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Voyageur Rendezvous

May 18, 2018 @ 8:00 am - May 20, 2018 @ 4:00 pm


2018 Voyageur Rendezvous at Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park

The 32nd Annual Voyageur Rendezvous at Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park on May 19-20, 2018 in Hebron brings 18th-century history in Indiana to life. Peek into the lives of those who would have lived or traded along the waterways of the Midwest more than 250 years ago when the marshes were a source of valuable furs desired by merchant traders to take back to Europe.

The Voyageur Rendezvous at Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park welcomes visitors into encampments of French Canadian voyageurs, French and British militia, civilians and settlers, and Native Americans. Artisans will demonstrate some traditional crafts of those times. The nearly 100 costumed reenactors adhere to details of the time period in their costumes and camps, according to Robertson, and share that sense of history with visitors to the event.

Voyageur Rendezvous at Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park - Lake County Parks

The Voyageur Rendezvous at Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park is a family friendly event with lots of fun and interactive activities for the kids. Visit the Children’s Trading Post to pick up a scavenger hunt list. This list is not items to collect, but rather items to look for at the event. Talk to anybody in costume to get information on the list item you’re looking for and get them to sign the form. When leaving, the child may bring the completed sheet back to the trading post to trade for an item. The voyageur rendezvous is fun for all ages, and it’s immersive — sights, sounds, smells and activities of that historic period.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Admission: $4 with children 7 and younger admitted free

Voyageur Rendezvous Highlights
Event Highlights include Opening and Closing Ceremonies • Arrival of Voyageurs by canoe • Trade Session with the Native Americans • Storytelling • Tomahawk Throw • Fashion Show • Hot Food, Cold Sarsaparilla and more. Other scheduled activities include canoe “bobber races” at 1 p.m. and storytelling at 2 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday there will be a period clothing fashion show at 1 p.m. and the public will be invited to join in historic dances at 2 p.m., accompanied by the fife and drum corps. There will also be historic games and make-and-take projects at the trading post, tomahawk throwing for older children, and fife and drum music on both days. Food will be available at the site and there will also be a vendor of period items.

Daily Opening Ceremony
An opening ceremony begins the historical reenactment festivities each day at 10:30 a.m. and presents some perspective to the event. The British military, French military and civilian re-enactors come from the camps and the Native Americans arrive. They meet at the flag pole. One of the re-enactors holds up a wampum belt in a gesture of welcome. Then three flags are raised: the French, British and historical American flag of the time as the fife and drum corps plays the song of each nation from that historical period. A little later, at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the voyageurs arrive. Their landings are another highlight of the event as they paddle in with their big canoes loaded with goods.

Voyageur Rendezvous at Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park - Lake County Parks

Who were these Voyageurs?
To equate the voyageurs of the fur trade era in the Great Lakes area to something today, consider all the trucks on today’s roads. When voyageurs plied the area waters this was the wilderness. The rivers then were like the highways today, and were very important to the history and the development and the economic growth in the area.

Historically, the voyageurs landed and exchanged gifts with the natives first, before any trading. They might spend a whole day exchanging gifts, generally with the men, after which most of the trading would be done with the women. The natives had the furs and the number one item the voyageurs offered was textiles.

School Day: Friday
Advance reservation required.
Morning tour time slot: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Afternoon tour time slot: Noon – 2 p.m.
Minimum (20 students); Maximum (140 students) per time slot
$2 per person, including chaperones and teachers; $20 minimum
Reservations and deposit required at least ten business days in advance
Appropriate for 4th – 6th grade curriculum
Reserve your time slot now. Space is limited and is closed when filled.
Call 219-769-PARK, M-F 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

History books open wide and come to life as your students visit the 18th century. The Fur Trade Era is bustling with activity when you arrive. Your students will see how the French Voyageurs played an important role in early commerce and trade right here in Northwest Indiana. Native Americans traded furs while the Voyageurs, British, and French clashed over ownership of the land. There is plenty for students to see, hear and learn. They will feel like they just spent a day in the 18th century. You too, will enjoy jumping back into history! The tour is completely outside, so please remind your students to dress for the weather. Upon registration, teachers will be sent a confirmation packet, complete with pre or post activity sheets.


May 18, 2018 @ 8:00 am
May 20, 2018 @ 4:00 pm


Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park
21690 Range Line Road
Hebron, IN 46341 United States
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(219) 552-0033
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