Living History June 2005

By Diane Haddad Premium


Odds-On Favorite
When Las Vegas turns 100 this spring, you can bet it’ll host a party like no other. Ante up May 10-15, 2005, for the Helldorado Days re-creation of old Las Vegas, complete with a Whiskerino contest for the men. May 15, watch a reenactment of the land auction that gave birth to Sin City — then dig into a 130,000-pound birthday cake. Celebratory events continue throughout May and June; call (702) 229-2005 or see <> for dates and places.


Before Camelot

You’ve heard the stories, now see the relics behind the 35th president’s legendary WWII naval service commanding a PT 109 torpedo boat. Starting May 21, 2005, the John F. Kennedy Library & Museum hosts a JFK in World War II exhibit with artifacts such as JFK’s scrapbook, the PT 109’s logbook and the coconut shell bearing Kennedy’s scratched SOS after the boat was attacked in the South Pacific. Admission costs $10, with discounts for seniors and students; veterans get in free May 21 to July 4. For more information, call (866) 535-1960 or visit <>.


Wild, Wild West

Ever since Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving blazed the first cattle trail, driving 2,000 longhorns from Texas to New Mexico in 1866, cowboy culture has loomed large in the American psyche. But the popular, romantic image of the handsome cowhand crooning to his bovine charges around a campfire doesn’t jibe with reality: Life on the trail was dirty and exhausting work. Getting as many as 3,000 cattle to stay in formation, chasing runaway calves, heading off stampedes and enduring the elements are just some reasons why most cowboys made the trip only once. The cattle-driving era itself was short-lived, ending in the 1880s when train tracks and barbed wire criss-crossed the plains and rendered the expensive, arduous journeys obsolete.

The National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla., lies not far from the legendary Chisolm Trail, which stretched hundreds of miles from Texas to Abilene, Kan. There, cattle boarded trains bound for northern beef processors. Get a taste — literally — of cowboy life May 28-29, 2005, at the museum’s 15th annual Chuck Wagon Gathering and Children’s Cowboy Festival. Sample classic campfire fare such as biscuits, stew, beans and cobbler. Then ride a stagecoach, make a rope and twirl a lasso, attend an old-fashioned medicine show or relax to the sounds of western singer Red Steagall and balladeer Don Edwards. A one-day pass costs $12 for adults; $8.50 for seniors and $5 for children ages 6 to 12. To find out more, call (405) 478-2250 or go to <>.


Culture Club

 This 280-year-old fishing village pays homage to its heritage during the Provincetown Portuguese Festival June 23-26, 2005. Experience early residents’ culture through exhibits, traditional dance, wine tasting, a fishing derby and fado concerts. (Some call this blues-y musical genre “the heart of the Portuguese soul.”) It all leads up to a Sunday mass, procession and the 58th annual Blessing of the Fleet. Admission is free except for some special events. Get details from (508) 487-0086 or <>.


Gaelic Gala
The centuries-old Gaelic tradition of the feis lives on June 2-4, 2005, in the inaugural Halifax Celtic Feis. It features Highland games (think caber toss, stone throw, sheaf toss), dancing, traditional music, food and workshops in genealogy and history. Admission to most events is free; you’ll need tickets for some concerts and art shows. Find out more by calling (902) 444-3000 or visiting <>.


Let’s Go Dutch

Experience Pennsylvania Dutch (as 18th-century German immigrants are commonly called) folklife July 2-10, 2005, at the Kutztown Pennsylvania German Festival. Tour a Mennonite meeting house, browse America’s largest quilt sale, learn about early farming techniques, and watch demonstrations of crafts such as broom making and tole painting. You’ll also enjoy traditional food — waffles, pretzels, smoked cheese — while listening to fiddlers and folk singers. Join the festivities for $10, or $9 for seniors. Children 12 and under get in free. Call toll free (888) 674-6136 or visit <> for information.
From the June 2005 Family Tree Magazine