Jerry Eckrom has vivid memories of his first Fort Nisqually Candlelight Tour.
“I portrayed a sailor from a Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship and worked up a Liverpool accent by listening to old Beatle movies,” said the Tacoma resident. Eckrom has been the part of every candlelight tour at the Fort in Point Defiance since the first in 1986.
This year’s event will take place the evenings of Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5. Advance tickets purchase is required online at Brown Paper Tickets candlelighttour.bpt.me or at Fort Nisqually. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for youth ages 4-12. Tours are approximately an hour in length and begin every 15 minutes. A shuttle bus transports visitors to Fort Nisqually from the Zoo parking lot for the walking tour.
“From the beginning, the tour seemed to work a spell on people,” said Eckrom. He recalled one of the first years when “the bus driver was so struck by the excitement of people coming back from the tour he had to come and see it for himself.”
Campfires and candlelight provide illumination for the walking tour of the Fort, where re-enactors bring to life the laborers, servants, gentlemen and ladies of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Visitors can eavesdrop on conversations about territorial events, hear discussion of the labors of the day, and be entertained with song, dance, and games.
“These people from the past won’t be aware of 21st century visitors,” said Chris Erlich, event coordinator. “For them, it is 1859, and we don’t exist. “
Through the years, Eckrom has witnessed many moments that have stuck with him. He recalled one teenage girl excitedly describing the dresses “practically stitch by stitch” the ladies wore in the parlor.
“I’m just glad to still be here after all these years,” said Eckrom. “It's always great fun to see what new scenarios or new characters this year's tour will bring. I’m looking forward to the next surprise.”
For questions about accessibility requirements or for more information, call (253)591-5339 or go online to http://www.fortnisqually.org.