Don’t you just want to get outside these days? Plan something unique, historical, interactive and FUN fun this summer?
Festivals feature voyageurs and Ojibwe at rendezvous or historical events with foods, crafts, re-enactors, classes, cultural displays. Visit a tepee, watch a beaver being skinned, paddle a Montreal canoe, bargain with a trader, witness the annual meeting of NWC partners and so much more.
Will any events take place? I wish—but I don’t know. They were planned with great hope this spring, before the coronavirus changed our lives. Check with a venue for current info.
If a date lists 2019, there was no 2020 information available—and it’s in italics.
So we can’t attend in person or are yet distancing? So what—we can still peruse the venue’s website at great length. Live vicariously—celebrate voyageur life online.
2020 summer events
May 23-27, 2019
Cannon River Rendezvous (Stanton, Minnesota)
June 6, 10 am-4 pm
War of 1812 Family Day at Snake River Fur Post (Pine City. Minnesota)
In the War of 1812, Americans vs. British, the North West Company enlisted voyageurs to defend the fur trade. At the festival, learn about the “second war of independence,” craft a militia hat, join in musket drills, march in formation and other activities.
Fee is $8-10 site admission/Minnesota Historical Society members free. For more information, visit http://www.mnhs.org/furpost or call 320-629-6356. The Snake River Fur Post is at 12551 Voyageur Lane, Pine City, Minnesota 55063.
June 13-14, 10 am-5 pm
Anishnawbe Keeshigun at Fort William (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada)
Celebrate indigenous culture and traditions with entertainment, hands-on activities and artisan demonstrations. For more information, visit http://fwhp.ca/106-festivals-events/30-anishnawbe-keeshigun. Fort William Historical Park is at 1350 King Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
June 18-21, 10 am-5 pm
Rendezvous, at Fort Union Trading Post (near Williston, North Dakota)
This 19th century fur trade fair includes 100+ re-enactors demonstrating traditional skills, period arts, crafts and music. It’s near the confluence of the upper Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, a most imposing site. This annual gathering is held every third weekend in June. For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/fous/planyourvisit/rendezvous-information-for-participants.htm.
June 26 every year
National Canoe Day (across Canada)
Canada honors National Canoe Day June 26; The day is celebrated in various locations on or near that date, like at the Canadian Canoe Museum’s Lock n’Paddle (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada).
July 4, 11 am-4 pm
Canada Historic Places Day (Fort St. Joseph, Ontario)
At Fort St. Joseph, an important War of 1812 site, explore the encampment, try voyageur games, see trade muskets being fired and join the brigade for a paddle on Lake Huron in a North canoe. Spend the afternoon touring the archaeological remains of the fort, check out the Visitor Centre and hike or bike through the surrounding woods and wetlands watching for birds. All trails lead to Lake Huron, so choose a warm rock in the sun and imagine the wealth of history that has taken place. Event activities are included in site admission fees. St. Joseph Island is 45 km south of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. For more information,visit https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/on/stjoseph/culture.
July 8-12, 10 am-? pm
Fur Trade Days, at the Museum of the Fur Trade (Chadron, Nebraska)
Fur Trade Days includes a Fur Trade Flag Ceremony (with all countries and companies involved in the North American fur trade), a Saturday morning parade, Buckskinners camp, traders market and buffalo chip throw. The annual event is the second weekend in July. The Museum of the Fur Trade is 60 miles south of the Black Hills, at 6321 Highway 20, Chadron, Nebraska 69337. For more information, visit https://www.furtrade.org/ or call 308-432-3843.
June 17-20, 9 am-4 pm
Faribault Heritage Celebration (Faribault, Minnesota)
The festival is held in Central Park, not far from Faribault’s 1826 and includes a trading post open house at the Alexander Faribault House. La Compagnie re-enactors will show historic goods and a replica North canoe. Also enjoy lumberjack games, a kayak tour, cardboard boat races and carnival in the park. Free. For more info, visit https://www.faribaultheritagedays.com/.
June 23 10am-4pm
Yellow River Echoes, at Forts Folle Avoine (Danbury, Wisconsin)
Reflections of our Past (10am – 1pm) re-enacts the lives of fur traders and Ojibwe during the North West and XY Company’s residence there (1802-1805). Visit both posts and the Ojibwe village, participate in games of the era and observe historical re-enactors preparing food and demonstrating blacksmithing and other primitive skills. Tickets from $10 (adults) to free for children under 5. Forts Folle Avoine is at 8500 County Road U, Danbury, WI 54830 For more information, visit http://www.theforts.org/ or call 715-866-8890.
August 1-2 11 am-5 pm
Days of Yore 2020, at Rosebud Park (Didsbury Alberta)
Edmonton House Brigade and 19th century Canada, represented by re-enactors and Aboriginals, present authentic information, demonstrations, activities (and many eras and areas: Vikings, England, Germany, Canada, Yankees, World War I).
Living history village, with battles all day (sword fights, big cannons, live combat, archery), pipers and fifers, sing-a-longs, storytelling, heritage arts and traditional crafts.
