Chisholm Trail Days

Sarah Wilson, coordinator for Chisholm Trail Days, updates the Abilene Rotary Club about the upcoming events Friday and Saturday at Old Abilene Town.

The longhorns are back.

While longhorns won’t be paraded through the streets of Abilene, they will stream through Old Abilene Town on Saturday.

Historic Abilene is planning to continue the celebration of the anniversary of the first longhorn cattle arriving on Sept. 5, 1867.

The third annual Chisholm Trail Days will be held Friday evening and all day Saturday.

After two successful celebrations with the 150th anniversary being last year, Old Abilene Town is bringing the longhorns back for the 151st anniversary.

“We hope to make it an annual event to get Abilene excited,” Sarah Wilson, event coordinator, told the Abilene Rotary Club on Friday. “These are the reasons why you want to stay and live in Abilene, to have events like this in your community.”

Wilson said that the longhorns will parade through the streets of Old Abilene Town four times at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and be loaded onto the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad which will be running the steam locomotive at noon and 2 p.m.

“That’s truly what they used to do here in Abilene and that is why we are doing this event, to celebrate our Cowboy history,” Wilson said. “It’s great to see the longhorns actually get loaded onto the railcar.”

Some of the buildings in Old Abilene Town are opening back up for this event. There will be a opportunity for period style photography, a general store and art by Patsy Little.

The event starts with a band at 7 p.m. on Friday. There will be five bands on Saturday with featured performers Wade Bowen starting at 6 and Michael Martin Murphy closing with an 8 p.m. performance.

“That’s just the music. We have plenty of other stuff going on,” Wilson said.

The American Freedom Riders will give the opening ceremonies. The Silver Buckle Drill Team from McPherson will be performing. Pony rides will also be available, as will a mechanical bull and bounce houses.

“There will be a lot of stuff to do with kid’s activities,” Wilson said. “We’re going to have just so much to do throughout the grounds.”

She said many of the same vendors are returning with six food trucks.

The Alamo Saloon will have the can can dancers going every 15 minutes after the hour starting at 12:30 p.m.

“Our board is trying concentrating on getting people down to Old Abilene Town and reminding them we’re still there,” she said. “A lot of the older generation have great memories of Old Abilene Town and actually having activities down there. Some of the younger generation hasn’t seen a lot of activity down there. We’re trying to ramp up activity.”

Old Abilene Town is also planning an Oktoberfest later this year.

“We want to do some smaller stuff throughout the year to remind you guys that we are down there,” she said.

She said a goal is to maintain and fix up all of the buildings.

Wilson is the daughter of David and Julie Wilson and the granddaughter of Warren and Mary Jean.

“My grandfather was very involved in Old Abilene Town. He donated a lot of his time and a lot of his effort,” she said. “He really wanted to see it get going again.”

She said Warren Wilson wanted to see Old Abilene Town return to what it was like when it started in 1958.

“Our family got involved after that,” she said. “Our family loves Old Abilene Town. We are a sixth generation here.”

Her uncle, Greg Wilson, is president of the board.

Sarah Wilson said her parents moved away to Michigan.

“I did not grow up here,” she said, adding that she moved from Chicago back to Abilene when her parents returned.

“As I got older, my sense of home just became Abilene,” she said.

Admission on Friday is $5 for 15 years of age and older. Admission for Saturday is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 5 to 15 and under 5 are free.

Contact Tim Horan at

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