2023 special Events

Admission to events are free unless otherwise noted. Donations are always appreciated!

April 9 - Easter Sunrise Service - 7 am

Celebrate Easter with a special service given during sunrise in the Apple River Fort! On the 1830's frontier, many settlers, regardless of denomination, relied on traveling circuit clergy for their religious and spiritual needs. The service at the Fort will be presented by the United Methodist Church in Elizabeth, IL. All faiths are welcome and everyone is encouraged to dress warmly. In case of inclement weather, a change of venue or cancellation is possible. 

April 28th through 30th - US Grant Pilgrimage (Boy Scout Weekend)

The Fort will offer camping for Boy Scout troops attending the 2023 US Grant Pilgrimage in Galena, IL. Registration is required, click here for more information.

May 3 - Summer Hours Begin  

Beginning on Wednesday, May 3rd, we will resume our full summer hours. The site will be open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm on Wednesday through Sunday. 

May 5 - Education Day - 9 am to 2 pm

In partnership with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF), the Fort presents a day filled with programming designed for local fifth and sixth grade classes. In the morning, students will learn about local flora and fauna, as well about Native American culture courtesy of JDCF. In the afternoon, students descend upon the Fort to experience 1830's skills and pastimes. 

The site will still be open to the public, however special programming is only open to students of participating schools. The road to the Fort will also be closed to all vehicle traffic.

May 12 - Black Hawk: From Frontier Terrorist to Advertising Icon, a Presentation by Historian Clifford Krainik - 7 pm

In 1832, Black Hawk was one of the United States' most wanted, and his capture brought a collective sigh of relief for those on the Illinois frontier. So how did America's Most Wanted turn into America's Advertising Darling only decades after the war? Join Clifford Krainik as he explores Black Hawk's media transformation and shares his collection of original Black Hawk memorabilia. 

This event will take place in the Elizabeth Community Building, by the Elizabeth Grand Antique Co.

May 20 - Cast Iron Chef - 10 am to 3 pm

Stoke the fire and get your cast iron out! Join us for a day full of cooking demonstrations, including real 1830's recipes and historical kitchen tools, tips, and techniques. For health and safety, visitors will not be allowed to taste anything we make on site. However, copies of all recipes will be available for free. Allez cuisine!

June 10 - To Have & To Hold - 11 am to 2 pm

You are cordially invited to attend the wedding of Thomas Jefferson Clark and Jane Josephine Murdock—a real couple who fell in loved and married in the original Fort at the end of the war. See a full frontier wedding ceremony, complete with dancing, games, and all sorts of romantic revelry!

June 24-25 - 191st Anniversary of the Battle of the Apple River Fort - 10 am to 4 pm daily

Commemorate the 191st anniversary of the Battle of the Apple River Fort. Living history interpreters will bring the Fort to life all weekend. Learn about the daily lives of the Fort inhabitants, including hearth cooking, musket firing demonstrations, and more.

July 4 - Fourth at the Fort - Noon to 2 pm    CANCELLED

Looking for something to do before the fireworks begin? Why not celebrate the 4th the 1830's way? Pack a picnic lunch (or get takeout from your favorite Elizabeth, IL restaurant), sit back, and enjoy the show! Listen to a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence, enlist in the Fort's militia (you might win a signing bonus!), cool off with a water race, and more!

October 14 - Fright at the Fort - 3 pm to 7 pm

Come to the Fort for an evening of spooky fun! Want to know how to keep a witch out of your house or how to cure a case of cholera? Sit in on a frontier funeral and learn the 19th century origins of many of our modern mourning customs. Meet the ghost of John Gray and hear from the ghost himself the story of his life—and death—during the Black Hawk War. Visitors of all ages can take part in our haunted history scavenger hunt and enjoy a historical selection of scary stories around the fire.

November 1 - Winter Hours Begin

Beginning on Wednesday, November 1st, the site will begin its reduced winter hours. The site will be open to the public from 9 am to 4 pm on Thursday through Saturday.

December 2 - Christmas at the Fort - 11 am to 3 pm

Celebrate Christmas—the 1830's way! Visit the Apple River Fort and take part in historical Christmas celebrations. Experience a typical frontier German Christmas, complete with a decorated fir tree. Meet Mrs. Juliette Kinzie, wife of Ho-Chunk Indian Agent John Kinzie of Portage, WI. Play with historical toys and hear how Christmas is the "Day the World Turned Upside-Down." Visit the trading post to barter for the best goods on this side of the Mississippi. Don't forget to check out the Fort's gift shop, where you'll find unique items for everyone on your shopping list.