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2018 Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous

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Join us at the 48th Annual Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous on June 2-3, 2018 at Fort De Chartres in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. The first weekend in June, Fort de Chartres State Historic Site hosts the largest rendezvous in Illinois or the Midwest with over a thousand participants, hundreds of encampments, and thousands of visitors joining in on the festivities. Based on the traditional French fur trapper’s rendezvous where trappers and traders would meet at a predetermined location to trade furs for necessities, these rendezvous were the highlight of the fur trapper’s year and now the Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous is the highlight of Fort de Chartres’s extensive calendar of historical events and activities.

Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous

The Annual Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous offers participants and visitors alike a glimpse into the period from 1740-1840, a part of Illinois’ past when it was governed not only by France but by Great Britain and the United States as well. Costumed reenactors portray a variety of personas including colonial military units, mountain men, Native Americans, settlers, merchants, and more. Historical demonstrations are located at various locations on the grounds and there are periodic demonstrations that include period music, military drills, and musket and cannon competitions.

@ Fort de Chartres State Historic Site, at 1350 IL Route 155, 4 miles west of Prairie du Rocher. The event is open and free to general public with special event parking for this event just $5 a car. Donations welcomed. For more information contact the site at (618) 284-7230 or email [email protected]

The two-day popular Annual Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous features shooting competitions, military drills, dancing, music, food, and traders of eighteenth-century-style goods. The boom of cannons, the smell of campfires and a parade of colorful uniforms will transport visitors back to the 1700s. The Rendezvous features 18th century military units, traditional craft demonstrations, period music and dancing, black powder shooting events and cannon firings – all from the time when France controlled what is now Illinois. Visitors can try their hand at throwing a tomahawk, buy hand-made crafts, learn about French kitchen gardens, and watch swordsmen duel, taste delicious food and much more.

As Fort de Chartres is an Illinois Historic Preservation Agency site, there is a wide variety of interpretive activities that can be found throughout the grounds. These activities run continuously throughout both days. In the Native Crafts area, visitors can learn first hand the arts of bow and arrow making, hide tanning, basket weaving, the use of native foods and herbs, pottery, the construction of wigwams, and the history of how and why the fur trade became such an important frontier industry. There are also archery demonstrations and competitions.

Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous

The Colonial Area features demonstrations that include spinning, dyeing, the use of looms, woodworking, weaving, quilting, rope making, coopering, and blacksmiths. Located in the Fort buildings themselves are a French Patron (River Boatman,) a French Marines quarters, a Jesuit missionary in the Fort’s Chapel, and the Piethman Museum. A French Colonial garden, oxen, and baked goods for sale from a working stone oven can be found near the demonstration areas. Throughout the grounds are demonstrations by independent merchants illustrating their skills, and displaying and selling their creations.

Fort de Chartres began as a French military outpost. The reconstructed stone fort represents the third fort built by the French, the first two wooden forts having been destroyed by the Mississippi River. It was this stone fort that the French turned over to the British in 1765 after the end of the French and Indian War. The British abandoned this fort, moving their territorial headquarters to the nearby town of Kaskaskia. The abandoned stone fort was visited by George Rogers Clark during his expedition during the Revolutionary War. Representing this military tradition are a number of military reenactment units and marching bands representing all three colonial powers. Rifle, musket, and artillery competitions are all part of the scheduled programs.

Period music can be found at any time during Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous. A center stage is set up within the fort and features various musical groups throughout the day. Many of these groups can be found entertaining visitors throughout the grounds when they are not featured on the main stage. In addition marching military bands with drums, flutes, bagpipes, and other instruments can be seen patrolling the grounds.

Hundreds of tents, teepees, and other primitive shelters become the weekend home for the over one thousand reenactors who come to Fort de Chartres from across the country. Visitors can gain a lot of insight into the life styles of the fur trapping era by exploring the Primitive Camp. The reenactors are a friendly bunch and are happy to talk about the specifics of their camp and the personas they portray. Sutlers, merchants, and trade blankets are located throughout the grounds selling many period related goods that are only available at this type of event.

Fort de Chartres State Historic Site
350 State Route 155
Prairie du Rocher, IL 62277
Directions: 4 miles west of Prairie du Rocher, about an hours drive south of St. Louis. Take IL-3 to Ruma and then turn west on IL-155. Follow IL-155 through Prairie du Rocher to the site.

For more information: call 618-284-7230.

Mark your calendar today so you don’t miss the next Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous on the first weekend of June at Fort De Chartres in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois.

Tags: Fort De Chartres Summer Rendezvous, Fort De Chartres Rendezvous, Fort De Chartres Voyageur Rendezvous, Voyageur Rendezvous

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