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Get hands-on with history at Rendezvous reenactment

If you’re looking for something to do as summer winds down, head out to the Chippewa River Rendezvous Aug. 22-23, at Mill Yard Park in Cornell. Taking a step back in time, the event brings a sense of historical accuracy to visitors, of a time when fur trapping and trade was part of everyday life.

“Everything is free, except for the ones that do lunches,” said Hope Jones, Rendezvous coordinator.

Reenactors will have camps set up, with demonstrations of blacksmithing and primitive cooking, along with displays of animal tracks. Allowing modern times to mingle with the past, a flea market takes place both days, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors featured include 31 bags, Avon and a fry bread stand, among many others.

“We have quite a few crafters,” said Jones.

Breakfast is provided by the Chippewa County Farm Bureau, while lunch is available from the Jim Falls Lions Club. An outdoor church service will also be held that Sunday, by Keystone New Life Alliance Church, at 8:30 a.m., in the pavilion.

However, visitors who stop at the event don’t just get to watch reenactors, they get to take part, too. For all ages on Saturday, there’s an archery demonstration at 9 a.m.; fry pan throw at 12:30 p.m.; and a wheelbarrow race at 3:30 p.m. The events are typically held under the historic, towering pulpwood stacker, but Jones says they are not sure yet where the fry pan toss will take place, as there is a small conflict.

“There’s a couple that want to get married under the stacker,” she said, of the family affair.

A kids hay pile/candy slingshot is set for 10:30 a.m. that day, and at 10 a.m. the following day, with a hay pile for adults at 10:30 a.m. Adults are welcome to search the hay for any candy or money the kids missed, but adults prizes consist of drink tickets to local bars, good for beer or soda.

“A lot of people like the hay pile, so we want to keep that,” said Jones.

Also on Sunday, a knife/hawk demo is at 11 a.m.; a sack race follows at 12:30 p.m.; and a whisky run ends the handson events at 2:30 p.m. The Cornell Visitors Center is also open both days, from noon to 4 p.m., if anyone would like to explore the history of the area.

Throughout both days, free raffles will take place for kids and adults, with something new this year for the youth, as a recent bike shortage has led to some changes in giveaways.

“We’re looking at doing scooters this year,” said Jones “We’re still going to try and do something for the kids, that’s the whole thing.”

There will also be tickets available for purchase for the “big raffle,” with prizes of two guns, a crossbow, meat packages and two cash prizes. For those concerned over the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones says masks, gloves and sanitizer will be supplied, if people do not have their own and need the health guards.

Jones says the event is a great way to get outdoors and support a local happening.

“It’s fun, it’s educational, especially for kids.”