River Rendezvous 2021
One of the finest living-history events in the Midwest returns to Pond Dakota Mission Park in Bloomington!
Experience the lifestyles of people living in Minnesota between 1800 and 1870 through story-telling and interactive, hands-on demonstrations. Tours of the restored 1856 Gideon and Agnes Pond House will be given throughout the day.
- September 25 and 26, 2021, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily
- Pond Dakota Mission Park, 401 East 104th Street, Bloomington
- Open to the public
Visit on either Saturday, September 25 or Sunday, September 26, or visit both days with a two-day pass. Bloomington Public Schools students receive a discount also!
- Adults (age 18+) - $10
- Children age 4-17 - $5
- Children 3 and under - Free
- 2-day pass - Adults: $15, Children age 4-17, $8
- Current Bloomington students (K-12, public or private) receive $1 off daily entry fee or 2-day pass. Just mention that you are a Bloomington elementary, middle, or high school student at the gate to receive the discount.
Enjoy a weekend full of fun, interactive, fascinating and historically accurate demonstrations, reenactments, storytelling and more! See below for the full list of what you'll experience at River Rendezvous 2021.
Arts, Crafts and Craftsmanship
- Blacksmith and Metal Working: River Rendezvous features two blacksmiths, each demonstrating the traditional tools and methods of creating items out of iron and steel.
- Bow Making: Learn the methods used in traditional wooden bow and arrow making by one of the foremost experts in the Midwest.
- Candle Making: Using traditional methods, make your own candle to take home and learn how candles were historically produced.
- Hide Tanning: See and learn about the traditional methods of making leather pliable and suitable for clothing and other uses—through leather tanning.
- Historic Pottery: Join potter Jasper Bond as he demonstrates old world pottery making techniques on a traditional hand turned potter’s wheel.
- Horn and Antler Craft: Prior to the advent of modern plastic and other synthetics, animal horn and antlers were important materials used for the manufacture of many common items.
- Log Cabin Building: By putting together Pond Dakota’s own buildable scale model of a traditional log cabin, learn about how they were built and the type of woodworking skills that were needed in creating cabins on the frontier.
- Quill Pen and Ink: Learn the history of the quill pen and try your hand at writing using this traditional method.
- Spinning and Fiber: Using a traditional spinning wheel, you can try your hand at spinning yarn. Discover how fibers were historically utilized in the creation of cloth.
- The Painters Craft: Learn about historic materials used in painting and the creation of paint pigments, and the role of the artists in US history.
- Tin Working: See how tin is formed into many useful household implements by our expert tin smith.
- Woodworking and Joinery: See and learn about the tools of traditional woodworking prior to electricity.
Daily Life and Careers
- Early Frontier Living: See the tools and household items commonly used by people on the American frontier.
- Historical Clothing: Clothing has changed much throughout the centuries—see many example of historic clothing and compare to what we wear today.
- Hunter, Trapper, and Farmer: On the frontier, people often had to be adept at many trades in order to survive.
- Land Surveyor: See the tools of the trade and learn about the role of the surveyor in history.
- Laundry on the Frontier: Before modern washers and dryers, people had a process to go through to get clean clothes. Try your hand at using a washboard, and the other historic tools used in this endeavor.
Food and Drink
- Apple Pressing/Cider Making: Join naturalist Leah to learn traditional cider making methods and try your hand at using an apple grinder and press and learn how homemade apple juice and cider are made.
- Chuck Wagon: On the open range the chuck wagon was needed to keep cowboys and workers fed. Experience an authentic chuck wagon and all of its associated contents.
- Maple Sugaring: Experience first-hand the processes involved with turning maple sap into sugar, and learn how you can do this activity on your own.
Fun and Games
- 19th Century Magic: In the 19th Century, street magicians amazed crowds with impossible tricks.
- 19th Century Games: Prepare for fun as you play many of the games commonly played by kids in the 1800’s.
- Civil War Storytelling: Renowned New York based storyteller Luann Adams shares gripping true stories of the Civil War.
- Gideon Pond, Missionary: An important figure in Bloomington and Minnesota history, Gideon Pond established the Oak Grove Mission in the 1840’s.
- Norwegian Immigrant Ole Olson: 19th century Scandinavian immigrants often moved to America with nothing other than a single trunk of possessions. Experience the life and times of the Scandinavian immigrant.
- Teddy Roosevelt: One of the foremost Roosevelt reenactors in the nation portrays and teaches about the life and times of Teddy Roosevelt, including discussing his many important conservation efforts.
- Voyageur: History of the fur trade and the Voyageurs’ role in early US and Minnesota history.
- Westward Expansion: Learn about the early era of westward expansion in the US.
- Westward Woman: Explore the role of women on the frontier.
- Animals of Mnisóta Makhóčhe: Learn the Dakota names for several Minnesota animals and reflect on Dakota relationships to our animal relatives, the seasons, and the land.
- Dakota Hand Games: Learn how to make and play a traditional Dakota game. The rules are simple but the games can go for hours!
- Dakota Place Names, Past and Present: Minnesota is and has always been Dakota land, and of course it is a Dakota word. Learn the traditional Dakota names for several places, and the meanings of many current place names.
- Ojibwe Seasonal Life: Learn about how the Ojibwe in Minnesota historically gathered food and subsisted from season to season.
Nature and the Environment
- Historic Naturalist: Predating modern science, historic naturalists gathered animal, insect, and plant specimens for study.
- Minnesota Valley Story: Learn about the historical importance of the Minnesota River Valley to the many people who have called it home.
View the site map below for all of the fun things to do and see at River Rendezvous 2021. You can also download the map as a PDF to print and share
Free parking is available at Gene Kelly Playfield, Holy Emmanuel Lutheran Church, and on side streets adjacent to Pond Dakota Mission Park. See map below.
A limited amount of handicap accessible parking will be available at the event site.
Food vendors featured at River Rendezvous 2021
- Prairie Golden Kettle Corn is the longtime, and very popular River Rendezvous kettle corn vendor.
- Blue Loon Concessions will provide a variety of food and beverage options both days of River Rendezvous 2021, including burgers, hot dogs, mini donuts and more!
Pineapple's Place Trading offers authentic and unique historical items you can purchase to remember your trip to River Rendezvous 2021.
- A wide array of handmade, custom pewter items
- Jewelry and pendants
- And much more!
Items available in all price ranges. Something for everyone from adults to kids.