Prairie Villa Rendezvous Festival
Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin - Great River Road
A rendezvous camper playing his hand-carved flute
The Prairie Rendezvous is an annual fair and festival that steps back in time to life in a Mississippi River village and encampment. (Generally held the second week in June) A special campground is constructed on St. Feroile Island near the the historic Villa Louis settlement.
Old fashioned tents and teepees are constructed and participants in the re-enactment dress and re-create how it was living in such camps in the 1840s. As stated in the fair guide by the Big River Long Rifles organization, the gathering portrays " a period of time . . . of camping in a primitive lodge with no electricity, no tvs, no running water, no indoor plumbing.
The Rendezvous Camp is sprinkled with vendors offering food and goods for sale, as well as demonstrations of traditional crafts such as blacksmithing, pottery making, weaving, cooking over an open fire, knife making, longbow making, and entertainment such as games, fiddle playing, playing wooden flutes, and story telling. In addition, contests (primitive bow shoot, black powder shoot, cooking contest, etc.) are held each day
The event is actually two fairs in one for surrounding the Rendezvous Camp is a gigantic Flea Market and Food Festival as well a music stage. Together the two fairs occupy over 8 square blocks of territory (not including parking). For fair goers wishing to camp or tent outside of the Rendezvous Camp, there is a "modern camping" area available adjacent to the fair grounds (although the term "modern" does not imply much in terms of the facilities available !). We found parking quite adequate.
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The Rendezvous Camp
< < < A blacksmith hard at work at his craft.
A rendezvous camper challenges a young visitor to a traditional pioneer tug-of-war game. > > >
< < < An "Indian" and his young buck skinner assistant offer a number of hand-crafted wares to Rendezvous visitors and shoppers.