As fall leaves begin changing and teepees appear on the hill in Fort Atkinson, you know it’s that time of year again for the Fort Rendezvous! Take your family for a fun pioneer day and be drawn back in time at the Fort Rendezvous Days held this year September 27 and 28. This is a fun way to step back in history and enjoy a family day together, creating memories to last a lifetime. You and your family may even learn a bit about Iowa history at the same time!
Each year on the last full weekend in September in Fort Atkinson the historical Fort comes alive with pioneer fun for the whole family. You will see teepees, buck skinners, pioneer demonstrations, black power shoots, US. Army dragoons at their camp and see them shoot the cannon at this site in Winneshiek County as the Fort is transformed into an 1840’s Iowa frontier.
The kids will love the buck skinners and pioneers dressed in costume showing many different skills of the time period. A favorite is watching them demonstrate the tomahawk throwing and if you are lucky, they will give you a chance to try to learn the new skill too!
There is a free melodrama at 2:30 on Saturday and Sunday 11:30 and 2:30 that you don't want to miss! All day long their are different pioneer contests to watch from tomahawk throws, skillet throw, bull whip and more.
The park closes early each evening, so come early and stay to see closing the evening Colors and Cannon drill at the close on Saturday 4:15 and Sunday 3:30.
There are buses to take you up or down the big hill at the Fort Community Center if you would prefer to ride to the site. A great time to spend in devotion under the beautiful fall sky is on Sunday at 9:1o for the Old Time Church Service. If you like running or just walking, join their 5K starting at 8:30 Saturday morning, register at the community building ahead of time.
To kick off the event, each year schools from all over Iowa bring their students to see history come alive the Friday before. The "School Day" ends with a cannon drill, where they shoot off one or two canons at noon when about a 1,000 or more students gather together out of range from danger to watch. For as many years I have covered this event for local papers, it does not get old. The kids are ready with their hands on their ears, as one lucky teacher gets to ignite the cannon and then comes the BIG BOOM and the kids go wild! Before the cannon shoot, They also have an anvil shoot where one is put on top of another and with black powder it blown up sometimes almost as high as the flag pole. Besides getting the opportunity to learn about the Fort with a guided tour, the students enjoy the homemade root beer, kettle corn, craft demonstrators from pottery, basket making and more. Save room for some great home cooked food down the hill at the Community Center done by St. John’s church ladies. Friday night they kick off with Reicks yummy chicken dinner. Come early, the place gets full fast!
There is just so much full for the whole family and a great place to create memories that will last a lifetime! See you there!