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Peek into the past at River Rendezvous

Buying tools from the local blacksmith. Tapping maple and birch trees for sugar. Portaging canoes and trading furs. These activities and more made up the daily lives of indigenous people and Euro-American settlers who made their homes in the river valley of Bloomington in the 1800s. 

Parks and Recreation’s living history festival River Rendezvous offers a look into this way of life through storytelling and interactive, hands-on demonstrations. Thousands of students from the metro area and as far away as Northfield will attend the festival September 16 – 20. The Rendezvous will be open to the public on Thursday, September 19, 4 – 8:30 p.m., at Pond Dakota Mission Park, 401 East 104th Street. The cost is $6 per person, free for children under four. 

The historical re-enactors come from all walks of life—some do this work full time, and some live off the grid in Northern Minnesota and make the trip south for River Rendezvous each year. 

Many re-enactors camp in Pond Dakota Mission Park during the event, living an authentic 1800s life for the week. Some even make a living year-round in their historical trade. The blacksmith, Tom Latane, has been working the event for more than 15 years and is one of the best at his craft. He is nationally known for his work.