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Grand Portage Rendezvous August 9-11, 2024

Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
Has anyone been to this event? After my planned canoe trip up north of Geraldton in northern Ontario ( fingers crossed), I was thinking of stopping at Fort William in Thunder Bay, then head on down to this rendezvous. From the website it looks pretty interesting.

2024 Grand Portage Rendezvous Days

Experience 1790s fur trade life at the Annual Grand Portage Rendezvous Days on August 9-11, 2024 at the Grand Portage Monument Heritage Center in Grand Portage, Minnesota. Explore the reconstructed 1790s fur trade depot and the historic voyageurs’ encampment. Try your hand at making cornhusk dolls and voyageur action figures, fire starting with flint and steel, and watch as the roughest men of the Old Northwest and the daintiest of ladies compete in a Voyageur pentathlon.

Come test your throwing arm in our “Throw the Dough” contest. The event is open to the general public, with a scavenger hunt, a bead hunt, and a story telling especially for youngsters. National Monument rangers and costumed historical reenactors help bring history alive in this fun-filled weekend event. This event is free and open to everyone. There is no park or event admission fee, though donations are welcome.

How many places can you stay a few days, enjoy some of the most beautiful scenary in the country AND attend and watch a major historic fur trade rendezvous from the French fur trade era in the Great Lakes area such as the Grand Portage Rendezvous at the Grand Portage Monument Heritage Center in Grand Portage, MN only 35 miles from Superior Inn.
This year’s Grand Portage Rendezvous Days is expected to feature 100s of volunteer reenactors. Join a tour of the historic encampment or participate in the contests and workshops. There is something for everyone!

Schedule of Activities, Events, and Workshops (Subject to Change)
Friday Activities
9:00am – 5:00pm Historic Cooking & Baking North West Company Kitchen
10:00 Stone Bridge Singers Drum Ceremony Great Hall Lawn
11:00 NWCo Partners Arrival Ceremony Begins at the Dock
11:30 Dainty Voyageur Contest West Lawn
12:00 Historic Encampment Tour Meet at North Gate Information Tent
1:00 18th Century Puppet Show: Punch & Judy Historic Encampment
2:00 18th Century Music Jam Great Hall porch
3:00 Historic Encampment Tour Meet at North Gate Information Tent
3:00 Throw the “Dough” Contest Great Hall Lawn
5:30 Historic Encampment Tour Meet at North Gate Information Tent
Friday Workshops
10:00 18th Century Clothing Mending & Patching Workshop Tent
11:30 Cornhusk Dolls/Voyageurs For Young’uns Workshop Tent
11:30 Scottish Music & Haggis Making Historic Encampment
1:00 French Spool Knitting for Kids Workshop Tent
1:30 Tinsmithing for Kids Demonstration Area Inside Stockade
2:30 Basic Blacksmithing Techniques for Men Demonstration Area

Saturday Activities
9:00am – 5:00pm Historic Cooking & Baking North West Company Kitchen
9:30 Scavenger Hunt for Young’uns Historic Encampment
10:30 NWC Gentlemen Conduct a Business Meeting Great Hall
11:00 18th Century Lacrosse Demonstration Great Hall Lawn
11:30 Lacrosse Match Great Hall Lawn
12:00 18th Century Puppet Show: Punch & Judy Workshop Tent
1:00 Historic Encampment Tour Meet at North Gate Information Tent
2:00 Rugged Voyageur Contest (Reenactors only) West Lawn
2:00 Voyageur Storytelling and Song Historic Encampment
3:00 Historic Encampment Tour Meet at North Gate Information Tent
3:00 Music by “Over the Waterfall” Great Hall Lawn
5:30 Historic Encampment Tour Meet at North Gate Information Tent
8:00 Live Music & Dance, open to the public Great Hall Lawn
10:00 Music & Dancing conclude
Saturday Workshops
10:00 Turning a Sailor’s Fid-18th Century Style Demonstration Area
10:30 Basic Blacksmithing Techniques for Women Demonstration Area ($ fee)
11:00 Make and Stamp a Vermillion Packet Workshop Tent

2023 Grand Portage Rendezvous Days | Grand Marais Event Calendar
Credit Above Photos: Grand Portage National Monument, Public domain, via NPS

Sunday Activities (subject to change)
10:00 Flint & Steel Fire Starting Contest Historic Encampment
11:00 Bead Hunt for Young’uns Historic Encampment
11:30 The Yoke’s on You! Water Lifting Contest Warehouse Yard
1:00 Fiddling in the Fur Trade Workshop Tent
2:00 Bagpipes of the NWCo Great Hall Lawn
Sunday Workshops
10:00 Tinsmithing for Adults Demonstration Area Inside Stockade
11:00 Branding the Phyn & Elice Shipment Mark Historic Encampment

About The Grand Portage National Monument
The Grand Portage National Monument is a U.S. national monument located on the North Shore of Lake Superior. This historical place was the center of fur trade activity and the Native America Ojibwe heritage. The monument is surrounded by 710 acres within the boundaries of Grand Portage Ojibwe Indian Reservation and is the location of the annual Rendezvous Days Celebration Pow Wow and Grand Portage Rendezvous.

About The Grand Portage
The Grand Portage is an 8.5-mile historic trade route of the French-Canadian voyageurs that passes through waterfalls and rapids that flow into Lake Superior. It became the gateway into rich northern fur-bearing country, where it connected remote interior outposts to lucrative international markets. In August every year, the voyageurs would show up and the company owners would come from Europe, and Grand Portage became a rough and tumble celebration. After the celebration, the furs were loaded aboard massive voyageur canoes and paddled across the Great Lakes and eventually shipped to Europe where many became hats. In the states, the voyageurs would carry trade goods up the portage and then paddle 100s of miles back to their outposts. This repeated until beaver was almost extinct. Luckily for the beaver, the fur hats that their pelts were used went out of fashion.

Now, each year on the second weekend of August, fur trade reenactors descend on Grand Portage, sent up canvas tents, haul birchbark canoes around and the weekend becomes a fun family weekend. The local tribe’s powwow also goes on at the same time.

Mark your calendar today so you don’t miss the next Grand Portage Rendezvous Days at the Grand Portage Monument Heritage Center in Grand Portage, Minnesota.
Hi Robin,
I fell in with a bunch of buckskinners in Colorado and later in Wyoming back in the 1980s. We used to go to local Rondys quite often and the National Western was in Colorado for several years. We were emulating the Fur Trade Era around 1820-1840 when beaver (le castor) was king. It was the mountain version of the event you are describing. I have portrayed Le Voyageur many times for fun around the Free Mountain Trappers. The understanding of the lore is deep and the events are dramatic. It is a form of living history I can heartily recommend. There can be moments when it feels like 200 years ago. I miss it. There are some events around here but they are just not the same. Go and tell us all about it.
I have never been to the Rendezvous but have visited both the Fort William Historical Park near Thunder Bay and the Grand Portage National Monument. Both are very interesting and worth a visit.
I was through there in 2000 while this was going on, but arrived too late in the day to wander around the tents and demonstrations. They kick everybody out who's not part of the reenactment late in the afternoon, which I assume is when things are the most interesting. There is an active boat shop just outside the fort pallisades where they are building birch bark canoes. Even without the rendezvous this is quite an interesting place to visit on the shores of Lake Superior.