For more information, visit http://www.mountainviewartssociety.ca/daysyore/ or call/text 403-512-9888. From Calgary: drive north on Hwy 2 (QE II Hwy). Turn west on Exit 326 onto Highway 582 (towards Didsbury). Go 4 miles west to Didsbury just off Secondary Hwy 582 (20th Ave).
August 2-4, 2019
White Oak Rendezvous & History Festival (White Oak Society Fur Post, Deer River, Minnesota)
Summer rendezvous with living history interpreters at 1798 North West Company Fur Post. The 18th century focus is on frontier life, historical education, entertainment, food, shopping and workshops. Demonstrations on blacksmithing, medieval weaponry, armor, soldiering, cooking, woodworking. (Plus 15th century English/French encampments.) For more information, visit http://whiteoakhistoricalsociety.org/.
Held every August at White Oak Learning Centre & White Oak Fur Post near Deer River, Minnesota.
August 7-9, 8:30 am-5 pm
Rendezvous Days & Pow Wow, at Grand Portage National Monument (Grand Portage, Minnesota)
Sponsored by the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe), Rendezvous Days & Pow Wow recreates the 1730-1804 fur trade rendezvous. Includes re-enactors demonstrating historic skills and games, living history, tours exhibitions and children’s programs, music, dancing, cultural and craft demonstrations and hands-on workshops. Plus a costumed recreation of the annual North West Company partners’ meeting.
This annual event is held during the second weekend of August. For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/grpo/planyourvisit/aboutrendezvousdaysandpowwow.htm or call 218-475-0123.
August 8-9, 10 am-4 pm
Old Wadena Rendezvous Days (Old Wadena Park, Old Wadena Circle, Staples, Minnesota)
Canoe the Crow River—led by a traditional birch bark canoe, then learn about rope making, native plants, Indian flutes, square dancing, muzzleloaders and local history. Food, music, artisan demonstrations and 7 Chautauqua sessions (including Ray Boessel, Jr, the Bigfork, Minnesota, birch bark canoe builder).
Admission $10 for adults, ages 12 and under free ; family max of $25. For more information or directions, visit www.oldwadenarendezvous.org.
August 15-16, 10am-5pm
Fort Under Siege at Fort William (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada)
Experience the struggle to dominate the North American fur trade with a confrontation between the North West Company (Montreal) and the Hudson’s Bay Company (England). The HBC forces, led by Lord Selkirk, threaten NWC’s Fort William’s gates. Re-enactors and more.
For more information, visit http://fwhp.ca/fort-under-siege. Fort William Historical Park is at 1350 King Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
September 19-20, 2020, Saturday 10 am-9 pm, Sunday noon-4 pm
Festival of the Voyageur at the Snake River Fur Post (Pine City, Minnesota)
Celebrate a 19th-century rendezvous at the Snake River Fur Post, as re-enactors portraying Ojibwe, voyageurs and fur traders prepare for winter trade. Watch as campfires are ignited with flint-and-steel, see the replica Montreal canoe, dance, judge feats of strength and skill as voyageurs vie for the title of best all-around voyageur. Country dance Saturday evening with live fiddle music and lessons. Admission is $12.50 for adults, $8 for ages 5-17, Minnesota Historical Society members receive discount. For more information, visit http://www.mnhs.org/furpost or call 320-629-6356. The Snake River Fur Post is at 12551 Voyageur Lane, Pine City, Minnesota 55063. Annual event is held the third full weekend in September.
September 24, 4-8:30 pm
River Rendezvous (Bloomington, Minnesota)
Re-enactors demonstrate the history and culture of American Indians, French-Canadian fur traders and early settlers in Minnesota 1830-1870 with story-telling and interactive, hands-on demonstration. (Days for school groups are Monday-Friday of that week). Dakota Heritage Society tours of Gideon and Agnes Pond 1840s house and Dakota Mission. For more information, visit https://www.bloomingtonmn.gov/pr/river-rendezvous. River Rendezvous is at Pond-Dakota Mission Park, 401 East 104th Street. Bloomington. Cost is $6 (children under 4 free).
Sept. 28, 2019
Lester River Rendezvous, Lester Park (Duluth, Minnesota)
The 21st Rendezvous took place Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, Voyageur Village with re-enactors and demonstrations depicting 18th century life, with 60 food and craft vendors. Free train shuttle from 10 am-5 pm from 26th Ave. E and London Road to the event location. Free family event. Rain date was Sunday, Sept. 29. Lester Park is at 61st Ave. E and Superior St., Duluth. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/LesterRiverRendezvous/.
October 30–November 1
2020 North American Voyageur Council Fall Gathering at Camp Lakamaga (Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota)
Conference for individuals passionate about the Great Lakes/Canadian fur trade: workshops, speakers, demonstrations and exhibits. More information available in August. To participate, become a member ($10 annually), visit http://www.navoyageur.org/fg.html.
- Reading is the next best thing to being there. Buy Book 1: “Waters Like the Sky” or Book 2: “Treacherous Waters” paperback or ebook.
- Subscribe to this blog—it’s free! Share it.
- Join me on Facebook for updates and quirky discoveries.
- Book me as a speaker for your group.
- Ask your library, gift shop or school to buy copies of “Waters Like the Sky” or “Treacherous Waters”
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