Cooking on the Oxcart Trails-Jan Smith
Jan Smith's, Cooking on the Oxcart Trails, was a free program offered for ages 10-adult. Maria shared from her journal that she wrote along the trails which ran from Fort Riley, Kansas to Fort Abercrombie on the border of Minnesota and the Dakota Territories. She detailed the difficulties of travel for the oxcarts, wagons, and people. The story she told included frontier recipes for food and remedies which were prepared over campfires or using camp ovens in rudimentary settings. Jan Smith was one of the four finalists in the National Storyteller Contest that was held in Park Rapids among over 150 entries.
This was a very exciting enactment of 1858 history.
The intended outcome of the arts/theater program is to allow patrons the opportunity to experience a variety of theater productions that expose them to different genres of literature, music, and performance. A survey was distributed to receive feedback from those attending the programs.
Surveys were distributed to participants at all programs. 92% strongly agreed that this was an enjoyable experience and 87% strongly agreed that they would attend a similar event. Comments: I did not know what settlers went through and Jan made the stories come alive. The survival element interested me the most. I didn't want it to end because it was so interesting. I was very sentimental as I thought of previous generations settling here.
17 libraries provided space, staff, and additional promotion for the programs and approximately 9 regional newspapers provided marketing through press releases, photos and interviews with artists and performers.