- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Officials are beginning to plan a bicentennial celebration for Fort Pierre in September 2017.

Mayor Gloria Hanson has already begun talking to the Stanley County School District and other organizations so they know to leave their calendars free on Sept. 22-24, 2017, for the city’s bicentennial celebration. A committee of volunteers has formed and subcommittees likely will be created to handle each of the major events.

Hanson told the Capital Journal (https://bit.ly/1PCMjNX ) that the event will celebrate all of the city’s rich history, predating when fur traders set up a post in 1817 near the point where the Bad River joins the Missouri River. The site of Fort Pierre was occupied far earlier by various Native American tribes.

Fort Pierre was later a destination for riverboat traffic, a departure point for ox and mule trains headed to mining camps, a center for cowboys and homesteaders, and a crossing point for trains.

Some of the proposed ideas for the bicentennial event include a non-motorized parade, a 5k run, an art festival and a community dinner. The event will coincide with the Dakota Western Heritage Festival in 2017, another area event.

“There are so many things that they do that fit right into our celebration, including the wagon train,” Hanson said. “One of the reasons we want a September date is if you do it in summertime, you can’t do wagon trains because it’s too hard on the animals.”

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