History comes to life at 39th Annual Fort Union Rendezvous

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 7:07 PM CDT
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FORT UNION (KUMV) - At its peak in the mid 1800′s, the Fort Union Trading Post was a major hub for commerce. This weekend the historic site showcases its past as part of the Fort Union Rendezvous.

History comes alive at Fort Union as officials and many volunteers paint a picture of how life at the site would have been almost 200 years ago.

On Thursday, lots of children visited the post, eager to learn about life on the plains during the height of the fur trading industry. For some, it’s an annual tradition.

“My grandkids wouldn’t eat breakfast when they came to my house. We had to get ready and leave because they’re excited,” said Ramona Ross, Culbertson.

Reenactors also showed people some of the work that was done during that time, like blacksmithing and tanning hides. The big fort stayed very busy, exchanging goods with several Native American tribes like the Assiniboine, Blackfoot, and Sioux.

“It was a 24/7, 365-days-a-year business that you would have today; it’s just on a different scale,” said Brandon Delvo, reenactor.

The Rendezvous coincides with when steamboats would arrive at the confluence, bringing goods from all over the world. The tribes would trade buffalo robes and furs for these items, which would then be sent eastwards down the river.

“This was a site of international trade that was taking place here. You had close to 250 different trade items from nearly a dozen countries around the world, because that was what the tribes were expecting to see,” said Leif Halvorson, Park Ranger.

This is the 39th annual Rendezvous and second event since the pandemic. Officials say volunteer numbers are slightly down this year due to gas prices keeping longer-distance workers from attending.

The Rendezvous continues throughout the weekend from 10-4. For more information on the event, visit Fort Union’s website

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