The 30th Annual Goshen Heritage Days is a living history festival being held in Godfrey, Illinois, marking the end of the old Goshen Trail across Southern Illinois, September 26th and 27th, 2009. Goshen Heritage Days recalls the era 1700-1840 in Southern Illinois when the Goshen Road was a well-traveled trail West to St Louis. It’s a chance to experience the food, clothing, early tools, and other aspects of the lives of that time’s fur traders, explorers, settlers, and Native Americans.
The French dominated the Mississippi River Valley during the early part of the era until the British and then the Americans took over.
Representing the French, there is scheduled a daily historical demonstration of cannon fire by the French Colonial Artillery of Metro St Louis with a narrative provided focusing on how the cannon operated, as well as the uniforms, flags, and the history of the area. The French focused on the fur trade rather than settlement, reflected by a French voyageur canoe on display near the entrance. Crewed by 10-20 men, it represents the main vehicle used by traders and trappers. In this same vein, there will be a blackpowder competition, tomahawk throwing, roving musicians, a Heritage Days raffle, and children’s activities including a children’s art display.
There are also the demonstrations of traditional crafts in the Artisans Village. Expect to see hide tanning which was a critical skill for the fur traders, blacksmiths working metal, spinning and dyeing, toy making, coopering, broom making, quilt making, flintknapping, soap making, gourd crafts, wood carving, wheat weaving, canoe paddle making, quilting, needle craft, and more, including homegrown produce.
A primitive encampment will also be set up with tents and tipi’s, offering a glimpse of life among the trappers and traders of the era.
An America’s History Museum display will also be offered.
Period music and dance will also be offered for entertainment by the Crystal Dance Troupe of Fairview Heights, the Alton Area Dulcimer Group, and, Sunday, Dance Caledonia will perform, traditional Scottish Highland dances.
Traditional foods are an annual specialty of Goshen Heritage Days. Offering include buffalo burgers, buffalo chili, chicken and dumplings, corn in the husk, Cornish pasties, fish, french onion soup, ham and beans, Indian fry bread, sausage, sauerkraut, pork steaks, turkey legs, caramel apples, homemade ice cream, kettle popcorn, kettle potato chips, pork rinds, biscuits, rhubarb jam, rock candy on a stick, homemade root beer, lemonade, spiced cider and, on Sunday only, biscuits and gravy.
More information is available at http://www.altonheritagedays.org/index.htm.
The Goshen Trail was a link in the trail that stretched between the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains on the present-day Tennessee/Virginia border and St Louis, Missouri. The trail entered southeastern Illinois at Shawneetown and McLeansboro and angled across the state to the Godfrey/Alton area, located north of St Louis where the Mississippi River runs briefly east and west. An 1818 census revealed that many of the travelers had settled along the trail between Shawneetown and Alton and at points in between, like Carlyle.
The event is located in the rear area of the campus of Lewis-Clark Community College which will conduct the first-ever Lewis and Clark Trading Post in conjunction with Goshen Heritage Days. This event is a buy-sell-swap event at the Hatheway parking lot and visitors will fund such offerings as antiques, collectibles, trinkets, crafts, food, even automobiles.
Admission to the Goshen Heritage Days also applies to the Lewis and Clark Trading Post. More information is available at http://www.lc.edu/community-programs–services/lewis–clark-trading-post.aspx.
Admission, $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 5-12, two-day passes $8 for adults, $3 for children. $2 for Children’s area. Free admission for volunteers and for children under 5. Hours are 9am to 5pm daily, rain or shine. A parking shuttle will be available.