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Historic Fort Atkinson State Preserve Comes Alive, Sept 24-25

  • 9/13/2016 12:56:00 PM
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Hundreds of soldiers, buckskinners, craft demonstrators, hunters, trappers and traders will recreate life in the 1840s, Sept 24-25 at the 40th Annual Fort Atkinson Rendezvous.

The event takes place at the historic Fort Atkinson State Preserve, located in northeast Iowa’s Winneshiek County. The fort and rendezvous open to the public Saturday at 9:30 a.m. 

Saturday’s activities begin with a cannon drill and include an anvil shoot, open shooting in the quarry, a flint and steel contest, primitive bow shoot, 1840s kid’s games, cooking contest, melodrama and a bullwhip contest.  The fort will close Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and reopen Sunday at 9 a.m. with similar activities and an old-time church service to start the day. The fort will close on Sunday at 3:45 p.m.

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.

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 became part of the State Preserves system in 1968.

This year’s rendezvous recognizes those who have developed, led and participated in the rendezvous over the past 40 years and offers a commemorative medallion for sale at the event.

For more information about the rendezvous and history of the fort, visit or  The weekend rendezvous activities are free and open to the public.