Warsaw prepares for 2012 Bicentennial Celebration

Hancock County is gearing up for Warsaw's Bicentennial Celebration this weekend. The festivities kick off Friday night.

Warsaw has had a big hand in the nation's western expansion and history since it's inception 200 years ago.

The city of Warsaw began during the War of 1812 with the construction of Fort Johnson on the bluff of the Mississippi River just across from the mouth of the Des Moines River.

It was only occupied for a few weeks before pressure from American Indians drove the soldiers out.

Later another military camp, Fort Edwards was built there. That eventually made way for creating Warsaw as a major fur trading post and one of the earliest American settlements in Western Illinois.

"Supply boats coming from St. Louis has to stop in port to get up to Fort Madison and up towards Canada," Event chairman Joe Clarke said.

Warsaw residents like Joe Clarke are proud of that history and will highlight it this weekend during the town's bicentennial celebration.

History will come to life this weekend and some of our nation's colorful history was made in chuck wagons on cattle drives during the late 1800s.

What was life like for someone who was on the chuck wagon?

"Hard, the wranglers were in the saddle 10-12 hours a day but the cook, he was the first one up ion the morning and the last to go to sleep at night. He had to make breakfast then bypass the herd to set up for lunch," Reenactor Bill Luebke said.

"A lot of their meals consisted of beans. They lived on beans and corn bread," Chuck wagon cook reenactor Ernie Paulson said. "That basic nutrition kept them going."

And it's one sight of many more you can enjoy at Warsaw's Bicentennial Celebration.

Click here for a complete schedule of events and musical entertainment for this weekend's Warsaw Bicentennial celebration.