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Bent’s Fort Celebrates Hispanic Heritage
Saturday, September 18 2010
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When Captain Philip St. George Cooke visited Bent's Old Fort in July 1845 he wrote, "...The majority of the hands at the fort are Mexicans; and Spanish the prevailing language..." On Saturday, September 18, the National Park Service will relive this history with the site's "Hispanic Heritage Celebration."

The event, featuring special talks, ongoing demonstrations, art, music, and dance, will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Programs will include aparejo (pack saddle) packing, santos carving, toy making, adobe work, and two piñata breaks.

Virginia Vigil and Ben Guerrero from Pueblo will present Hispanic Folk Music and Dance programs at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the fort plaza. The Western art of professional artist and Colorado native Joe Velazquez will be on display in an upstairs room of the fort through the day.

Dr. David Sandoval, history professor from Colorado State University-Pueblo will give a talk on "Mexican Merchants on the Santa Fe Trail" at 1:30 in the fort's wagon shed. This will be followed at 4 p.m. by a program on "New Mexican Movement into Southeast Colorado" presented by Richard Carillo, archeologist from Cuartelejo Preservation Associates.

The park will close at 5 p.m. and reopen at 6:30 p.m. for an old time fandango beginning at 7 p.m. Music and dance instruction will be provided by Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo and the Southwest Musicians. Dr. Trujillo was awarded the 1996 Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, acknowledging his work as a folk violinist, guitarist, and vocalist. In 2004, he was awarded the Hilos Culturales Distinguished Traditional Folk Artist Premio for his lifetime contributions to the Hispanic traditions of Southern Colorado and New Mexico. His most popular CDs are: Southwest Musicians presenting the traditional music of the Hispanic Southwest, and A Musical Banquet: From Santa Fe to Denver, a new release with EJ Rodriguez.

Fees to the visit the park will be waived for the entire day, making this event totally free to the public. Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site is located on Colorado Highway 194, eight miles east of La Junta or 13 miles west of Las Animas. For more information, visit the park's website at
www.nps.gov/beol or call (719) 383-5010.
Location : Bent's Old Fort / La Junta, Colorado
Contact : Ranger Greg Holt (719) --383-5023
Fees to visit the park will be waived for the entire day.