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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fort Griffin Celebrates Memorial Day and Renovated Campgrounds

By Eric Abercrombie, Fort Griffin staff

Fort Griffin State Historic Site kicked off summer with its first Annual Memorial Day Weekend Celebration, honoring U.S. military and celebrating the grand re-opening of Fort Griffin’s newly renovated campgrounds. As part of this celebration, all military and their families enjoyed free entrance to the site through the Blue Star Museums program, which continues through Labor Day (Sept. 5). A number of fun, family-friendly activities were also held throughout the weekend.

On Friday, the festivities kicked off with the start of a weekend-long catfish tournament. In the afternoon, visitors enjoyed a longhorn presentation and guided fort tour as well as a campfire tales program later that evening. Of course, because of the unseasonably hot, dry weather, the campfire tales ended up being just tales with no campfire. During the program, we shared stories of outlaws and heroes, cowboys and Indians, and other wild tales of Fort Griffin in the late 1800s. To top it off, we had two members of the Texas Gunslingers in attendance who volunteered to illustrate a Wild West shootout!

On Saturday, the day started with a guided nature hike along Mill Creek Trail, during which we encountered a 3-foot-long rattlesnake along the trail. This encounter was a great lesson in the need to keep a sharp eye out when hiking in the woods. After the hike, we played water balloon toss with the kids and adults in an attempt to help our visitors cool off in the triple-digit heat.

That afternoon we hosted a horseshoe tournament followed by the Stars and Skies of Texas Star Gazing Party. Kurt Oliver from Woodson and astronomers from Fort Worth were there to teach and share their equipment with all of our attendees. There were 40-50 people in attendance, and everyone had a great time looking through the telescopes and twirling their glow necklaces!

The weekend finished off with a final catfish judging Sunday morning and a kickball game that afternoon. We received great feedback from our visitors and look forward to putting on more events in the future.

Fort Griffin State Historic Site is located 15 miles north of Albany on U.S. Hwy 283, in the Texas Forts Trail Region.

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