Culture Corner


Upcoming at a Tacoma area culture spot:

Bagpipes, Black Powder and Beards at the 36th annual Brigade Encampment

Saturday, Aug. 11 & Sunday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
Point Defiance Park, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma

2nd DAY Metro Parks Tacoma, Brigade Encampment at Fort Nisqually Photos by Russ Carmack

Step back in time to the early days of the Washington Territory at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum’s annual Brigade Encampment. This event recreates the lively visit of a large group of fur traders, known as a brigade, to the Fort in 1855. This year’s Brigade Encampment will be held from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., Aug. 11 and 12. Admission is $10-$15, or free for children 3 and younger. For more information, visit or call (253) 404-3970.

At 11:30 a.m. each day, the fur trade brigade arrives, led by bagpipers and welcomed by a volley of musket fire. The day unfolds with competitions, Punch and Judy puppet shows, fashion shows and musical performances. Visitors can participate in “Engagé for the Day,” and meet living historians who demonstrate and teach heritage skills such as rope making, weaving, and woodcarving. For each new skill tried, kids collect beads and receive souvenir contracts from the Hudson’s Bay Company.

New this year is a beard contest, presented in partnership with the Grit City Society of Beards.  Anyone with whiskers can enter one of the three categories: trapper, laborer or gentleman. Kids are invited to create beards from craft materials and enter in the competition. Winners will be presented with prizes made by the Fort’s blacksmith. Registration for the contest closes at 3 p.m. on Aug. 11. Judging begins at 3:30 p.m.

On Aug. 12, Fort Nisqually will welcome the Ohana Pacific Foundation for a special performance of music and dance celebrating the many contributions of Hawaiians to the Hudson’s Bay Company and Fort Nisqually. “We know that a group of Hawaiian employees danced for the gathering in 1855,” said event coordinator Allison Campbell. “It is important to honor the contributions of the diverse groups who made up the Fort Nisqually community in the mid- 19th century.”

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