHS Program Manager, Interpretation and Resource Manager, said. “Instead of just telling the story, we are trying to help people become immersed in that story.”
Tickets are $8, children five and under are free. To purchase call 620.223.0310
Friday evening, tours start at 6:30 p.m. and the last one is 9 p.m. On Saturday, the first tours are at 5 p.m., and the last start at 8:45 p.m.
Please arrive 10 minutes early to park, present a ticket, and acclimate yourself.
This year there are five vignettes, or re-enacted portrayals, circa 1842-1851. Forty volunteers and 10 staff will be involved in the tour this year.
The theme is Finding Peace on the Prairie.
The vignettes include:
- Soldiers arriving at the fort, who are acting as peacekeepers between the Native Americans and the Anglo-European settlers.
- Soldiers protecting trade goods along the Santa Fe Trail, keeping the peace. Fort Scott High School drama students helped write the script for this portrayal.
- Soldiers returning from the Mexican-American War, celebrating the Peace Treaty of 1848.
- Keeping peace along the Arkansas River by escorting people heading to the California Gold Rush, looking for fortune.
- A traveling minister came through the fort in 1851, providing a message of peace on earth to the soldiers.
Brenner said there are approximately 25 tickets left and the later tours, after 8:15 p.m., there are some available for families or groups.
Tours will be all outside, so visitors should dress to stay warm.
“Masks are required in all federal buildings, including the visitor center and restrooms,” Brenner said.
Tours are handicapped accessible.
“We are asking people to show up 10 minutes early and meet at the west (left) side of the visitor center building, between the two buildings, on the sidewalk,” he said.