After a year off, the Oregon Trail Days in Tenino is back with hopes of uniting the community in its rich history and heritage.
The event, which is hosted by the Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce and the Puget Sound Free Trappers, is scheduled for July 23-25.
“It’s a great way for us to celebrate local history and we really do it for kids and families, so anybody can come to this and it doesn’t cost anything,” said Tyler Whitworth, the event coordinator.
Last year, COVID-19-related shutdowns hampered the event, but Oregon Trail Days coordinators have been hard at work making it possible this year.
“Oregon Trail Days is trying to bring everything back this year and we know that it may look a little bit different because we had to take a year off last year,” Whitworth said. “That was the first year we ever had to do that. But we are going to have our parade, farmers market, vendors, a concert in the park and other things going on in the community.”
The parade will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 24, and will travel along Sussex Avenue and Main Street with check-in happening from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Parkside Elementary School. Judging for entrants begins at 9:30 a.m. and the Tenino Motorcycle Drill Team will perform 15 minutes prior to the parade’s start.
There will be black powder shoots along with a pioneer rendezvous put on by the Puget Sound Free Trappers from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in Tenino City Park.
The group, according to Whitworth, camps out and cooks like pioneers, recreating scenes from long ago to create a living museum of sorts.
“And a few of them, they’ll whittle things out of wood and they’ll make wood furniture and other things that you could make by hand if you were a pioneer,” Whitworth said. “Some of those folks do have things for sale as you walk through their camp. So you can watch from afar as they do their demonstrations, but there also are some vendors there that sell things as well.”
The Tenino Depot Museum will host its Pioneer Village from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
It will feature free activities for families that include stone carving, candle making, blacksmithing, rope-making and wood-working. Whitworth said there will be around 30 different activities where kids can learn what pioneers used to do.
He also said the rest of the museum will be open for public perusal.
“The museum will still be active where people can learn more about the Oregon Trail. It’ll detail one of the Oregon Trail markers … showing the path that the Oregon Trail took,” Whitworth said. “The path went through Tenino, so at the museum you’ll be able to learn a lot more about the Oregon Trail and also Tenino history about the wooden money and everything else.”
The event’s vendors will run the same hours as the Pioneer Village, while the farmers market and arts market will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on Olympia Street.
The Rock and Gem Show will also be back this year, running from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on State Street at Parkside Elementary School.
Whitworth said Oregon Trail Days will showcase all of the things Tenino is known for, but the historical lessons span further than just the Stone City.
“I think it’s a great encapsulation (of history) if you want to learn about not only Tenino, but Washington state history,” Whitworth said. “I think it’s one of the best events in the state.”
The schedule of events is subject to change, but the most up-to-date information can be found online at www.teninoacc.org under the “Oregon Trail Days (OTD)” tab.