PROMO 660 x 440 History - Bents Old Fort - NPS

Celebrate American Independence at Bent’s Fort 

Bent's Old Fort. Courtesy NPS.

The public is invited to join the inhabitants of Bent’s Old Fort Tuesday, July 4 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm to celebrate American Independence during the 2023 Old-Fashioned 4th Celebration. 

The 4th of July was one of the few holidays celebrated across the country in the 1840s. The victory over the British in the War for Independence was still only a few generations in the past, and the War of 1812, which some Americans considered “a second battle for Independence” was but a few decades earlier. 

The holiday will be commemorated at the fort in “1840s-style” with orations, games, and a historic weapons demonstration. Some of the cross-cultural nature of the fort will be shown with a piñata break. A replica flag that has flown over the fort will also be given away through a drawing. 

We recommend visitors to come early to avoid a long line when paying entrance fees. Please be prepared for the weather with comfortable shoes, protection from the sun, and plenty of water. 

The event is weather dependent and will be canceled in the event of thunderstorms. 

Schedule of Events:

  • 1:00 pm Reading of the Declaration of Independence 
  • 1:15 pm Tolling of the Bell to Ring In each State in the Union 
  • 1:30 pm Historic Weapons Program 
  • 2:15 pm Tug of War – a popular pastime of 4th of July celebrations in the East. Audience volunteers will have the chance to take on Bent, St. Vrain, & Co. Employees. 
  • 2:30 pm Water Bucket Relay – another popular pastime of Independence Day celebrations in the East. Kids from the audience will have the chance to compete against Bent, St. Vrain, & Co. Employees. 
  • 2:45 pm Piñata Break – kids can try to break the jug to get some candy – Fort Plaza. 
  • 3:00 pm Flag Give-away – enter a drawing for a 27-star flag that has flown over the fort – register when you enter the fort - fort plaza. 
  • 4:00 pm Fort and Parking Lot Closed.      

The park’s fee of $10 per person aged 16 and up will apply. Kids 15 and under are free. All National Park Passes are honored. Fees will be collected at the fort entrance. 

As always, visitors should be prepared for the weather. Water, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. 

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is located on Colorado Highway 194, eight miles east of La Junta or 15 miles west of Las Animas.

For more information, visit the park’s website at and click on “Special Events” or call the park at (719) 383-5010