In celebration of Oregon’s 150th year of statehood, a wagon train will begin traveling this month from Huntington near the state’s border with Idaho to The Dalles in central Oregon, stopping for community celebrations along the way.
The Oregon Statehood Wagon Train will participate in Huntington’s Pioneer Days celebration on Aug. 8 and then stop in Prairie City, John Day, Mitchell, Dayville, Fossil, Condon, Dufur, Antelope, Shaniko, Grass Valley and Moro before reaching The Dalles on Sept. 17. Each community will organize its own celebration with county fairs, museum tours, music and family entertainment. People can register to join the wagon train as a day rider or an outrider with their own horse or wagon at www.HistoricTheDalles.org.
The wagon train will camp for five days at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles, where people can visit with wagon master Ben Kern and his team to learn about pioneer life and Oregon history. The event is built around Historic The Dalles Days, Sept. 18-20, which will include a parade, family entertainment, geocache treasure hunts and other events.
The wagon train will follow the Dalles Military Road, which served pioneers and was heavily used by soldiers on military patrols.
Susan Buce, a board member of the Wasco County Historical Society and the Fort Dalles Museum Commission, said the wagon train is making the trip to call attention to the rich history of the small towns east of the Cascades.
“The Oregon Statehood Wagon Train will give everyone a hands-on opportunity to experience living history, to pet the horses, talk with the wagon master, climb on the wagons, to smell the dust and horse sweat, and have an experience they’ll never forget. I want every Oregon child to be able to say in 50 years, ‘I remember the day the wagon train came to town.’”