Article presented by the Heritage Initiative, a St. Croix 360 partner:
French-Canadian voyageurs once traveled the St. Croix River region by canoe, transporting furs which were purchased from Ojibwe people. The stories of these men live on today at historic sites, and every year celebrations feature encampments and activities.
Forts Folle Avoine – Danbury, WI
Fur Trade Rendezvous
Forts Folle Avoine is the original site of two British fur trade companies that built cabins on the shores of Yellow River in 1802. First the North West Company arrived and built a trading post, two cabins, and a palisade fence. Later that year the XY Company, a competitor, arrived at this same location and built a single log building. Facing attack threats from the Dakota, the two companies soon banded together and resided within the stockaded fort.
Rendezvous includes demonstrations of period skills — including black powder, archery and tomahawk. Tasty food prepared in the fur-trade era manner is truly a treat to be enjoyed as one strolls along taking in the always colorful “traders’ row.” Goods offered by the traders include period clothing, furnishings, camp gear, trade silver, animal skins, jewelry and a fascinating variety of other utilitarian and decorative items.
Wild Rice Pancake Breakfast, Sunday July 28, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults 13 & over $8.00, Age 6 to 12 $6.00, 5 & under FREE, Families $24.00
North West Company Fur Trade Post – Pine City, MN
Fall Gathering: Festival of the Voyageur
Celebrate a 19th-century fall gathering as hundreds of re-enactors portraying Ojibwe, voyageurs and fur traders prepare for winter trading along the Snake River. Watch as contestants vie for the title of the best all-around voyageur. Competitions will test strength and cunning. Shop at historic vendors for handcrafted wares and clothing. Hands-on children’s activities include candle dipping, a scavenger hunt and the popular game “bead scramble.”
A highlight of the weekend is a festive, country dance with live fiddle music and lessons held outside Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.
Fee: $8 adults, $6 seniors and college students, $5 ages 6-17; $2 discount for Minnesota Historical Society members.
William O’Brien State Park – Marine on St. Croix, MN
Voyageur Encampment Weekend
Let?s take a step back in history to the time of the voyageurs. Voyageurs were the “truck drivers” of the fur trade era. They would travel the rivers and lakes hauling beaver, mink, muskrat and other animal furs. These furs would be packaged in 90-pound packs that they hauled over long portages. Eventually these furs would end up as top hats and coats to the elite in Europe. These voyageurs were a hearty bunch with a unique lifestyle which only they could call their own.
Come down to the picnic grounds and view the camp and ask them questions as the Neebing Brigade and the La Compagnie Brigade re-enact the 1700s and make their home at the park for the weekend. Take a step back in history and through activities and special programs learn the life of the Voyageur!