Bissell Buzz 2016/18

We promoted our fundraising event for several weeks and the turnout and participation far exceeded our expectations!  Our Chili Cook-off which was held for the fourth consecutive year brought about double the visitors compared to our previous one, which already was well supported.  The weather was wonderfully cooler, even though there was a frisky wind at first making it difficult for us setting up the tables and getting the tablecloths on.

Our teams cooked their best chilies and put in a lot of effort to decorate their tables to match their theme or brand.  There were lots of cinnamon rolls as well as watermelon for a sweetness to complement the chili.

Cowboy Bob walked around singing while strumming his guitar, entertaining the visitors.  Photographer Jacque Bretton was taking photos down at the photo booth and all the buildings were open for a last visit before we close up for the colder seasons.  Maybe it was the cooler weather, but people didn’t just eat and leave.  They stayed and visited with friends, some not seen for a long long time. We even had visitors from Oklahoma.  They tried to find a place to eat in Phillipsburg, but everyone advised them to get down to the Fort.  We just have to love small town living!

The people came, the people tasted and the people voted.  First-time participants won both categories.  After counting all the votes, the winners of the evening were:

Fan Favorite was a landslide win for  Coomes Trucking (Team G) represented by Jerry Voorhees and Dillon Coomes.  Non-Traditional was won by Vera Marx (Team C) with her South African Lamb Curry.   The door prize went to Cricquet Cole.  Sign Solutions raffled a beautiful pot, also to the benefit of the Fort and this was won by Carol Jones.  Well done to each and every one – you all made this possible.

Then we need to give a hearty thank you to each of our sponsors, who generously donated items and gift vouchers.  You opened your hearts for our cause and this made it possible to give every team something for their participation, not only the winners.  This was also a first.  We will post a full list of sponsors on our Facebook page.

And then a HUGE thank you to Farmers National Bank who pledged to equal the first $1000 of donations.  We are happy to announce that our donations are still coming in, but we surpassed the $1000 mark by far.  The donations as well as the bonus from the bank, will go a long way to have the repairs done to especially the roof of the schoolhouse.

And with this event, we now officially declare Fort Bissell as closed for 2016.  Our season for 2017 will reopen on Memorial Day, but school tours can be arranged to take place before that.  We want to encourage the schools to bring their pupils to come and enjoy learning about history that happened here where they now live.  Regular updates and photos will still be posted on our Facebook page.  We can be contacted on 785-543-6212 or during our closed period preferably by email at

Ruby Wiehman – Curator