When I was a little girl, I went to Sutter's Fort and watched a blacksmith working on his trade. Seeing my apparent delight, he crafted a small Santa Claus sculpture out of a rough black metal and gave it to me. I was enthralled. Nearly 20 years later, not only do I still have that little Santa, but I remember that man and that day in wonderful detail.
The level of interaction with history that Sutter's Fort provides to this day is fantastically engaging, and not just for children. I can't guarantee another experience like mine—free metal Santas are probably not a regular deal—but I'm still certain that Sutter's Fort's special "hands on history" holiday treats will be worth checking out. On Saturday the 14th, the fort will transform itself into Sacramento as it was seen by emigrants in the 1840s. Visitors will have the chance to directly interact with the fort by dipping candles, making cornhusk dolls, and crafting holiday ornaments. Meanwhile, docents in period attire will be focusing their lessons on the holiday activities and traditions of early emigrants. Stay after the sun sets, and you'll be treated to an even rarer experience—docents will lead guests through the fort by candlelight, even taking them into the smaller rooms inside the fort for a more intimate glimpse at life nearly two centuries ago. Fort visitors can watch and hear actors recreate the private moments between husbands and wives, mothers and children, tradesmen and businessmen, and other emigrants and frontiersmen as they live out their small struggles and triumphs by candlelight. At the end of the tour, everyone is treated to pie, coffee or hot chocolate and a souvenir cup. This rare trip into the past might give you a bit more appreciation for the holiday season in the year 2013. For more information, see here.
What: A Simple Emigrant Christmas and Candlelight Tours
When: Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and 6:30– 9 p.m.
Where: Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, 2701 L St., Sacramento