Living history encampment teaches history firsthand
Civil War soldiers will share their war stories, Overland Trail emigrants will cook over open fires, the blacksmith will pound metal and many others will take you back in time at the River Through Time event hosted by the Gem County Historical Society. It runs in conjunction with the Harvest Festival and Street Fair.
The River Through Time is a free admission, two-day event held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7 at the Gem County Island Sports Complex. The historical re-enactors are from local areas.
Visitors can experience living history first hand and interact through discussion and demonstration from the perspective of the Civil War soldier, emigrants, sheepherders, cowboys, miners, the blacksmith, wool spinners or free traders. Visitors are encouraged to mingle with the re-enactors and ask historical questions from the time period.
Stroll through the encampment and converse with those you meet. It is an exciting way to supplement education of children through the experience.
The GCHS began hosting the Civil War encampment 12 years ago and added the other living history re-enactors 10 years ago. Visitors like the living history component because it is more personalized. “They like to sample beaver tail and taste camp stew,” Museum Curator Meg Davis said.
Events will include:
• The general store will be open selling books, post cards, candy, pioneer toys. Children will get a cord and stop at stations to collect beads which will be made into a key chain or lanyard.
• Free trappers will cook beaver or muskrat over an open fire and visitors are allowed to sample the food. They will also teach how to throw a hatchet.
• Miners will teach how to pan for gold. If you get some, you can take it home.
• Emigrants on the wagon train will invite you to a cup of camp coffee or a sample of camp stew. They will also play with pioneer toys and make butter.
• Cowboys at camp will teach how to rope a steer, sample their camp food, dessert, biscuits and tell stories over a mug of coffee.
• You will see an authentic sheepherder’s wagon and a spinner will spin lambs wool.
• An archaeologist will show how artifacts are dug up, how to make arrow heads and teach to throw an adladl.
• Civil War soldiers will skirmish every hour and sound off with the authentic Civil War cannon. Idaho Civil War Volunteers come from all over the Treasure Valley, Emmett and Idaho Falls.
Bring the family dressed for the time period. Bring your picnic items or purchase food at the encampment.