COLUMBUS – To commemorate the 1916 raid by Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa on Columbus, N.M., Pancho Villa State Park will have its annual Camp Furlong Day event Saturday to inform guests of the history of the attack on the border town.
While the annual event is held in conjunction with the Cabalgata celebration of unity between the two countries, Camp Furlong Day is scheduled to give visitors the history of the raid and to bring guests back to 1916 by means of artifacts and accounts at the Exhibition Hall, 400 N.M. Highway 9.
The Cabalgata Binacional has been celebrated for almost 20 years and has become a tradition, with riders on horseback from the deep regions of Mexico crossing the border near Columbus and joining with American riders in a show of goodwill and friendship between two nations. The two groups will ride into Columbus at 11 a.m. Saturday for the Fiesta de Amistad.
Starting at 1 p.m. Saturday, Pancho Villa State Park will have lectures and historical lessons from several historians and will allow visitors to tour the museum for the 14th anniversary of Camp Furlong Day.
“The function of the park is to provide the public with education about what happened here,” Park Manager John Read said. “Our guest speakers will talk about different incidents that occurred here during the raid.”
Guest speakers for the Camp Furlong Day commemoration include Robert Bouilly, Ric Lambart and Florian Waitl, all of whom will be giving historic insights as to the before, during and after time frames of the raid.
With the centennial of the raid passing in 2016, the events were much larger, even including grandchildren of Pancho Villa and General John “Black Jack” Pershing, who led the U.S. punitive expedition into Mexico after Villa’s raid.
Saturday’s celebration has scheduled the annual festival happenings in the Exhibition Hall, as well as lectures in the multipurpose room after the Cabalgata riders enters town. The times are set so as to allow visitors to the historic border town the opportunity to view both events.
Guest speakers will begin at 1 p.m. and continue until 4 p.m. while delivering presentations on the history of the events of the raid, as well as the implications following. The event is free to those who wish to attend.
“Surprisingly, there are a large number of history buffs around town, and it’s nice because the happenings give people an opportunity to go into town and enjoy the food vendors, the dancing and the music,” Read said.
Pancho Villa State Park and parts of Columbus were once part of Camp Furlong, which was used as a base for Pershing’s expedition after the March 9, 1916, raid on Columbus. During the raid, Villa’s forces sustained heavy losses and were pushed back into Mexico by the 13th Cavalry regiment stationed at the camp. For many years, the village of Columbus has recognized the memory of the raid and the lives of the soldiers lost in the battle.
For information, call Pancho Villa State Park, 575-531-2711.