The Conestoga wagon

The Conestoga wagon was a major mode of transportation for years along the historic Santa Fe Trail. Conestoga originally referred to the Conestoga people, an English name for the Susquehannock people of Pennsylvania. These wagons were large enough to transport loads up to 6 tons and were drawn by horses, mules, or oxen.

Community members and organization leaders met virtually once again on Monday, Nov. 2 to continue efforts for planning festivities around the Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial celebrations.

Numerous communities along the historic trail running from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Franklin, Missouri are hoping to have commemorative events for the trail’s 200 years in operation, and Trinidad is no exception.

With pandemic restrictions pulling the reigns on planning efforts, the group is continuing to push forward to meet and discuss what a Bicentennial commemoration would look like for next September 27 to October 3.

“This is a historic one-time event and celebrates a rich part of our heritage here,” said Trinidad Tourism Director Marty Hackett, who led the meeting. “Even if something happens where we can’t have it next September, we can always have it the following year as a plan B. This could bring a lot of people to this area.”

Seeing it as a way to spur collaboration across Raton Pass, from the beginning Hackett has made it a mission to combine efforts to compliment special events on both sides of the state border. Several individuals, including city staff, from Raton were present at the meeting and offered their help.

Part of the meeting was in regard to an upcoming online auction slated for Nov. 23 through the 27 on 32auctions.com in order to raise funds to pay for the one-time costs associated with having such an event.

“The deadline for donations of auction items is Nov. 14,” said Hackett. “We are thankful of the things we’ve received this far but could use some more.”

Hackett also reminded listeners that the Corazon de Trinidad Creative District still had an active call for artists to submit proposals for developing a unique artistic project in conjunction with the event. The project budget for whoever is chosen is $1500.

Submission criteria for applying can be received and completed proposals submitted to TrinidadCDsubmissions@gmail.com. All proposals must be submitted by November 18.

Applicants will be chosen based on artistic quality, evidence of artist’s ability to complete the commission, general experience, and thematic originality regarding the regional history of the area and the Santa Fe Trail.

The majority of the meeting was spent discussing potential ideas for activities, with several of them somewhat solidified while others are still up in the air until more volunteers and organizations get involved. Of items discussed, some of the more solidified activities include a demonstration from the Buffalo Soldiers, a Traveling Trunk display brought by Bents Fort, music, stick horse and Conestoga wagon races, music and special performances, and free booth space for non-profit organizations.

With plenty of great ideas, Hackett reiterated that anyone in the community who was interested in helping with the event could join in the meetings and be a part of bringing everything together. The next regular planning meeting for the bicentennial event will be Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. and people can contact Hackett at Marty.Hackett@trinidad.co.gov to gain access to the virtual meeting.

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