The plot of land that is now Pancho Villa State Park was once home to Camp Furlong during the U.S. Army's Punitive Expedition to locate Mexican General Francisco "Pancho" Villa and bring his rag-tag revolutionary army to justice following the March 9, 1916 raid on the town of Columbus.
On Saturday, March 7th, Pancho Villa State Park honored those who served at the camp and the residents of Columbus during its 12th annual Camp Furlong Day. As a show of goodwill between the two countries, Camp Furlong Day marks the anniversary of the raid. You might remember from my last post that the volunteers at the Train Depot Museum told us about the event & certainly peaked our interest in attending. So Brad, Bonnie, Larry & I donned our boots & hats, grabbed our cameras & headed back to the border for Camp Furlong Day.
The day began with the 16th annual Cabalgata Binacional, hosted by the Village of Columbus. Riders from Mexico crossed into the United States at Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico and joined a select group of United States riders, making the three-mile trek from the border to Columbus.
The riders arrived in Columbus about 10am to a large smiling, waving crowd before proceeding to the Columbus Community Center Complex for festivities, food, craft displays, music, dancers and fun. We arrived about 15 minutes before the riders appeared & managed to get a few good shots before they rode off into the sunset. Well, daylight, LOL!
At Pancho Villa State Park, Camp Furlong Day events were held in the Recreation Hall with historical talks and slide shows. We were interested in the one being presented at 11am so decided to stick around before heading to the Community Center for lunch. Richard Dean, president of the Columbus Historical Society, gave a presentation and sideshow titled, "Summer in Columbus in 1916 Through the Eyes of Two Teenagers." The story is based on a diary by Columbus teenager Alfred Wilson and photos taken by his brother Harold Wilson during the summer after Villa's 1916 raid. Very interesting!
Moving along, we arrived in time for the festivities, which included an awesome lunch which we enjoyed while listening to the music & most importantly while watching the dancers. These children danced their 'butts' off! And loved their colorful outfits!!! Bonnie had a good time with 'Pancho Villa' who wouldn't let her escape without a little kiss on the cheek. Brad was watching closely I might add! All in all, an interesting fun-filled day. We are sure enjoying New Mexico this trip! Next post, Gila Cliff Dwellings. So come back soon & have a great day :)