Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Restored Fort De Chartres Rendezvous Revived after Spring Flooding

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Restored Fort De Chartres Rendezvous Revived after Spring Flooding

Article excerpt

The annual Rendezvous at Fort de Chartres State Historic Site in Randolph County - postponed last spring by heavy rain and local flooding - will be held Sept. 16 and 17 at the restored fort near Prairie du Rocher.

The event has been called the Midwest's largest annual gathering of 1700s-era costumed soldiers, settlers, traders and campers. The Rendezvous is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The event began as a fur-trading re-enactment at Fort de Chartres, which was a frontier outpost established by the French in the early 1700s. The fort has been restored over the years and underwent major repairs after being innundated in the Great Flood of '93.

All activities at the two-day Rendezvous are free, and some of the events invite participation by visitors.

Each day's activities will begin with an opening ceremony and posting of colors at 10 a.m. A retreat ceremony will end the events each day at 4:30 p.m.

Eighteenth-century shooting and military competitions will be highlights of the Rendezvous each day. Also scheduled are artisan and craft demonstrations, including pottery-making, blacksmithing, tinsmithing, coopering, pewter casting, weaving, woodworking and hide-tanning.

Period music and dancing will be featured each day. Visitors also can learn the art of fencing from Jean-Baptiste de Liancour, Maistre en Fait des Armes. The fort's cannon will be fired each hour, preceded by instruction in how to fire a cannon by the 17th Illinois Territorial Rangers.

The historic Creole House in nearby Prairie du Rocher will be open for tours both days of the Rendezvous from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Randolph County Historical Society will hold its annual "Apple Fete" in the town on Sunday, Sept. 17, featuring food and craft booths.

Last year's Rendezvous was the only one since the annual event started in 1970 that had to be canceled. The fort had sustained deep gullies and structural problems in the Great Flood of '93, but repairs were made and the fort re-opened to visitors last fall. About $322,000 in repairs were made to the fort after the heavy Mississippi River flooding.

The reconstructed Fort de Chartres is administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. …

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