This Friday through Sunday, Aug. 16 to 18, the Lakes Country Mountaineers Black Powder Club will be celebrating their 29th annual Black Powder Rendezvous at the Pioneer Village grounds in Perham.
“The rendezvous itself is something that the fur traders used to do once a year, they come up out of the mountain and trade furs for food and supplies,” explained former club president Sherry Marquardt. The club is a nonprofit group that promotes the history of the fur-trade era, 1840 and before. Their annual rendezvous is a way for them to bring that history to the public. The Mountaineers Lakes Country Black Powder Club’s rendezvous is one of the few open to the public.
In North American history, a rendezvous was an opportunity for fur traders, mountain men, Native Americans and fur-trading companies to come together and make deals and trades, creating a kind of temporary town for the duration of the rendezvous. “It was a meeting of all the trappers out in the mountains, and they would meet every year and they would trade and sell their furs to fur-buying companies,” says Black Powder Club board member Jody Marquardt, who has been in the club since 1989. “The year before, they’d determine where they were meeting the next year and then they would meet. It probably went on for two or three weeks, since not everybody could come out there at the same time. If you were a trapper out there in the mountains and you didn’t show up for that, they considered you dead.”
Although the rendezvous starts on Friday, all events are on Saturday and Sunday. Events include axe throwing, primitive shooting, primitive bow, flu-flu arrow shooting, shotgun shooting, kids games and candy cannon, a 1919 root beer and ice cream social and other authentic period recreations. The event is family and child-friendly and visitors are welcome to participate or simply spectate. There will also be “traders” (vendors) setting up businesses there and selling their wares.
There’s also the option for visitors to participate in primitive (pre-1840s) camping with authentically recreated tents and teepees and fire cooking using fire iron and cast iron. If that’s not your style, there’s also modern camping available.
“If you come to a rendezvous you’re seeing history, it’s like a living history museum,” says Jody.
The rendezvous coincides with Perham’s Pioneer Fest, taking place on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Both events are on the Pioneer Village grounds so guests are invited to enjoy them both for a weekend full of fun, engaging history and education.