HARTFORD – The 219th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition's arrival at their Illinois winter encampment will be celebrated during the Arrival at Camp River Dubois event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10-11, at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site in Hartford.
Activities will take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. inside the Interpretive Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Reenactors and demonstrators will interpret what life was like for members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition while wintering at Camp River Dubois from December 1803 to May 1804. Visitors will see how the training and preparation at Camp River Dubois forged the Corps of Discovery and prepared it for a strenuous journey.
Soldiers in period uniform will be on hand. Lewis and Clark Expedition uniforms can be seen on demonstrators of the White Pirogue boat. The War of 1812 artillery unit will display and interpret their cannon and equipment; some of the Expedition soldiers went on to serve during this conflict. Ed Dulaney will demonstrate survival tactics while on military campaign.
Artisan Barb Miner will share her skills and crafting knowledge to help visitors create their own reed and craft paper holiday decorations. These simple designs ensure everyone can go home with one.
Exhibitors will share unique elements of the Expedition and the early 19th century. Exhibitor Bob Mitchell will share rocks and minerals that would have been encountered by Meriwether Lewis. Mark West will exhibit antique tools similar to those used by the Expedition's carpenters.
Historian Ken Porter will display an array of frontiersmen artifacts, such as trade beads, pelts, tomahawks, flintlocks and medical tools. Paul Imes will also present on medical tools and practices of the early 19th century as a frontier doctor. Jeffrey Edison will explore the role of York, who was the only enslaved member of the Expedition, and his many contributions to the exploration effort.
Another exciting addition this year will be a visit from St. Nicholas. Children are invited to come and get their pictures with him and see how gifts would have been brought to children in the early 1800s. They may even get a treat from St. Nicholas himself. This tradition goes back to the French communities living in early Illinois.
The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site is located in Hartford in Madison County. The Interpretive Center and reconstructed Camp River Dubois reveal the important role that Illinois played in the Corp of Discovery's preparations as they wintered from December 1803 to May 1804. Winter hours at the site are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
The site is operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources with support from the Lewis and Clark Society of America.