Santa Fe Trail Association Bicentennial Symposium Update at LJCC BLT

Description: Santa Fe Trail Association Secretary and Finance Officer LaDonna Hutton updated the La Junta business community on plans for the Bicentennial Symposium to be held in September.

Santa Fe Trail Association Bicentennial Symposium Update at LJCC BLT

Secretary and Finance Officer of the Bent's Fort Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association LaDonna Hutton gave an update during the La Junta Chamber of Commerce Business, Lunch and Talk held over Zoom in June.

The meeting was organized and conducted by LJCC Board Member Julie Worley.

Hutton: Yes, Thank you Julie for inviting me to be a part of this. 2021 is an exciting year for all of us for many, many, different reasons but for us, the Santa Fe Trail Lives On! And that's what we always say is The Santa Fe Trail Lives On!

2021 is the year of the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail. The Santa Fe Trail was a trade route, not an immigrant trail. It started in Franklin, Missouri when William Bucknell left for Santa Fe with $300 worth of merchandise, and he returned with $6,000, and as they say, the rest is history.

Not only is 2021 the Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial, but also the 35th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail Association. The Santa Fe Trail Association is a national organization under which 12 Santa Fe Trail chapters operate, ours being of course The Bent's Fort Chapter.

Every other year, on the odd number of years, the association holds a symposium in locations along the trail like in 2019 it was St. Louis; in 2017 it was Independence, Missouri; in 2015, it was Santa Fe, New Mexico, and so forth. So, about five years ago, it actually takes five years to plan one of these symposiums.

About five years ago it was decided that what better place to hold the 200th commemoration of the Santa Fe Trail, then Bent's Old Fort, and the way we all feel is Bent's Old Fort is truly the jewel of the Santa Fe Trail.

But of course, I think all of us are maybe a little bit prejudiced. But it truly is and it's almost in the center of the trail so this was an ideal location for the 2021 symposium.

The theme of the 2021 symposium is "The Santa Fe Trail lives on 200 Years of Commerce and Cultural Connections," it's going to be held September 22nd through the 26th in our area.

On the 22nd, there is a youth symposium, and this is I think a really going to be a really really neat fun day for that day 35 sixth through eighth grade students and their teachers, representing several southeast Colorado schools.

On that Wednesday, the 22nd, there will be the youth symposium, but those slots have already been filled, there's 35 students coming in. They're just going to have the best day on the Santa Fe Trail.

Worley: And can that be any student LaDonna, or just La Junta students or?

Hutton: No, they're students from all over Southeastern Colorado. I think they're from five different schools and schools applied to come, and those were selected last Spring.

Then, starting on the formal symposium actually starts on the 23rd, on Thursday and runs through Sunday.

We're going to have nationally recognized presenters, along with 64 living historians. The formal presentations will be held at Otero College...and all of those presentations will be in the Ed Stafford Theatre on the mornings of Thursday the 23rd and Saturday the 25th, and of course the living historians will be out at Bent's Old Fort for the entire duration of the symposium.

And they're going to have special presentations by the living historians at Bent's Old Fort during the day on Friday, the 24th. In addition to all of this, there will be actual tours, we call them treks to area Santa Fe Trail sites, Thursday, and Saturday afternoon and a full day trek on Friday the 24th.

And of course, probably the most popular activities revolve around food. On Thursday evening at Bent's Old Fort there will be a great meal with Live entertainment by Rex Rideout and Mark Gardner.

And then on Saturday evening, you'll find us all back out at The Fort for a great buffalo prime rib, really period food banquet, followed by a good old fashioned Fandango that will also have live music.

And then Sunday morning, we always had with a nice church service as a send off to all of our trail travelers. We have people coming from all over the nation. We have people that are registered from Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington State, California, all over the nation, are coming to this. And, of course it's open to all of us local people too.

Worley: Right!

Hutton: So we'd love for you to join us and get registered.

It's going to be held at Boggsville, and the pastor will be Gary Prichard so that's going to be a very special sendoff for our Santa Fe Trail travelers. 

Worley: Well thank you very much, LaDonna, we'll all plan to, it sounds like an exciting event, especially the prime rib buffalo dinner so I think it sounds good.

Hutton: If you want more information, we do have our own website, it's 2021sfts.com that's Santa Fe Trail symposium.com

It's just 2021sfts.com.

Worley: Thank you.

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