2016 Old Wadena Rendezvous and Folklife Festival

2016 marks the 26th annual Old Wadena Rendezvous and Folklife Festival, a celebration through storytelling, theater, music, dance, and art of the region's past and of its rich cultural inheritance. The Festival is held on the grounds of the beautiful Old Wadena County Historical Park on the banks of the Crow Wing River.
This year's Festival will be Saturday and Sunday, August 13 & 14. Gates open both days at 10 am and admission is $10 for both days of the Festival with kids 12 and under admitted free if accompanied by an adult. Family groups of any size are admitted with one low $20 entrance fee.
There will be a fur traders village complete with blacksmith shop and of course the justly famous "Baby's Fry Bread" tent with the world's best fry bread featuring bannock, chicken cordon bleu, or fruit fillings. Guests can order plain fry bread or one with a dash of cinnamon sugar. And this year Pierre will bring Blue Frog Traders back to the Festival grounds with Blue Frog's great store full of treasures of the fur trade era.
Local naturalist Dick Oehlenschlager will provide interpretive talks about the flora and fauna of the region as well as guided tours along the park's "bog walk" interpretive trail. You can practice throwing a tomahawk or shooting a B B gun, or build a bluebird house. All of this is included in the low admission price.
Artisans will demonstrate a host of fascinating crafts, including pottery making, woodworking and wood carving, lace making, dried flower arranging, leather work, blacksmithing, painting, and basket making.
And some of the best musical entertainment in the region will be held under the big tent with comfortable seating providing a great chance to meet the musicians up close. In past years we have featured musical groups like Monroe Crossing and this year will include wonderful acoustic music as well. Puppeteer Margo McCreary's "On Time Circus" puppet show will return to enchant kids and adults alike. All the information, including directions to Old Wadena Park, is available on the Festival website at www.oldwadnarendezvous.org.


The annual meeting of Old Wadena Society will take place Sunday, April 10, at the BullsEye Restaurant in Verndale. A special buffet dinner will be available at noon followed by the program and meeting at 1:00 p.m. Program speaker is Clarence Horsager, Wadena County area historian presenting "A Piece of History".

Mr Horsager, a University of Minnesota graduate, has been active for decades in researching and preserving the history of the area. He is a former president of the Verndale Historical Society, the old Wadena County Wheat Trail runs through his farm, and he continues to give museum and history tours of the area.

Election of Old Wadena Society board members will follow the program.

The 26th annual Old Wadena Rendezvous and Folk Life Festival will be held August 13-14, 2016 at Old Wadena Park, five miles north west of Staples.


See Gary and Dawn Timbs at this year's Old Wadena Festival
See Gary and Dawn Timbs this year
at the 2015 Old Wadena Festival!

Welcome to Old Wadena

The Old Wadena Society sponsors the annual Old Wadena Rendezvous and Folklife Festival every August in the Old Wadena Park as part of its mission to share information about the natural environment and history of this area of north-central Minnesota. The park is situated on the banks of the Crow Wing River, one of the best canoe rivers in Minnesota. The festival showcases two days of great acoustic music, storytelling for all, Anishinaabe dance and drum, Rendezvouers demonstrating 1840s skills and living coniditions, and artists and artisans displaying their work. In addition the Society carries out other educational and interpretive work about the environment and history of the region.

Our location

A map and directions to Old Wadena County Historic Park will help you get to the park. Its location on the Crow Wing River between the Crow Wing's confluence with the Partridge and the Leaf Rivers in north-central Minnesota was an important hunting and trapping area for Indians and later for the French. Today the park is the centerpiece to a string of parks with campsites along the Crow Wing River in Wadena County. The Park is north and west of Staples and north and east of the city of Wadena in Wadena County.