Activities and exhibits sure to delight all interests and ages abound this weekend at the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum.
“Everyone’s been wanting to get out to do a big activity, something fun that’s outdoors,” CTOM On-site Director Carrie Reynolds said.
To that end, CTOM officials decided to infuse the museum’s monthly Market Days on the Trail event with rocket fuel, or at least a ton of options.
“We’ve been open a while,” Reynolds said of the recent COVID-19 shutdown. “We did one market days event already as a test run, which went pretty good. Some people were still leery at that point about getting out.”
Reynolds stressed that throughout this weekend’s Market Days on the Trail event safety measures and frequent sanitizing remain the order of the day.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
A donation of $5 per person or $10 per carload is required for entrance into the museum grounds. The donations will go toward construction of a new rest room facility and replacement of one of the teepees recently destroyed in a storm. Dogs must be leashed at all times and no coolers are allowed.
The market offers handcrafted goods from area artisans in addition to a farmer’s market.
“Plus we have food trucks, horse-drawn carriage rides, re-enactments by Heroes of the Old West, kayak rentals and concerts in the Star Pavilion,” Reynolds said. “We have Noah’s Way Exotics with their petting zoo. I was just over there. They have a camel, a zebra, a giant turtle, a kangaroo, deer and goats, all sorts of animals. The world famous Miss Devon and the Outlaw perform at 2 p.m. today. And there will be other performers on our brand-new stage in the air conditioned Star Pavilion.
“We have a custom bit and spur maker and, for the first time, the largest custom boot maker in the Fort Worth Stockyards. On top of that we have so much more including a classic car show put on by the Horseless Carriage Company.”
And, as always, the charms, history and fun of the outdoor museum, which includes Johnson County’s original courthouse, a one-room schoolhouse, stagecoach station, a jail and more. The Big Bear Native American History Museum details the history of native Americans, the Chisholm Trail and the museum’s namesake. The Terry Building, the museum’s newest attraction, is open as well. One side houses a museum dedicated to Texas law enforcement while the other serves as headquarters to Terry’s Texas Rangers. Those same rangers will be on hand too decked in period costume and shooting muskets.
Officials plan to hold Market Days on the Trail the second weekend of the month year round, with the exception of July.
“That’s because we’re having a big old fashioned wild west 4th of July celebration next month,” Reynolds said. That event, more details to come soon, will run July 3-5.
Johnson County Heritage Foundation Chairman David Murdoch — the foundation oversees operation of CTOM — likened a visit to the museum to a step back in time.
“It removes you from the everyday world of now and gives a sense of being back in the pioneer days,” Murdoch said. “It’s always a good time to visit but this weekend especially is going to be filled with family fun and a great kick off to summer.”
From its simple beginnings more than a decade ago with the courthouse and teepees, CTOM has grown exponentially both facility and reputation wise, Reynolds said.
“We’ve had visitors recently from Ukraine, Scotland, London, all over the country and the bucket list of visitors from all over Texas,” Reynolds said.
Johnson County Commissioner Rick Bailey agreed.
“You know, that outdoor museum is just a gem and a calling card for our county,” Bailey said. “Whether you’re interested in research and history on Johnson County and the area or you’re just looking for good old fashioned family fun and entertainment, or just to get out on the lake in a kayak or to walk around and get back to nature there really is something for everyone out there.
Reynolds concluded by reminding that, as always, volunteers are needed for the museum.
For information on the museum call 254-998-0261 or visit jcchisholmtrail.com.