Looking for a picturesque, relaxing, and educational vacation rolled into one where you set the pace? Sound too good to be true? Check out Rendezvous Days in Grand Portage, Minnesota.
Rendezvous Days is the second full weekend in August each year. The Grand Portage Anishinabe Nation hosts the annual Rendezvous Days Pow Wow while the Grand Portage National Monument re-creates a historic fur trade era rendezvous.
Pow Wow is a celebration of culture and family. As you approach the Pow Wow grounds, you may see several tipis and lots of tents from dancers and their families gathered to celebrate. Walk around the outside of the Pow Wow stands to enjoy crafts, souvenirs, and food vendors. You will definitely want to be seated in the stands for one of the three Grand Entries. A beautiful, energy charged atmosphere is present as the dancers enter the arena wearing their regalia. Veterans are highly honored and celebrated at this Pow Wow. The opening ceremony is respectful, sobering and thought provoking. After Grand Entry is concluded, the high energy Sneak Up Dance often occurs. Be sure to stay at Pow Wow awhile and grab some fry bread and an Indian Taco. There are a variety of dances and drum songs you can enjoy. The beat of the Drum represents the heartbeat of the earth and permeates this celebration. You have to be present to fully appreciate the Drum’s impact.
Before attending Pow Wow for your first time, I recommend you read about Pow Wow etiquette. You can find some good information online. There are ways to respectfully ask questions of dancers, and definite do’s and don’ts. Do be sure to wear comfortable shoes, check the weather, and come prepared for lots of fun.
As you enter Rendezvous at the Grand Portage National Monument, you’ll experience yet another energy charged atmosphere. A myriad of reenactors of all ages are enjoying the re-creation of the fur trade rendezvous at an actual historic rendezvous location. In addition to the primitive camps, campfire cooking, and the hauling of water and wood, there are opportunities for demonstrations, workshops, and games you won’t want to miss. Park staff work hard to make this event a fun and educational one for the public and reenactors.Be sure to look at the Rendezvous Days schedule to plan what you want to do. Some of the workshops fill up quickly, so scope out the sign up rules. Some workshops are open to visitors and some are only for reenactors.
Walking through the encampment and historic grounds, there is much to see and experience. The Great Hall offers a covered porch where you can sit and relax as you gaze out on Lake Superior. Look at the events to find a time when you can also enjoy some music. Bagpipes are often heard during the encampment, and Over the Waterfall is a group of period musicians you won’t want to miss. You’ll also find displays, artifacts, and monument staff available to answer your questions.
Cross the covered walkway from the Great Hall to the kitchen to see food being prepared.
Be sure to see the Three Sisters Garden. You will also want take in the Heritage Center to gain a historic perspective of the fur trade. While there, learn about Grand Portage via the park film. Both local residents and reenactors are featured in the film.
Rendezvous Days is one of our favorite events. Between Pow Wow and the Encampment there is plenty to do, see, and enjoy. To top all of this off, the location of these events is picturesque with Lake Superior’s presence.