Fort Abraham Lincoln offers a taste of Christmas past
Story by Sarah Walker
If you’ve ever longed for the good old days, take a step back in time by visiting Fort Abraham Lincoln, near Mandan, where it’s 1875 all year long.
The Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation has made it its mission to promote and manage the reconstruction, development and interpretation of the historical sites of old Fort Abraham Lincoln and the On-a-Slant Indian Village. New and returning visitors can take tours of the sites and of special events throughout the year.
This year, Fort Abraham Lincoln will not be holding its annual Custer Christmas, due to financial reasons. However, anyone interested in an old-fashioned Christmas can also help support the foundation by attending their annual Custer Christmas Feast. This fundraiser is open to the public, and is full of the Christmas spirit.
The Dec. 11 Custer Christmas Feast starts with a social at 5:30 p.m., where guests can mingle and partake in drinks. At 6:30 p.m., the guests are allowed to enter the Great Room of the Commissary at Fort Lincoln. The room is resplendent, decorated for Christmas, and “the meal is splendiferous,” said Tracy Potter, Executive Director of the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation. The good food, interspersed with speeches by staff and local honored guests, is followed by entertainment.
This year, Keith Bear, Mandan-Hidatsa flute player and storyteller, has been secured to perform for the event. Later in the evening, everyone can join in singing Christmas carols.
“It’s always kind of magical,” Potter said. “[A] dark night on the prairie in a reconstructed military building with an excellent meal and quality entertainment.”
The event has brought in many people in the past, anywhere from approximately one hundred individuals to approximately 160 — which makes it a full house. “We’ve actually had 192 (people), but that gets to be too much,” Potter said.
This year, the meal will be held on Sunday, Dec. 11. The cost is $50 per person, or $375 for a table of eight people. Reservations for the event can be made by calling 701-663-4758.