Rendezvous coming Aug. 12-13 at Old Wadena Park
This weekend on a scenic bluff overlooking the Crow Wing River, the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era will once again come alive during the Old Wadena Society's 27th annual Rendezvous and Folklife Festival.
Held each year at the Old Wadena County Park, located just north of Staples, the event features a mix of re-enactors staging an authentic gathering of trappers or muzzle-loading "buck skinners" along with a variety of folk music and demonstrations of folk arts, including a blacksmith, wreath making, rope braiding, pottery and several other similar crafts.
This Old Wadena entertainment lineup includes several favorites from past years. Headlining the Old Wadena stage are John Gorka on Sunday and Dawn and Gary Timbs on Saturday. As usual, everyone will be under tents in case of inclement weather.
Gorka is back after a tremendous program a year ago. A transplant from New England, he told the Old Wadena audience that he moved to Minnesota years ago to escape the cold New England winters. A veteran singer/songwriter with 11 well-received albums, he's performed on stage for Austin City Limits and Mountain Stage. .
The duet of Gary and Dawn (Schimp) Timbs has performed on numerous stages around Staples and surrounding area, beginning about ten years ago. That was when Dawn returned to her home town and with her came her husband, Gary, a native of the Deep South and a veteran of Nashville and many other stages. They put their special touch on country, bluegrass and gospel favorites, as well as their original songs.
Another tremendous performing duo are Curtis and Loretta, who return with their amazing stringed instruments and talent to match. They are back Saturday for their ump-teeth time on the Old Wadena stage.
New this year will be the Erik Koskinen Band, a group sure to please with a blend of folk, country and blues sounds, not unlike music from Woody Guthrie and others.
Also back this year will be the popular Margo McCreary Puppet Show. Their show is fun for family audiences, with puppets clowning and live music. They will also do puppet and story telling workshops during each day.
Old Wadena Society members this year made a special effort to expand the number of artisans on hand and several new demonstrators are expected. On Saturday only, birch bark canoe builder Grant Goltz of the Longville area, will be demonstrating aspects of his craft, an ancient art practiced for centuries along the Crow Wing River. Also expected are people doing candle dipping, bee keeping and corn husk doll making. There will be opportunities for kids to participate in making a birdhouse to take home and to play games from the 1800s with the Crow Wing Muzzleloaders members.
Check out the OWS website (oldwadenarendezvous.org) for a full listing of entertainers and artisans expected to attend.
Again this year free bus rides by the Wadena County Friendly Rider bus service are offered both Saturday and Sunday. Starting at 10 a.m., people in Staples can have a bus pick them up by calling (218)631-5730. In Wadena, pickups will be on the hour at the Humphrey Manor and the Wadena Depot (with ample parking available). Return rides to either Staples or Wadena will be made every half hour starting at 10:30 a.m.
Wadena County native Dick Oehlenschlager, an assistant curator at the Minnesota Science Museum in St. Paul, will be on hand, talking about his artifact collection If time allows, he could be giving walking tours of the park area with interesting information about the biology of Wadena County.
Admission is $10 per person per day, with kids 10 and under free. There will be a maximum $30 admission for any family. The grounds at the Rendezvous and Folk Festival are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Rendezvous is made possible, in part, by support from partners including Five Wings Arts Council, Wadena County and Todd Wadena Electric's Operation Round Up. Additional Rendezvous sponsors include First International Bank and Trust, Mid-Central Federal Savings Bank, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, Unity Bank, all in Staples; Wadena Slate Bank and StarBank, Verndale. Members of the Old Wadena Society provide volunteer labor and funding.
The Old Wadena Park a beautiful, natural setting on the banks of the Crow Wing River, off Old Wadena Circle. The park is about seven miles north and west of Staples and about 20 miles east of Wadena city.
Directions: From Staples, go north by either the new overpass road (County Road 21) from Highway 10; or take 4th Street north and turn left at Warner Road. At the Central Lakes College corner, turn left on Wadena County Road 2. Go west two miles to County Road 29. Turn right and go 2.5 miles. Turn right on 140th St. (gravel road). Go ½ mile to park entrance on Old Wadena Circle.
From Wadena, go east on U.S. 10 to Aldrich. Continue 1-1/2 miles past Aldrich and turn left on Wadena County Road 26. At County Road 2, go right approximately three miles and at County Road 29, turn left. Go 2.5 miles to 140th St. Turn right on gravel 140th St, ½ mile to park entrance.