Fourth annual Wild West Fest held in Aiken | Entertainment

Much of this weekend’s activity at 1210 Powell Pond Road is aimed at turning back the calendar about 150 years and resetting the scene to about 1,500 miles to the west.

Six-shooters, hoop skirts and tribal clothing are part of the scenery at Wild West Fest, with a family-friendly mixture of cowboys, Native Americans, gamblers and musicians. The event began its two-day run Saturday morning, and today’s activities are set to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday’s attendance was estimated at 700.

Some of the appeal is in the idea of “a little boy in a cowboy outfit with a cap gun,” in the words of reenactor Joe Long, also known as the curator of education of the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

“For some of us, it’s just nostalgia – how we grew up – and it warms our heart to see it, but I really think, as Americans, it’s also just part of who we are and who we’re meant to be.”

Battle of Aiken opens with educational opportunities

“The shooting gallery is great fun. It seemed very popular with the kids,” said reenactor Eddie Rodgers, referring to a new activity that challenges kids to use a cork gun to dispatch a series of moving targets at close range. Rodgers is in character this weekend as Judge (“Hanging Judge”) Isaac Parker. 

Long was among dozens of costumed characters engaged with the public at the Battle of Aiken site, with gemstone panning, trick roping, hay rides, shootouts, live music, horse rides and other offerings among the possibilities. Today’s options also include a church service at 10 a.m., under the pavilion. 

Admission is $10 for anyone 13 or older and free for anyone 12 or younger. Powell Pond Road (where the event takes place) is about a half-mile south of I-20 Exit 18. 

Some of this weekend’s reenactors are focusing on life from a few decades earlier or later than the days of Wyatt Earp, Geronimo and Sitting Bull, and offering a chance to ponder customs and costumes relating to the American Revolution and World War I.

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