Sell-out crowds participate in fort’s candlelight tours

The Fort Scott National Historic Site’s 34th Annual Candlelight Tour event brought more than 650 visitors to the site as tickets for the 26 weekend tours were sold out, even after adding an extra tour.

12-8 Candlelight Tour 4

“Overall, I think it was a good event this year,” park ranger and tour guide Galen Ewing said, saying the nice weather through the weekend helped. “This is the first year in a few years that it sold out.”

With “A New Birth of Freedom” as its theme, the tour included five scenes that might have occurred at the fort in the year 1865, just after the ending of the Civil War. Almost 100 volunteers from the fort, Friends of Fort Scott National Historic Site, Fort Scott High School drama club and Fort Scott Middle School Pride acted out the scenes.

More than 700 candles were lit on the grounds of the site as the scenes were acted out by candlelight in different areas and buildings of the fort.

Scenes included soldiers preparing to go out on patrol, the announcement of President Abraham Lincoln’s death, the downsizing of the hospital, the opening of the Freedmen’s School for former slaves and the auctioning off of the fort buildings.

For the past five years, Ewing said the tours have focused on the Civil War years, leading up to the ending of the war this year in honor of the 150th anniversary of the end of the war. Although a theme has not yet been chosen for next year, Ewing said he is looking forward to it as it is the 35th annual event.

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