Monday, November 26, 2007

Fort Sisseton Frontier Christmas

Fort Sisseton State Historical Park in the northeast corner of South Dakota hosts two very photogenic festivals each year. The Historical Festival in early June is one of my favorites. Also in that category is the Frontier Christmas, held in early December.
The fort itself is one of the best preserved and restored military outposts on the American plains and is a National Historic Landmark. It is 10 miles southwest of Lake City off U.S. Highway 10 on County Road 5.
During the Frontier Christmas, reenactors create a glimpse of the Christmas celebrations held at the fort in it's active years in the late 1800s. Authentically-dressed cavalry and infantry soldiers, mountain men, women in antique frilled dresses, and of course a frontier version of Santa, are all willing to pose for photos.
Not every year produces snow for the Frontier Christmas, but when it does you can expect actual "one-horse open sleighs" giving rides around the parade grounds (below). If there is not sufficient snow, buggies and wagons take the place of the sleighs.

Period authentic decorations add to the atmosphere (below) as does a Christmas tree lit with real candles.

When shooting outdoors gets too chilly, step inside the blacksmith shop (below) to watch the work going on by the roaring fire. If the family is along, the kids will enjoy making ornaments including bread dough beauties that are baked to a crisp in a wood-burning oven.

For more information on the Frontier Christmas, and Fort Sisseton in general, go to

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