And do you really, really want your children to hopefully learn something in the process? Give a historical re-enactment a try!
If you walked into a Midwest Rendezvous encampment, you would see a lot of white canvas tents in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as some tipis with lodge poles extending toward the sky. People of all ages would be dressed in long sleeves unless their morals aren’t up with societal expectations. Meat roasting over an open campfire, children hauling wood and water to their camp as well as running and playing would be other sights. Women might be putting together a pie for supper or sitting and sewing while they visit with one another. Vendors would be selling a variety of trade goods, sewing notions, beads, hats, clothing and toys. Items from the “period.” You may also see a variety of friendly competitions of knife throwing, shooting, and tomahawk throwing.
All across America, all sorts of history is being relived by historical reenactors. Revolutionary War, French & Indian War, Civil War, Fur Trade Era, Renaissance, Mountain Man and Rendezvous. There are many more historical venues than those mentioned here. Check your local county historical society and historical parks for possible opportunities. Also, look at a state’s tourism guide for events.
You can attend an event and soak it all in as you walk through and check out displays and watch scheduled performances. However, you’ll miss out if you don’t talk to the reenactors. Ask questions or strike up a conversation about politics of the era. Inquire about what’s for supper or what is cooking over the campfire. Observe how their daily life is different from yours and ask polite questions. It is important to use your manners when conversing and also to respect their property and accoutrements. Do not enter tents uninvited or touch items without permission. The majority of reenactors will gladly converse with you, and share about their belongings and daily life.
Beware—attending a historical event can be contagious! You just might get the “wild hair” to start reenacting. There are so many facets to reenacting. Clothing, shoes, toys, foods, cooking methods, music, dance, crafts, tentage, military uniforms, language, religion, eating utensils, and phrases just to name a few. With all these facets there is bound to be something everyone in the family can enjoy. Oh, this is in addition to the period foods that are great to try. There are usually vendors selling interesting foods of the time period.
Find an event, go and enjoy, and then plan to springboard more learning from something you or your children really liked. Intrigued by the Dutch oven or campfire cooking? Want to know more about a specific general and their battle strategy? Wonder what life as an endentured servant was like? Hit your library or the internet and learn more. Oh, and don’t forget to mark your calendar for next year’s event! Your gonna wanna be there.
P.S. Check out the post about Rendezvous Days in Grand Portage, MN the second full weekend in August. This is a fabulous event!