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Voyageur celebration in Cloquet offers family fun on St. Louis River

Come and join the festivities at the 8th annual St. Louis River Historical Rendezvous, July 3-4. Celebrate the colorful fur trade history of the St. Louis River and the region.

Come and join the festivities at the 8th annual St. Louis River Historical Rendezvous, July 3-4. Celebrate the colorful fur trade history of the St. Louis River and the region.

This family-friendly festival features entertaining history activities for all ages. There is plenty of free parking at the festival site in Voyageur Park, Cloquet. (Follow the signs from Hwy 33 onto Cloquet Avenue.) Hours are Saturday, July 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, July 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Admission fees, good for the entire weekend, are $1 for children 8 to 12 years old, and adults 55 years and older and $2 for anyone 12 to 54 years old. Children 7 years old and under are free.

Organizers Ken and Bonnie Swanson created the event in 2003 to prepare for the Cloquet Centennial. Since then, the event has grown into a celebration of the area's rich and colorful history, especially the people who lived in and explored the region long before the communities we know today were established. According to Ken Swanson, "This is a really great event for anyone, young or old, who enjoys history."

More than 100 historic re enactors from across the region will gather to recreate life in the wilderness more than 150 years ago. Setting aside such modern conveniences as nylon tents and electric lanterns, these history buffs enjoy sleeping under canvas tents, cooking over open fires and sharing their knowledge of the fur traders that traveled the St. Louis River during the 1700s and 1800s.

According to Duluth resident and re-enactor Ben Kreidler, "I can't think of a better way to have fun and learn history at the same time! It's great for the whole family. Even my 88-year-old mother looks forward to coming along again this year."

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Festival visitors will be able to visit the camps of fur trade adventurers, explorers, traders and canoe men. They'll have the chance to trade with historic merchants, talk with historic characters and watch demonstrations of historic crafts such as cooking over an open fire, blacksmithing and wood carving. And for visitors with an interest in black powder shooting, there will continuous demonstrations of muzzle loaded weapons, such as trade guns, muskets and cannon of all sizes.

Each day, there will be a continuous schedule of special children's activities, including bead hunts, games of "cat-and-mouse," tomahawk throwing, candle dipping and firing of the famous "candy cannon." And don't forget to visit the camp of Bovey resident Kenny Hurlbut.

"If it's a musical instrument, Kenny plays it," explained event organizer Bonnie Swanson. "And as long as folks are gathered he'll play his tunes. I've yet to see him stumped by a request from a visitor."

Finally, everyone is invited to attend the ecumenical church services Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. and again at 9 a.m.

For further information, contact: Ken and Bonnie Swanson at 218-879-9151 (home), 218-390-8273 (cell), or by email: SuninNorth@aol.com

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