Fort Smith Celebrates Its History

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History lived on in Fort Smith Saturday (April 6) as the community celebrated the region's spirited past.

Community Services Clearinghouse hosted its fifth annual Fort Smith Heritage Festival Saturday. The National Historic Site, Museum of History and Trolley Museum all opened their doors to share the town's story.

"If there's one event to come to in Fort Smith, this is the event to come to," said Cody Faber, park ranger at the National Historic Site.

Guests could visit a petting zoo, take a horse and carriage tour and ride a miniature train.

The Garrison Avenue Living History introduced visitors to popular people from Fort Smith's past. Each person in the group takes on the role of a character and tells people about the character's life in the first person.

"It's an important thing to do because it does tell the history of Fort Smith and in an interesting way," said the group's leader, Floyd Robison.

Visitors said the event gave them an opportunity to get the family together and learn about the history of their community.

"We heard it's going to be a good family thing, and we got a lot of family so we decided to come down and see what it's all about," said Jerry Glynn from Fort Smith who was at the event with his wife and their grandchildren.

"I'm glad the have (the event)," said 11-year-old Meghan Clayton from Bokoshe, OK. "It's really good to bring the family together and have fun."

Through corporate sponsorship, the Clearinghouse raised $20,000 from the event. The organization's assistant director, Bob Curd, said the funds will stock their food pantry, provide financial assistance to those in need and fund the meals for kids program.

"We currently have about 85 or 86 area schools and we send food home with about 2,400 children each weekend.

Heritage Festival was mentioned as one of the reasons Fort Smith was deemed Top True Western Town of 2013 by True West magazine.