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Joyce Jefferson
Joyce Jefferson
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Winter Rendezvous returns to Fort de Chartres Nov. 5-6 with period clothing, music and food

Fort de Chartres State Historic Site presents a weekend of colorful clothing, hand-made crafts and delicious food when the annual Winter Rendezvous returns Nov. 5-6.

Soldiers, trappers, traders and Native Americans (as portrayed by historic re-enactors) will gather at the rendezvous. They’ll trade goods, buy supplies and have fun before winter sets in.

Some will even take part in a shooting contest that requires them to walk through the woods and fire flintlocks at pop-up targets. Each year, the woodswalk presents a new scenario for the 30-plus teams of five.

The rendezvous is fun both for the participants demonstrating frontier life from 1700 to 1820 and for visitors spending an autumn day wandering among the tents, campfires and historic fort.

The free event runs 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday. It is hosted by Les Coureurs des Bois de Fort de Chartres and sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres with site support from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

The weekend also includes a “rummage faire” featuring clothing, jewelry, baskets, pottery and other items that historic interpreters can use to complete their 18th century looks.

For more information, please contact the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site at (618) 284-7230.

Fort de Chartres was built by the French military in the 1750s. It served as the seat of government and chief military installation in Illinois when France controlled the territory. The British then took it over and used it until 1772.

The site, operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, was declared a national historic landmark in 1960. The fort’s powder magazine is the oldest building in Illinois.

Fort de Chartres is located at 1350 IL Route 155, 4 miles west of Prairie du Rocher. It is open Thursday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A donation of $4 for adults, $2 for children, or $10 per family is suggested.