2011 Pony Express FestivalDate: Sunday, August 28, 2011 Time: 9:00 am
2889 23rd Rd
Pony Express Riders Ready For Annual Festival August 28
You can still experience the excitement of the Pony Express in northeast Kansas.
Riders are gearing up for a Pony Express re-ride, complete with mochila (mail pouch) exchange as part of the 26th annual Pony Express Festival near Hanover, Kans., Sunday, August 28.
The free event which begins at 9 a.m. with period demonstrators, gets more exciting as the day goes by with a circuit-rider preacher, Dr. Jim Smart, arriving at Hollenberg Station by horse and buggy at 11 a.m. to give the opening services, accompanied by a community choir.
Stage entertainment follows the rest of the day with the Horseshoe Band, Mark “The Bremen Man’ Allerheiligen, and Marilyn Rogers and Co. performing. A noon meal, catered by Ricky’s of Hanover, will be available on site. There will also be a pie and lemonade stand.
The Pony Express re-enactment with mochila exchange will take place at about 3 p.m., followed by a drawing for the festival quilt made by volunteers as a fundraiser for the Friends of Hollenberg Station, who put on the annual Festival. Collector pins will also be available on the grounds all day.
Throughout the day there will be living history demonstrations of such activities as flint knapping (arrowhead making) and hide scraping, basket weaving and candle making, blacksmithing and rope making. You can watch buckets being made from oak staves and butter being churned (with free samples).
Children always enjoy climbing aboard the stagecoach, reminiscent of those that traveled daily along the Oregon Trail, stopping for meals and/or lodging at the Hollenberg Station.
The Hollenberg Ranch, now a Kansas state historic site, was built and operated in 1857 by German immigrant Gerat Hollenberg as a stopping point for travelers on the Oregon and Santa Fe trails. In 1860 and 1861, one hundred and fifty years ago, it also became a Pony Express Station, the only one still standing, unaltered, in its original location in the United States today.
Free tours of the historic station will be available throughout the day.
Facts related to the Hollenberg Pony Express Station
Address: 2889 23rd Rd., Hanover Kansas (4 miles north of U.S. 36 on K-148, 1 mile east on K-243).
Regular hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday (site is closed from Oct. 31 to April 7).
Regular Admission: $3 for adults, $1 for students.
Perhaps the most famous known traveler to visit the Hollenberg Station in its heyday was Mark Twain who wrote about his experience in the book “Roughing It.” It is believed that one of his fellow travelers, who he wrote extensively about and identified as “the Sphynx,” was Sophie Hollenberg, wife of Gerat Hollenberg.
The annual Festival is put on by the Friends of Hollenberg Station with proceeds and donations supporting the site preservation and promotion.
Photo: by Tom Parker, courtesy Friends of Hollenberg Station