I have always loved the Big Island Rendezvous in Albert Lea, Minnesota. My dad loves history and learning, he was and still is, great at teaching and inspiring in us girls the things he is passionate about. The Big Island Rendezvous was a perfect opportunity for our family to spend time together and learn about history at the same time.
The first few years of the rendezvous it was hosted at Myre-Big Island State Park. The first two years of the Rendezvous will always be my favorite memories of the Rendezvous. The first year our family camped the state parks White Fox camp ground. We pitched our tent, unfolded our sleeping bags, and enjoyed the great outdoors. We went to bed with stomachs filled with hot dogs, baked beans, and chips. We woke up, unzipped the tent, and a frosty world greeted us. It was a chilly morning and we were thankful our mom brought cocoa and apple cider.
Soon after breakfast a horse drawn wagon came to pick up our family at our campsite. The clip clop of their hooves and the jingle of their harness truly made us feel like we had stepped back in time. It was almost as if we were going to literally shake Ma and Pa Ingles hands and play with Laura, Mary, and baby Cary.
As we got closer to the event we could smell wood smoke, hear loud booms, and began to see folks dressed up as Indians, civil war soldiers, and pioneers. We had truly entered another time and place. For a young girl, it was as about as exciting as life can get.
We watched a tomahawk throwing competition. I watched in awe as the competitors often hit close to the target and some hit the bullseye repeatedly. After the competition we were allowed to try our hand at tomahawk throwing. I remember it was harder than it looked. We moved on to watch the civil war actors fire off their canons and muskets. The boom from canons and muskets made our hearts jump. Thankfully we had been advised to plug our ears.
Jacob’s ladder enticed event goers to try balance on the ladder. A few succeeded, most found the large mound of straw under the ladder. We tasted rock candy, fry bread, turkey legs, and other delicious Rendezvous treats. Our tummies were full, our feet were sore, and we were ready to head back to our campsite. We waited in line and soon heard the clip clop of horse hooves and the jingle of harnesses. We were again loaded up on the hay wagon and were soon dropped off at our campsite.
It was magical for me as a young girl to camp with my family, ride on a horse drawn wagon, experience a step back in time, and develop a love of history. I am beyond bless to have parents who loved to spend time with their daughters, were always up for adventures, and allowed my sisters and I go along.
Fast forward to the 30th Annual Big Island Rendezvous and it looks a little different, but it still holds magic as a time and place to step back into another era. Albert Lea is blessed to have a hands-on event like this in our community. I want to say thank you to those that have faithfully worked hard to bring this event to us for the 30 years! You are appreciated and I am grateful for your perseverance to keep it going.
The Midwest’s Finest and Largest Hands-On Early American History Lesson
Thursday October 3rd & Friday October 4th, 2019
Bancroft Bay City Park, Albert Lea, Minnesota
Join us at the Big Island Rendezvous – October 5th and 6th to see history come alive.
Gates open at 9am each day, and tickets are just $12 for adults, $7 for ages 6-11, and kids 5 and under are free.
Save by purchasing a Family Pass for $25 or save even more by purchasing in advance by calling 1-800-658-2526.
Experience the fur trade period in the Voyageur encampment, Native American Tipi tours, the Scottish Clann Tartan, New Ulm Battery,
and many Early American crafts such as woodworking, blacksmiths, and candle making just to name a few.
Purchase period wares, taste authentic cuisine, and experience the sights and sounds of history.
Looking to participate in the event, click here.