The first transcontinental roadway in America is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year! The Yellowstone Trail, a designated roadway going from Plymouth Rock, Mass., to Peugeot Sound, Wash., was a no-cost idea to help travelers of the newest mode of transportation – the automobile. Large rocks were painted yellow to mark the way for vehicles to follow, and it wasn’t so much a road that was built, but rather a designated route to follow in an effort to cut down on the cost to towns and counties.
Starke County holds the Yellowstone Trail as a central part of its history in the town of Hamlet, and the Yellowstone Trail Festival was started three years ago to help keep the historical trail a part of the town’s living history.
Festival President Audrey Wood says the most important aspect of the festival is the embodiment of history, and the festival makes an effort to not only preserve history, but to remind visitors of the importance of the trail.
“I think that if we don’t preserve our history, we lose it – we don’t know where we’ve come from or what our roots are,” said Wood. “That trail went right through the town of Hamlet. It linked both sides of the country to go mostly to the Yellowstone Park, but people had a safe road to be able to go on, and that history went right to our town, and I think the history itself is what needs to be preserved.”
Attractions at the festival include entertainment, vendors, the Miss Yellowstone Trail Fest contest, a parade, and various contests, as well as the Hamlet Rendezvous – a living reenactment of the 1830s. Festival officials are looking to expand their audience and offer more entertainment events.
One brand new attraction being brought to the festival this year is the Great American Family Circus. One of only a dozen family-owned circuses left traveling the country, they offer not only horses and Tiny the African elephant, but 90 minutes of action-packed family entertainment including clowns, acrobats, aerial lire, contortionists, magicians, and all other kinds of entertainment. Tickets can be purchased online at www.greatamericanfamilycircus.com or by phone at (877) 461-1564.
The festival will be held from Friday, Aug. 17 to Sunday, Aug. 19.