The Community of Chadron welcomes you to an unforgettably unique experience – Fur Trade Days. Chadron, located in the northwest corner of Nebraska, was named for the French fur trader Louis Baptiste Chartran, and offers a weekend filled with history, rendezvous, entertainment, down-home hospitality, great food, and lots of fun! There is something for everyone and a chance to see neighbors and make new friends. It’s a FURociously good time!
Welcome to Fur Trade Days
On behalf of the City of Chadron, we invite you to join us in experiencing the many amenities of our great city, one of which is the annual Fur Trade Days celebration. This is the 40th year for this event, which was recognized by the Nebraska Department of Tourism as 2014 Nebraska Outstanding Event for communities with populations less than 10,000. We are very proud of that honor! In addition, Fur Trade Days was also selected as Northern Panhandle's Best Community Festival two years in a row - 2014 and 2015.
While you are here, please take time to check out our restaurants, shops and stores, as well as the City parks and great sports facilities. Not only does Chadron have a lot to offer, but the entire northwest Nebraska Panhandle abounds in all types of interesting, educational and recreational opportunities. To name a few: Museum of the Fur Trade, Chadron State Park, Fort Robinson State Park, Carhenge of Alliance, Dawes County Historical Museum, Mari Sandoz Center and many, many more! We hope that your visit is memorable, and that you and your family will return.
Paris Fisher, Mayor
Paul Siebert, Featured Performer
Paul Siebert presents a musical living history program of a family’s journey from Russia to Nebraska in the 1870′s. Using original and period music with up to 7 different acoustic instruments, storytelling, personal family history, period costume and extensive knowledge on the subject of Blacksmithing/metallurgy, Paul presents an interactive family centered entertaining program. The presentation is carefully adjusted to suit the specific age group, special interest, time constraints of the listener, and can include the specific event’s local Nebraska history.
Paul is performing four different shows, including, Songs of the Classic and Silver Screen Cowboy" with old cowboy standards like Home on the Range, You Are My Sunshine and Oh Susanna, as well as songs of the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. On Sunday will be an old-time "Camp Meeting and Hymn Sing."
Paul Seibert is sponsored in part through a grant from the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, and by Best Western West Hills Inn of Chadron.
Fur Trade Days Parade
Fur Trade Days 40th Annual Parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 9 and proceeds down Main Street from Tenth to First. Candy will be passed out along the parade route. Get a good seat and enjoy the excitement!
The Chadron Arts Center is sponsoring an Art Exhibit Saturday afternoon during Fur Trade Days. The exhibit will feature works by local artist Donald Ruleaux. Mr. Ruleaux is a retired member of the Chadron State College art faculty and a 2012 recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award for excellence in art education. Ruleaux has gained much praise for his paintings and silverpoint drawings depicting the life of the Oglala Lakota and other characters of the American West. His art has appeared in dozens of exhibitions and public collections in at least 16 states. The work also has been acquired for private collections in 26 states and internationally, including Japan, Scotland and South Africa. Viewing will be Saturday, July 9, from 1 to 4 p.m. This art exhibit is open to the public. For more information call Ardith Morse, 308/207-5449.
Historic Flag Ceremony
Be sure to see the dramatic presentation ceremony of the flags of the many nations involved in America’s fur trade Friday evening, July 8, at 6 p.m.. Local Honor Flight veterans and their sponsors will be presenting the flags. Local celebrity John Barnum will conclude the presentation by singing our National Anthem. The Flag Ceremony will be preceded by kids activities from 4-6 p.m. and a performance by the Mystical Magical Mr. Nowhere, and followed by a special presentation by historical musician Paul Siebert. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy an evening with neighbors and friends at the Courthouse Lawn.
The Bordeaux Creek Fur Trade and Muzzleloading Association’s Rendezvous, located 3.5 miles east and 8 miles south of Chadron, will open Thursday, July 7, for camp setup. The camp is always open to the public, but Saturday, July 9, 1 – 5 p.m., is the best time to catch the major activities. Enjoy muzzleloading shoots, tomahawk and knife throwing contests, archery, and plenty of carousing afterward. Check out the fur, handicrafts, bead work and other period items offered for sale by traders.
