As tourists from across the country make their way along the Lewis and Clark Trail following the actual dates in Lewis and Clark's journals, final preparations for bicentennial events in Sioux City are now underway. For the 15th consecutive year, the Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center will have a key role in commemorating both the expedition's journey through present-day Sioux City as well as the untimely death of Sergeant Charles Floyd.
The death of Sergeant Floyd, the only casualty among the members of the expedition, has made Sioux City a significant destination along the Lewis and Clark Trail. To mark the 200th anniversary of his death, two expanded Sergeant Floyd Burial Reenactment Ceremonies will be held this year on Friday, August 20 at 2 and 6 p.m. The program will include readings from the journal of Captain Clark and reenactors in full-dress uniform. Beverly Hinds, a local Lewis and Clark expert, will give a presentation. The ceremonies will be held on the grounds of the Sergeant Floyd Monument, just off of Business Hwy 75. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets as seating at the Monument is limited.
After members of the Lewis and Clark expedition buried Sergeant Floyd, they set up camp along the banks of the Missouri River. The Sergeant Floyd Memorial Encampment on the grounds of the Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Welcome Center, 1000 Larsen Park Road, will be open on a limited basis on Friday, August 20 with a full slate of activities scheduled for Saturday, August 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The 1804 living-history camp will take visitors back in time with its authentic tents, camp equipment, uniforms and firearms like those used by the Lewis and Clark expedition. Presented by long-time historical reenactors with Omaha-based Discovery Corps, Inc. and now joined by the local Sergeant Floyd Honor Guard, the event includes 1804 reveilles and flag-raising ceremonies, periodic musters and inspections and arms drills.
Families with children 6 and up can become part of the expedition by first visiting "Camp Discovery," anytime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Children will be able to make hats similar to the ones crew members wore. Then parents and children will be able to meet the reenactors who tell about life as part of the expedition.
The speaker's tent will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with topics including Prairie Plants, the Missouri River, Omaha Nation, Otoe-Missouria Nation, Men of the Expedition, and the Military: Then and Now. Concessions will be available during the event and the National Guard will have an exhibit on display.
"We started the tradition of hosting the encampment before most people were interested in the history of the expedition," said Kathy Meisner, Welcome Center Supervisor. "With the 200th anniversary of the expedition this year, we look forward to continuing to provide visitors with a fun yet educational experience."
The encampment and burial reenactment ceremonies are sponsored by the Sioux City Public Museum, Sergeant Floyd Museum and Welcome Center, and Siouxland Lewis & Clark Committee with funding from the National Parks Service. All events are free and open to the public.