Volunteer costumers help Fort Vancouver reenactors look authentic

first_imgEleven-year-old Benedicta Hardy tries on her re-enactor’s dress while wearing her everyday shoes. What: An 1840s Christmas at Fort Vancouver.Where: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 1001 E. Fifth St.When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday (fort is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).Cost: Adults $3; youth 15 and younger are free.Caleb Hardy can play the music. A few days ago, he was getting ready to play the role.Hardy is a re-enactor who will be part of the 1840s Christmas event Saturday at Fort Vancouver. Hardy will be one of the costumed musicians performing seasonal songs that were played when Fort Vancouver was the Northwest headquarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company.Their performance is likely to include some familiar tunes.“Some songs that were popular now were popular then, like ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne,’” Hardy said.“I like 1840s music,” the Portland resident said. “I don’t know how much I’m like those people, but I like what they liked.”Hardy also will be dressing like them after a recent fitting session in the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site’s costume department.The volunteer costumers have outfitted more than 100 re-enactors for the annual Christmas event, said Eileen Trestain, coordinator of the costume department.They will represent the full range of people who lived and worked at Fort Vancouver about 170 years ago. They include performers — singers, storytellers and dancers — as well as hands-on workers such as blacksmiths and cooks.Artisans will help visitors create keepsakes such as holiday wreathes and wooden tops that can be taken home; other re-enactors will demonstrate black powder shooting.They all will be dressed appropriately, thanks to a wardrobe collection that is far too big for the period clothing storage area.“We have 4,972 numbered items, which includes jewelry pieces and gloves,” Trestain said. “We probably have a third of that on site; two-thirds are checked out” by about 600 volunteer re-enactors.last_img

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