Shuttles to Buckskinners' Camp Available
Shuttle vehicles will again be transporting visitors to the primitive camp on Saturday, July 9, starting at 1 p.m. and ending about 4 p.m. (Ending time depends upon visitor traffic.) Shuttles will leave from the north side of the Courthouse on 4th Street. There is no charge for the ride.
It is an excellent opportunity to see Buckskinners in their natural environment without having to be concerned about road conditions. Individuals may also visit the camp via personal vehicles during the weekend, but preferably on Saturday afternoon. The road is a little rough, and caution is urged. (Not recommended for vehicles with low clearance.)
The camp features many different types of lodging as well as trade blankets. Buckskinners are always ready to sell or trade. It's a step back into history.
Trading Stories: A Native American Film Festival
The Chadron Public Library, the Chadron Public Library Foundation, and Friends of the Library, will present a film festival acknowledging the contributions of the Lakota people to the history of Northwest Nebraska and highlighting contemporary Native issues through film. In addition to the films this year, there will be displays and demonstrations by Native American artists and musicians. The five-day festival begins at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 6, on the main floor of the Library, with a ceremony and blessing by Jerome Kills Small of Porcupine, SD. Brochures and a complete schedule are available at the library. The festival is open to the public at no charge.
Musician Michael Murphy
Michael John Murphy has been a musician for more than 30 years and has traveled from coast to coast sharing his songs. A student of R. Carlos Nakai, Michael can take you back to America before Columbus, and return you to the here and now with the soothing sounds of the Native American Flute. Mr. Murphy is sponsored in part by the Nebraska Arts Council and Nebraska Cultural Endowment.
Speeders – Ride the Rail and Tour the Round House
NARCOA is a club for Putt-Putt enthusiasts, also known as Speeders. A speeder is a piece of equipment owned by the railroad to carry people and some tools to the location where they were fixing rail. It has an engine and seating for 4 to 6 people. They have to abide by all of the rail safety rules and are equipped with all of the safety gear to do so. Narcoa offers excursions to its members April through November every year. This year they are adding Chadron Fur Trade Days to their long list of events. They will offer free rides to the public on Saturday July 9th from 11:30 am to 2pm at Main Street in Chadron. They will take you about 3 miles east on the rail to the east yard and back. Experience the rail like the rail workers did in decades past. Riders must sign a release form. For more information, visit their website at Narcoa.org.
5th Annual Historical Cemetery Tour
You know Chadron has a history, but do you know about all of the wonderful characters that made the town what it is today? Attend the tour at Greenwood Cemetery on Saturday, July 9. Meet E.P. Wilson of Wilson Park fame, Clyde Beedle the Strong Man, movie star Freida Romine, Postmaster and murder suspect William Danley, Special Education founder Leta Stetter Hollingworth, and Swedish immigrant Charles A. Berg. All of this year’s characters had some connection to the railroad, however remote it might be. Performances are Saturday, July 9, at Greenwood Cemetery at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the gates and parking attendants will direct you to the parking areas. Tickets are $10 and will cover both tours. Free admission for youth under 15.
Bald Mountain Rounders
The Bald Mountain Rounders are a Bluegrass band offering audiences many pleasant surprises. From the up-tempo contemporary arrangements of bassist Kassy Brooks to the down home humor of Robin Smith playing mandolin, the traditional sounds of country music sung by Jack Honerkamp playing guitar are rounded out by regionally acclaimed folklorist Norm Martin playing the five string banjo. Audiences connect with the tight vocal harmonies of this group who sing their way into the hearts of multi-generational audiences with music from by-gone eras as well as styling’s of contemporary genres. The Bald Mountain Rounders all live in Chadron.
Chadron State Park “Fur Trade Funday”
Enjoy “Fur Trade Funday”, July 10, at beautiful Chadron State Park with two amusing and entertaining events open to both children and adults. The Crooked Arrow Obstacle Course, with its series of trials at the park’s baseball field, and the Kiwanis Fur Trade Regatta, a canoe race around the park’s pond, challenge participants’ navigational and athletic skills both on land and “at sea.” The obstacle course begins at 1 p.m. followed by the regatta at 3 p.m.. Both events are free to enter but vehicles are required to have a Nebraska park entry permit.
