Jim Sánchez / Conexión San Ángelo

SAN ANGELO – Imagine a piece of land that is comprised of 42 acres and 27 buildings, is then occupied by gunfighters, Concho Cowboys, settlers, Indians, teepees, cannon, etc.

Well, come December, one of the largest Winter Rendezvous holiday events: Christmas at Old Fort Concho will settle in for its three-day popular act for all ages from kids to seniors.

Fort Concho Site Manager, Bob Bluthardt, sat down with Conexión in his office for an interview on the upcoming annual Christmas event, now in its 36th year, that is considered one of the largest holiday events in the state.

“When Christmas at Old Fort Concho began in 1981, it only encompassed Officers Row and it was only for two days. As for attendance-wise it drew an average of 5,000 to 6,000,” said Bluthardt.

As for whose idea it was for Christmas at Old Fort Concho which began in 1982, it was conceived by then staff member, Tilley Chandler, who was in charge of education, events and programs.

Bob stated a number of reasons why Christmas at Old Fort has been so successful. The first one actually has four legs to stand on. One is entertainment; two it has food/beverages; three there is shopping. And four, a living history period is involved.
As for vendors, there will be 51 of which 17 are new time comers. 

Another reason Bluthardt mentioned is that his staff, comprised of 14 members, rolls up their sleeves alongside a 1000 volunteer crew that is behind the scenes, making sure the community and vendors all enjoy the holiday event. The two members who have been right there with Bluthardt for the majority of those years has been Carol Cummings Operations and Management; and Evelyn Lemons. Cummings has done it for 25 years while Lemons enters her 27th year. 

Conexión asked Bluthardt with Christmas at the Fort being a three-day weekend, if more volunteers/ staff personnel were stationed on Saturday than on Friday or Sunday. 

“We actually staff the duty stations all the same, because it’s not a matter of ebb and flow. . .  regardless of whether there are 10 people coming on the grounds or 1,000,” he said. “Obviously on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. is the busiest time.”

Bob also stated that a good time for seniors to come is on opening day at 3 p.m. because kids are still in school.

“It’s the one extravaganza event where almost the entire fort is covered from end to end. These four reach a demographic audience comprised of children, parents, “it has a little bit of something for everybody,” concluded Bluthardt.

Christmas at Old Fort Concho opens its’ three-day run on Friday, December 1 hours are 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, hours are 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. And on Sunday, December 3, hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

FMI on the itinerary schedule visit: http://fortconcho.com/event%20card%202017.pdf

Follow us on Facebook!