ABILENE, Kan. (KSNT) – Old Abilene Town is honoring its history with “Chisholm Trail Days” Friday and Saturday. The two-day festival will include gunfighters, can-can dancers, and a historic reenactment of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok.
Development Coordinator Michael Hook said the festival takes a look at what it was like long before Abilene was known as the hometown of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“We want to go back to the time before Eisenhower and really get into what we really started as,” Hook said. “I think a lot of the chronology of this town has a lot to thank for the cowboys for that. If cowboys hadn’t come, we wouldn’t be the town we are today.”
Abilene, Kansas was founded in 1857. It quickly became famous for being the end of the Chisholm Trail, which took cattle from Texas to Kansas before getting on trains headed east.
“Basically it’s just been a celebration of what the Chisholm Trail was,” Hook said. “It really kind of developed a lot of these cow towns along the way. We really kind of tell and re-enact the stories of the way it was through living history experience.”
The two-day festival also includes train rides, cowboy poetry and live music each day. Chisholm Trail Days opens at 6:00 p.m. Friday. Check out a full schedule of events below.