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Blacksmith Paul Bergen chisels away metal to create an arrowhead as part of a demonstration at Fort Union in this file photo.

Take a trip through time and learn some local history with a visit to Fort Union for their annual Living History Weekend.

The yearly event gives visitors a glimpse inside the life of those who lived and worked at the former fur-trading post. Fort Union has been an important part of history for the area for 200 years, and Living History Weekend is and opportunity for people to come out to the Fort and essentially see it looking more so like it would have in the 1800s when it was active, said Park Ranger Lisa Sanden.

Every year, local reenactors and volunteers spend the weekend at the Fort reenacting daily life. The weekend will feature blacksmithing, barrel making, carpentry and more. Visitors can explore the fort, chat with the reenactors and learn more about the skills, trades and activities that would have been going on at the fort during the 1800s.

“Essentially they’re going to hear, see and smell the historic site,” Sanden explained to the Williston Herald. “They’re going to hear people pounding nails, see them creating and making things, smell the fire from the forges and just see what the fort looked like historically.”

Living History Weekend takes place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fort, and coincides with Fort Union’s Last Bell Tours, taking place Sep. 4. Beginning at 8 p.m., visitors are taken on guided candle-lit tours throughout the fort, taking part in short vignettes exploring different parts of the area’s history. Sanden said this year’s tour features American business magnate John Jacob Astor.

“It’s going to be a really interesting tour; following a black powder keg from being purchased, to coming up river to Fort Union and then being traded,” Sanden said. “We’re going to find out how those trades he was making for a single keg of black powder made him as rich as he was.”

The tours will begin every 15 minutes and last around 45 minutes. The tours are completely outdoors, so Sandem recommends visitors dress appropriately for the weather. Sanden noted that masks are required for everyone, regardless of location or vaccination status, inside all National Park Service buildings and crowded outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible. Additional details are available at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

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