The event will take place on October 8th on the lawn and grounds of Texas Southmost College’s Performing Arts Center.
The centuries-old campus is the perfect backdrop for a morning of family-friendly activities, historical reenactments and more unique ways to be captivated by history.
History instructors Dirk Yarker and Rob Ramaker are the principal organizers of the event and couldn’t be more excited to get people young and old enjoying history in a hands-on fashion.
“We’re really excited about bringing the students back onto campus and showing them this event,” Dirk Yarker said. “We’re bringing a lot of people from the surrounding community and groups that people may not know exist.”
Cannons, shields, battle mesh and muskets are all on the table as reenactors from different eras will be on hand to put on an informational, educational show. The event is free to the public and all ages.
One of the stars of the morning will be employees and volunteers from Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park manning and firing a cannon from the days of the Mexican-American War.
“Our goal is to rope in that new audience,’ Daniel Ibarra, Chief of Interpretation at Palo Alto Battlefield NHP said. “Going out and being at an event and seeing someone in period dress and put your hands on period-correct equipment is just a different level of understanding. Down to the smell of the sulfur base. It’s cool to see people take it all in.”
A big focus of Living History Day is the focus on youth, students and a family-friendly atmosphere. Ibarra said the outreach opportunity is special to reach groups that may be underprivileged.
“It’s neat to be able to engage with audiences that maybe don’t have access to these sites,” Ibarra said. “They are part of this community that’s larger than them, but we can hopefully get them thinking that there are opportunities in the public history field or humanities that they can be a part of. That there is a different path than what they normally are exposed to.”
Living History then and now:
The event began in 2017 when Yarker and Ramaker were looking for ways to intersect Hispanic Heritage, local history as well as showcase the historic Fort Brown Campus that students learn at every day.
“It really started as a committee to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month,” TSC History instructor Rob Ramaker said. “We started with a timeline event and the ACE 21st Century Grant got involved and then Palo Alto guys got involved and it just kept growing and evolving.”
The snowball effect is something the professors enjoy and are always looking for more ways to grow and expand the event and who gets involved.
“What we look forward to every year is answering the question of ‘what more can we bring in from the community? What else can we do to engage and interest our students?”
Living History Day will take place on Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. to noon. Parking will be available in the Jacob Brown Auditorium Parking Lot as well as Oliveira Student Services Parking Lot.