Corps of Discovery Reenactment on N. Oregon Coast in August
(Seaside, Oregon) – Take a serious time traveling trip on your mid August jaunt to the north Oregon coast with the reenactment of Lewis & Clark's time in Seaside, happening August 15 to 17. It's called the Saltmakers Return, and it demonstrates how some members of the Corps of Discovery boiled water for salt on a Seaside beach a little over 200 years ago.
On these dates, head to Avenue U (at the southern end of town) and you’ll find signs declaring “You Are Now Entering 1806.”
They aren’t kidding. The men are in period costume, set with the task of boiling sea water for salt. Diving deeply into their roles, they don’t even talk like the modern populace, instead speaking in period dialect and completely unaware of any cultural or technological reference beyond the year 1806.
Visitors are encouraged to ask questions, but demonstrators won't "understand" modern words, slang or references to modern conveniences. Officials advise: "The best way to start a conversation with a Salt Maker is to ask, 'How are you today?' 'Where are you from?' and 'What is your name?' "
During the Corps of Discovery’s stay in NW Oregon in the winter of 1805-06, some were dispatched to what would eventually become Seaside. There, they obtained salt the old fashioned, frontier way, boiling it around the clock for 48 hours.
There is a replica of the rock construction they used to boil the water sitting a few blocks down from Avenue U. This is most likely the actual site, so determined during the Lewis & Clark Centennial 100 years ago, through discussions with local tribal members still living who remembered the group.
One notoriously humorous aspect of the biannual Salt Makers event is that demonstrators often try to trade goods for beach goers’ dogs so they can eat it. The Corps of Discovery wandered into the culinary territory of canines several times throughout their journey.
The event is put on by several agencies in Seaside and the north Oregon coast, including Fort Clatsop. (503) 861-2471. www.nps.gov
More about Seaside below, and at the Seaside, Oregon Virtual Tour, Map.
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