Celebrate a Colonial Christmas

interior of a fort with candlelight glowing

History comes to life at Pricketts Fort State Park in Fairmont, and this holiday season, see how our ancestors celebrated this time of year during the pioneer era. Starting on November 28, Pricketts Fort will be hosting its annual 18th-century Christmas Tour and Candlelight Christmas Tour.

man in red shirt hitting a hot rod with a hammer making sparks fly

All About Pricketts Fort 

Pricketts Fort is a 188-acre West Virginia state park near Prickett’s Creek’s confluence and the Monongahela River. This nationally registered historic site is one of the best collections of living history in the state. The reconstructed 18th-century pioneer fort showcases what life was like on the frontier, from weaving clothes to forging tools. Live, costumed interpreters perfectly portray the period. 

Constructed in 1774, the original Pricketts Fort served as protection for the Prickett family and other early settlers due to the tension between Ohio-based Native Americans and the western Virginia frontier’s settlers. More than 80 families would congregate in the fort when there was an anticipated threat of attack. The early settlers of this area were self-reliant on their skills and trades. You will find more information about Pricketts Fort and our area’s other historic locations with the Marion County History Guide

The refuge fort was reconstructed in 1976 by the Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation and now commemorates our history with a third-person interpretation of life on the 18th-century frontier. Another park feature is the Job Prickett House, constructed in 1859 by the great-grandson of Captain Jacob Prickett. The house contains original farmhouse details formerly used by the Prickett family, such as furnishings, tools, and antiques. 

A favorite spot among history buffs and families alike, Pricketts Fort, is an essential stop in any Marion County trip. While visiting this state park, take a tour of the grounds. You can choose to take a guided or self-guided audio tour. Visitors can observe the gun shop, which has weapons and equipment used by militiamen and one of the only public demonstrations of 18th-century firearm manufacturing in the state. Pricketts Fort State Park also offers events and educational programming. Other onsite facilities include a visitor center, a research library, a gift shop, a gallery, and recreational amenities. 

pine wreath on gate at fort

Holiday Events

Before the days of Black Friday shopping and LED lights, there were homemade wreaths, pine boughs, and candles. Experience an afternoon of 18th-century history and joyful holiday spirit at the Pricketts Fort’s Christmas Tour. The fascinating tour includes period costumes, scenery, and decor. The event runs November 29-30 and December 1-4. The weekend hours are 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., and the weekday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Then, enjoy an evening by candlelight at Pricketts Fort State Park for the annual Pricketts Fort Candlelight Christmas Tour. Let the spirit of the season sink in during this mesmerizing evening event. Reserve your ticket for the candlelight tour on November 28 or December 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The guides will lead you through many aspects of a Colonial Christmas celebration with live period music in the Visitor Center. You can find more information about these and other holiday events on our calendar

What’s your favorite holiday tradition? 


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