Coon Valley Conservation Club hosts 13th annual Rendezvous
Held since 2006, this past weekend the Coon Creek Rendezvous gave visitors a glimpse into the daily life of people living in the frontier back in the 1700’s and 1800’s.
Having been involved in rendezvousing for the past 40 years, 75-year-old Tom Garvef of Bangor, Wisconsin, whose camp name is ‘Silver Tip’, explained that the rendezvous came about during the fur trader era from about 1760-1840.
Rendezvous explained Garvef, was a time for people with different skills and products to gather and trade, barter, or sell their services that would be vital for survival during that time period. He noted it was also a time for folks to just celebrate.
Garvef stated that reenactors are careful to not have items in their camps that were common after the 1840’s to keep things more authentic.
Besides visitors being able to walk into and observe these relic nomadic camps from the past, some wares were sold, and demonstrations given on black powder rifles and flint knapping. A few friendly knife, archery, tomahawk, competitions highlighted some of the rendezvous participants weekend. I would be remiss if not to mention a cast iron frying pan contest that some camp women got in on.
People from all walks of life come and set up camp at the rendezvous. “You never know who is camped next to you. It might be a doctor, lawyer, and it might be a farmer that hired help to run his farm for two days so he could come and set a camp.” Garvef stressed that everyone tries hard to stay with the old ways when living at a rendezvous.
Garvef referenced Steve Azar’s song “I don’t have to be me til’ Monday” as a good song that sums up those that take time to enjoy setting up and living the old ways of days gone past.
“A lot of small towns have rendezvous. It is just a good group of people,” Garvef said with a chuckle and a smile.