Hey, Aaron here at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site!

As always, it has been busy!

So busy in fact, that I had completely forgotten to keep up on my posting! What have I been up to? Well, a lot actually. Besides the usual behind the scenes planning and helping out with the volunteer program, we just had our signature event, Campfires and Candlelight (C&C)!

What does this event entail? Good question! C&C “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…” http://go.usa.gov/3Fw6e. Oh, and it’s completely free and this was the 32nd year we’ve hosted this event. Over 7,000 people came out to enjoy the event this year!

Since this was my first time being at C&C, I wasn’t assigned any line-duties. This allowed me to peruse the site and see all the different volunteers doing their thing. We had a whole bunch of outside groups (such as a WWII group and some Buffalo Soldiers) set up their own campsites. It was great to see the involvement of so many people who have similar interests. Inside the fort we had first person interpretation (think “I” or ”we”) and outside the fort we had third person interpretation (think “he”, ”she”,  or ”they”). I know I certainly enjoyed seeing the volunteers inside the fort who were dedicated to staying in character and I’m sure the public did as well.

In addition to just walking around I had the chance to light the candles that make this event so unique. All along the paths in front of and inside the fort we had hung lanterns on stanchions. As the night got darker we made sure to limit all light pollution from light bulbs so only the candlelight lit the pathways. This allowed the visitors to get a sense of what it would have been like during the night time here at the fort. The ambiance it creates is really something special.

Finally, I had a chance to see all the planning and setup that goes into an event of this size. It’s a lot of work! I think we put up 13 of our canvas tents and that was just a small portion of the work. It was at least a 12 hour day for many of our volunteers and staff. Everyone did an excellent job!

Here are some shots I took while I got to explore the event:

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Something else that I have been spending time on is cultivating partnerships with local organizations such as Lion’s Clubs and Rotary Clubs. Through our superintendent, Tracy Fortmann, and some contacts that I have met from other events, I have had the opportunity to go to a couple Lion’s Club meetings. I even had a chance to speak at one about our volunteer program and some of the opportunities we are looking to fill. Afterwards one of the Lion’s Club members talked at length about how they would be interested in helping out with some of our projects. After all of the planning and restructuring I have been helping with that has kept me in a mostly behind-the-scenes role it was nice to get out and see that I can make some real stuff happen!

Now, to the moment I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for… the unveiling of my Find Your Park video. Many thanks to Mark Dodd for volunteering his time and effort to shoot and edit this video!

 

Finally, stay on the lookout for my upcoming blog posts about some of the volunteers here at the fort. I’ll be interviewing and taking pictures of them in action!

That’s all for now,

Aaron