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41st annual Bloody Lake Rendezvous open to public May 6-8

WOODFORD — A time portal opens, just outside of quiet Woodford, once a year beginning Tuesday of the week that includes the first full weekend of May. This year is no different. Tuesday, May 3 will be a busy day at Blackhawk Memorial County Park as historical re-enactors from all over the country gather at the entry point to the portion claimed by Yellowstone Flint and Cap, Inc. (YFC). 

YFC members will have already set-up their primitive tents and tipis so they are free to help newcomers and returning participants find a place to be their home for the next six days. In a matter of hours, the open fields surrounded by tall trees are transformed into a community of early American history, whose citizens live the pre-1840 lifestyle in every possible way.  

The gathering is many things all at once — reunion, competition, adventure, history lesson, party, place to learn new skills, make new friends, and peaceful departure from modern life. Motor vehicles are gone. Cooking is by campfire and lanterns light the evening paths.

Competition includes black powder shooting of rifles and pistols, primitive archery, tomahawk and knife throwing, fire starting, and pie baking. Shopping or trading stories and equipment are part of the fun. No t-shirts or ball caps. Everyone is dressed in the period attire of the persona they portray which can be any time from 1600 to 1839. There are “mountain men,” Native Americans, fur traders, voyageurs, pioneers, settlers, colonial militia, camp followers, and families. Children are entertained with the simpler pastimes of swing, stick and hoop and other games.  

If you enjoy visiting historic sites with period attired interpreters, and thought you might find that rewarding, YFC would be a great place to begin. Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the day, the public can visit the encampment.  Friday is Schools Day. Several area schools, and home school groups will visit, try their hand at tomahawk throwing, and enjoy demonstrations of pre-1840 skills. The general public can visit the encampment Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a small charge (scouts in uniform, veterans, and children 12 and under admitted free). The public is encouraged to take a leisurely stroll, shop at the vendors, try black powder shooting, and ask questions of the participants. 

When the visitors depart, the magic returns, and participants enjoy living the pre-1840 life as if they’ve gone back in time Tuesday through Thursday and Friday and Saturday evenings, when not a ball cap, car or cell phone is seen. For more information call 608-482-2483 or visit the Yellowstone Flint and Cap Club Facebook page.