Grand Portage - Rendezvous

September 03, 2019

by Steve

On the second weekend in August, Grand Portage National Monument hosts a Rendezvous in which around 350 fur trade re-enactors come to Grand Portage and live as if they are back in the 18th century fur trade. They act like voyageurs all weekend in their camping, drinking, eating, dressing, drinking, playing, and drinking. Did I mention that there is drinking?

The whole area in the national monument to the east of the historic site gets turned into an encampment, with around 150 tents filling all the areas, including the picnic grounds.

There are games and activities for kids and adults as well as craft demonstrations and hands-on workshops.

Here's a group of re-enactors. Note the guy on the left, sleeping under a canoe in the style of the voyageur.

There's a regale on one of the evenings outside the Great Hall. Here's a large group participating in a dance on the lawn, just like the dances that were held in the Great Hall during the fur-trade days.

Meet "Otter," one of the colorful characters that were around for the weekend.

Even park rangers get into the spirit of things.

A couple more interesting characters. Note the wooden shoes--sabots, not klompen.

While musicians play on the porch, an artist paints one of them.

The rendezvous of the fur-trade days would last about 2 weeks or so. During that time there would have been 1,000 or more people on site. Having seen 350 people on site, I can't imagine where they put all those extra people. I'm sure it was a hopping place for those weeks. Our rendezvous is a good time to visit if you want to experience the historic site in a way that is closer to how it was actually used. But it's not as good a time to learn about the site and the history, as we have so many more visitors than on a typical weekend.

We hope you've enjoyed this 6 part look at how we spent our summer as volunteers at Grand Portage National Monument.  If you liked this, we'd appreciate hearing comments from time to time.

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