HARTFORD — The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site will celebrate the start of the explorers’ famous journey with three days of special events, including educational activities for children and a free festival for people of all ages.
More than 800 fourth-graders will participate in the site’s annual Education Day on Friday, May 13. They’ll learn firsthand about the Lewis and Clark Expedition by re-enacting the troops’ activities.
They’ll fold a flag, start a fire with flint and steel, make rope and try their hand at pottery. The students also get to learn about one of the expedition’s boats, visit a woodworker and leatherworker, learn to march and drill military-style and make a bead necklace or candle to take home.
On Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15, the site will hold its 14th annual Point of Departure celebration marking the expedition’s official start.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days, historic interpreters at the reconstructed Camp River Dubois will portray members of the expedition, soldiers in the War of 1812 and the British First Regiment of Foote.
Artisans will show how people of the period made candles, furniture, iron tools, guns, cloth and more. They’ll also demonstrate medical tools and techniques of the era and give tours of a white pirogue boat like the one used by Lewis and Clark.
The celebration includes a display of rocks and minerals and an exhibition of Lewis and Clark artifacts by Jim Duncan and Ken Porter.
William Clark and his men arrived at what would become Camp River Dubois on Dec. 12, 1803. In the spring the camp became a beehive of activities as final preparations were made for the trip west. The Corps of Discovery left camp and formally began the expedition on a rainy Monday afternoon, May 14, 1804.
Lewis’ field notes read “The mouth of the River Dubois is to be considered as the point of departure.”
For more information, visit campdubois.com.