Frequently Asked Questions


Commonly asked questions about
The 18th Annual Big Island Rendezvous & Festival
Albert Lea, Minnesota

When is the Big Island Rendezvous?

Rendezvous Facts

What is the Big Island Rendezvous

What Are Some Activities During the Big Island Rendezvous?


Arts & Crafts

Large Tipi & Primitive Encampment

Food & Beverage

Children's Atmosphere

Where Is The Rendezvous Located?

Who Runs The Rendezvous?

What Are Some of the Highlights for the Next Rendezvous?


Historical Exhibits & Reenactments

Parades & Drills

Working Animals

Tomahawk & Knife Throwing Competition

Blackpowder Shooting Competition

Voyageur Camp

Stage Entertainment

How Much Does it Cost?

Advance Tickets

Can You Handle Motorcoach Tours?

When is the Big Island Rendezvous? 

In the fall during the colorful foliage season!  Rendezvous is always the first Saturday and Sunday in October. (October 4-5, 2003 and October 2-3, 2004). Rendezvous opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

What is the Big Island Rendezvous?

The Minnesota Office of Tourism voted The Big Island Rendezvous one of the state's “Top 25 Festivals.”  It is a celebration of history during the fur trade period (1650 - 1840) and early America (1750-1870) including the Civil War Era and Pioneer Settlement (1840-1880).

What Are Some Activities During The Big Island Rendezvous?

Entertainment: The festival hosts different performance areas with music and dance continuously throughout both days. The entrance stage has a sound system adjacent to the food court area. The musicians minstrel around the grounds to give a more intimate performance to smaller audiences under the trees. Bluegrass, old time country, and Cajun music are the type of performances presented.

Arts & Crafts: Fully costumed re-enactors display and sell their wares. Artisans from 8 states attend including craftspersons and crafts such as blacksmithing, candle making, weaving and spinning, woodworking, clothing makers, painters, stoneware and porcelain pottery, scrimshaw, gunsmithing, birch bark canoes and furniture building. All types of colonial period trades and products are sold and various skills of the artists are demonstrated each day.

Large Tipi and Primitive Encampment: Over 250 tents and campfires created 12 acres of “atmosphere” in which to shop and listen to the entertainment. Over 1,000 “living history” re-enactors carry on their day-to-day lifestyle, as it would have been done over 200 years ago in the New World. No modernisms are allowed on site so you see no vehicles or modern plastic tentage. You literally step back in time into a “wilderness” of history.

Food & Beverage: various community groups and individuals offer a huge selection of specialty foods. You will find food here that you would not fix at home, such as the most popular kettle korn and buffalo, fry bread, homemade root beer, roast pork, beef, and funnel cakes. There is also wild rice soup, and smoked turkey legs. Be sure and visit the Colonial Inn for music and root beer and kettle korn snack.

Children's Atmosphere: All types of activities and excitement are there for the children to enjoy. There are theatre, games, drills, and ceremonies, voyageur camps, and tipi tours. There is more than enough for the entire family to participate in each day.

Where is the Rendezvous Located?

It is located in a city park in Albert Lea, Minnesota. All visitors park at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds and are taken, AT NO CHARGE, by shuttle service to the Rendezvous grounds less than two miles away Take Exit 157 off of Interstate 90 (just west of Interstate 35) and follow the signs.

Who Runs the Rendezvous?

The Big Island Rendezvous is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors, has year-round volunteer staff, and a downtown office in Albert Lea, 143 West Clark. The festival is helped by hundreds of volunteers & community organizations to make the event a reality. Thousands of dollars are raised each year with this event that helps with scholarships and other services in the area.

What Are Some of the Highlights for the Next Rendezvous?

Music:  Nationally known Cajun Strangers from Madison, Wisconsin, Gibson, Martin and I from Canada, Dick Kimmel and, Bob Bovee and Gail Heil, Hinkley and Larson, and Adam Granger from the Powder Milk Biscuit Band who performed on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion.

Historical Exhibits & Reenactments:  Baby Brown Swiss Oxen will be on display in a living history format. Also Fair Wynds 18th Century Entertainments plus costumed “characters” of the 17th and18th century will entertain you throughout the site.

Parades and Drills:  Re-enactors “strut and show-off” around the grounds and create a very festive atmosphere.

Working Animals: Horses and oxen are shown pulling wagons and hauling cargo just as it was done in the 1800’s.

Tomahawk & Knife Throwing Competition:  Participants see who are the most accurate and consistent in throwing fur trade period “hawks” and knives at a target no larger than a playing card.

Blackpowder Shooting Competition:  Marksmen from throughout the Midwest will compete for prizes. One type of event is shooting a lead ball (musket or muzzle loading gun) at an ax head and in ONE shot (one lead ball) the person hits BOTH targets set up on each side of the ax head.

Voyageur Camp:  Listen to songs and challenge the voyageurs to “cat and mouse” or see birch bark canoes.

Stage Entertainment:  Bands, duos, and solos from throughout the United States perform each day. You can sit and eat a varied menu while you listen to your favorite performer under the shade of a bright orange and red oak tree.

How Much Does It Cost?

Admission to the Rendezvous, including all the before-mentioned events and parking and shuttle service, is $8 for adults and $5 for children 6-11 years of age. Children 5 years and younger are free. A Family Pass can be purchased for $24 at the gate.

Advance Tickets are available. For information and an order form, write to:

The Big Island Rendezvous
143 West Clark
Albert Lea, MN, 56007

 You may also call toll free 1-800-658-2526. Adult tickets are $6 in advance and children tickets are $4. This is a rain or shine event. Sorry, no refunds on advanced tickets. Admissions tickets can be used on any day or all the same day.

Can You Handle Motorcoach Tours?

Most definitely!! We will give motorcoach operators discounts on admissions plus free admission to drivers and escorts. Step on guides are available with advance notice. There is a special drop off and pick up zone in the heart of the Rendezvous. Accessibility to the site and facilities such as restrooms and grounds is unlimited for all types of special needs or populations.



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