Bent’s Fort to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage

Santos Carving at Bent’s Old Fort

The National Park Service at Bent’s Old Fort will join with Otero Junior College to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with a special day of activities on Saturday, October 6. Hispanic Heritage Day at the fort will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be followed by a Mariachi concert and dance at McDivitt Center Gym beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Admission to the fort will be free on that day, allowing visitors to enjoy a host of Hispanic-themed talks, demonstrations and hands-on activities. Kids will get a chance to try their hands (and feet) at mixing adobe, building a miniature carreta in the carpenter shop, painting a retablo, or busting a piñata.

Adults can enjoy talks and demonstrations on santos carving, aparejo packing, the life of a cibolero, and a special talk by Dr. David Sandoval, professor emeritus, Colorado State University-Pueblo on Pedro Sandoval, a Mexican soldier from the Presidio of Santa Fe.

All ages can listen to “Stories of the Southwest” in the fort plaza, see the oxen respond to verbal commands as their driver puts them through their paces, and watch Spanish colonial iron work being hammered out in the blacksmith shop. Park staff will also offer a sneak preview of a current project to produce a Hispanic-focused tour of the fort for posting on the park website.

Each year, since 1998, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

“As a storyteller of our nation’s past, the National Park Service is committed to connecting people with the places and stories of the diverse peoples who have come together to create the heritage of the United States,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“As a place where people of the United States, Mexico and several American Indian nations came together in peace and commerce, Bent’s Old Fort is the perfect place to explore the diverse cultures that make up the American experience,” said Bent’s Old Fort Superintendent Alexa Roberts. “Hispanic Heritage Month gives us a great opportunity to present the full scope of the Bent’s Fort story.”

Entrance fees to the fort will be waived for this event and there is no charge for any of the activities. Admission is charged for the Mariachi concert and dance at Otero Junior College. Tickets for that will be available at the door. A partial schedule of programs is below. For more information, visit the park’s website at or call (719)383-5010.

Schedule of Event for the Day

9:30 Santos Carving and History

10:00 Aparejo Packing

10:30 Oxen Driving

11:00 The Life and Ways of the Cibolero

11:30 Stories of the Southwest

12 noon Piñata Break

12:30 Sneak Preview: Hispanic Tour Video

1:00 Santos Carving and History

1:30 “Pedro Sandoval: Mexican Soldier from the Presidio of Santa Fe”

2:00 Aparejo Packing

2:30 The Life and Ways of the Cibolero

3:00 Stories of the Southwest

3:30 Piñata break

7:00 Mariachi Concert and Dance at OJC

Oxen Driving at the “Fort”

Rick Wallner
Chief of Interpretation
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
phone: (719) 383-5024

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA.

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