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Annual Fort Atkinson Rendezvous Sept. 23-24

Step back in time, to life in the 1840s, Sept. 23-24 at the Annual Fort Atkinson Rendezvous.

The event takes place at the historic Fort Atkinson State Preserve, in Winneshiek County.

This year’s rendezvous will focus on the powder magazine or house, located in the southeast corner of the fort used to store gun and cannon powder in the 1840s.

Weekend activities begin with a 5K run/walk at 8:30 a.m. Race day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The fort and rendezvous open to the public Saturday at 9:30 a.m. 

Throughout the weekend, visitors can experience cannon drills, anvil shoots, period instruments and music, a flint and steel contest, primitive bow shoot, 1840s kid’s games, cooking contest, melodrama and a bullwhip contest. 

All participants wear clothes and uniforms of the 1840s and have trade blankets on display with thousands of period artifacts such as guns, tomahawks, knives, cannons, furs and supplies. Period crafts of all types are demonstrated throughout the weekend.

The fort closes Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and reopens Sunday at 9 a.m. with similar activities. The weekend event closes at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Fort Atkinson was an active military post for the expanding United States from 1840 to 1849. The purpose of the fort was to keep the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribe on neutral ground in the Iowa Territory and to keep peace on the frontier between the Ho-Chunk, Sioux, Sauk and Meskwaki tribes and Euro-American settlers.

The fort was acquired by the State of Iowa in 1921 and the Fort Atkinson State Preserve Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

For more information about the rendezvous and history of the fort, visit The weekend rendezvous activities are sponsored by the Friends of Fort Atkinson and the Iowa DNR and are free and open to the public.

The rendezvous will host local school children and the media on Sept. 22.