Marilla Park in Streator hosts the 39th annual Midwest Rendezvous

Travelers demonstrate pre-1840s pioneer era lifestyle

Marilla Park in Streator took a step back into the pre-1840s pioneer era over the weekend as the 39th annual Midwest Rendezvous filled the park with demonstrations, competition and traditional food, drinks and clothing.

Treasurer Rita Lurvey, dressed in era-specific garb, explained the Midwest Rendezvous is a celebration of the pre-1840, pre-carbine trade era from 1789 to 1840 where people in the U.S. were trapping beaver and sending it to England and Europe.

“There were a couple of different companies, the American Fur Trade Company and the Hudson Bay Company were the two biggest but what we portray are free trappers,” Lurvey said. “We didn’t belong to either company. We freelance, so they went into the mountains and trapped beaver, especially on the Green River in Wyoming.”

Lurvey said trappers and natives would come together in communities that turned into a bit of a free-for-all with drinking, womanizing and thievery, and sell clothing, tobacco, ammunition and anything else a trapper might need.

The Rendezvous in Marilla Park features all sorts of lessons about how these pioneers lived and includes an archery range, food cooked over a fire and a bar serving root beer and other era-specific, non-alcoholic beverages.

The Rendezvous runs through Friday but is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Wednesday, with a knife and hawk range opening, a period correct pest control taking place and basket weaving. There also is a fried pie shop selling food and other period-specific vendors on site. There is a $5 gate fee for entry.

The disc golf course at Marilla Park will be closed through Friday, to accommodate safely range demonstrations.

Monday, June 27

9 a.m. to noon: Rifle shoot (off site)

10 a.m.: Make a leather belt bag (Rick Quaintances tent)

11 a.m. Learn to crochet (Mary Davis tent)

11 a.m. Kid games (seminar tent)

1 to 4 p.m.: Knife and hawk (range)

2 p.m.: Make a period fishing kit (Eric Davis)

3 p.m.: Make a “husbands midwife” period correct sewing kit (Rita Lurvey tent)

Tuesday, June 28

9 a.m. to noon: Archery (range)

10 a.m.: Intermediate basket weaving (Teri Quaintances)

11 a.m.: Kids games (seminar tent)

1 to 4 p.m.: Rife shoot (off-site)

3 p.m.: Make a trekker’s spice kit (Eric Davis)

4 p.m.: Round robin swap (Rita Lurvey)

Wednesday, June 29

9 a.m. to noon: Rifle shoot (off site)

10 a.m.: Cast iron cooking (Mary Davis)

11 a.m.: Kids games (seminar tent)

1 to 4 p.m.: Knife and hawk (range area)

2 p.m.: Make first aid kit for trekking