Return of the Regatta!
Whether you're a salty dog or just a budding seaman, test your maritime racing skills in the Fur Trade Regatta. The annual event, which is part of “Fur Trade Funday” at Chadron State Park, challenges teams of two to race canoes at the park’s pond. Awards await winners of the convivial race, which is open to canoers of all skill levels ages 12 and up. Open to racers and specta¬tors free of charge. Free paddleboat rides will follow the race. Nebraska Park Entry Permit required.
The Chadron York Rite Bodies will once again host a pancake feed at the Masonic Temple on Saturday and Sunday, July 9-10, from 7 a.m. to noon. What a great way to prepare for a day at the parade and Traders’ Market!
Chamber Buffalo Burger BBQ
Immediately following the parade on Saturday, July 9, the aroma of grilled buffalo burgers and music will fill the air on the courthouse lawn. The burgers are sure to satisfy the heartiest of appetites and sell out fast, so come early. The First Congregational Church Ice Cream Social is just a few steps away.
Ice Cream Social
The First Congregational Church hosts an ice cream social after the parade on Saturday. Come enjoy homemade ice cream and other treats.
The Fur Trade Days Ranch Rodeo will be Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 6 p.m. at the Dawes Co. Fairgrounds. This years events include the Cowboy Relay, Stray Gathering, Wild Cow Milking, Ranch Bronc Riding & Team Branding.
For entries please call 308-430-8461. Entry fees are $500 per team. There will be $1000 added money.
We will feature Mutton Busting this year. Sign ups will be taken Saturday, July 9 from 4:30 - 5 p.m. on the north side of the arena beside the rodeo office trailer. Entries will be limited.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for kids.
For more information please call 308-430-5041
The Rotary Colter Run
In 1811, mountain man John Colter ran 300 miles in about 11 days to get away from Blackfeet Indian pursuers. On Saturday, July 9, to commemorate the feat of this brave man, the Rotary Club will sponsor a 5K and 10K run, and a 2 mile fun walk. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. at Chadron State College Armstrong Gym, with the run beginning at 7:30 a.m.
World Championship Buffalo Chip Throw
The Buffalo Chip Competition will be held at the corner of Fourth and Main at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, with registration beginning at noon. These are real buffalo chips and whether you throw over or underhand, selecting just the right chip is an art all by itself. After all the scores are calculated for each of the categories, first, second, and third places will receive Gold, Silver, and Bronze Chip Plaques to memorialize their accomplishments. Chadron Record photo by Linda Teahon
Museum of the Fur Trade
Visit the Museum of the Fur Trade, 3 miles east of Chadron on Highway 20. A newer exhibit, The Voyageur, highlights the men who transported trade goods, equipment, important passengers and furs to and from market by canoes. A 36-foot birchbark canoe that would have carried a crew of 6 to 14 and would have had a load capacity of 6 tons highlights the exhibit. Open daily 8-5 p.m. during the summer. Admission $5 (17 and under - free). www.furtrade.org.
Chadron Declares Fur Trade Days Week
Supporters of Chadron's Fur Trade Days celebration were in attendance at the regular City Council meeting on June 20 as Vice Mayor Mark Werner proclaimed the week of July 5th through the 10th as Fur Trade Days Week.
(front row: Barb McDaniel, event coordinator; Vice Mayor Mark Werner; Bill Armstrong, director of Museum of the Fur Trade. back row: George Klein, FTD board member, Peyton McCaskill, Kristina Harter, Dawes County Tourism Director; Rossella Tesch, Library director; and Brady McDaniel.)
Photo courtesy of Kerri Remp, The Chadron Record.
Fur Trade Days Named Outstanding Nebraska Event
Chadron Fur Trade Days was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Event by the Nebraska Tourism Board. The award was announced at the Nebraska Tourism Convention in North Platte. We are proud to be recognized for all the hard work we put into 2014 Chadron Fur Trade Days event and we have even more new and exciting things coming for 2015.
Fur Trade Days Repeats Best Community Festival Award
Chadron Fur Trade Days has received the Best Community Festival award based upon votes received at the Chadron Record. This is the second year for the award.