Fort visitors will have the opportunity to step back in time to the 1840s and learn about some of the communities and cultures in Mexican California. The Swiss John Sutter came to Alta California and joined an already thriving rancho society. He received a vast Mexican land grant in an area with established trade networks and a diverse Native population. Sutter influenced the cultural diversity at the Fort and California. He tapped into the Native population as a source of labor, brought Hawaiians to California, and encouraged immigrants from the United States to make California their new home. The discovery of gold had an even greater impact on the culture in California when tens of thousands of people came from all over the world.
On this special Hands on History day, representatives from the Hawaiian community will be giving presentations about California’s earliest Hawaiians and their role in the history and culture of the Sacramento Valley and early California. In addition, there will be various presentations happening that day, including by the Aztlan Ballet de Folklorico dance troupe, rancho culture demonstrations as well as French and English fur trappers demonstrating how traps work. Interactive and fun hands-on craft making will be available for kids of all ages who are interested in creating special keepsakes to take home. And, of course, demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action will take place including the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon.