Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Alafia River Rendezvous - January 26th, 2013

Since I have not been posting like I should be... I started going through the camera and realized that I never posted about the Alafia River Rendezvous. The Rendezvous is a huge encampment of reenactors that meet in January each year in Homeland, FL (Its a little town between Bartow and Fort Meade off Hwy 17).

I really wanted to go and Aaron had agreed to come along... well, last minute, he got stuck having to work... Usually when Aaron is working, I can convince Laurie to come along with me and the boys... she happened to be busy and couldnt come along. So after thinking it over, I decided that the boys and I could go alone. It was definitely a challenge, but Im very happy that we went.

The last weekend of the reenactment are the "spectator" days... since this was my first time going, I didnt realize just how many people attended... Let me tell you... get there early, lol. We arrived around 10am and still had to walk about a mile to the gate.

Walking toward the entrance :)

Once we were inside, it was like a different world... a magical, wonderful world. Everyone was wearing "period" clothing and living as they would have during pioneer times... I didnt mention it, but the people who come to reenact at the Rendezvous live on site for almost two weeks as the pioneers would have. There were little white tents off in the distance, and you can walk right up to their "homes"... Everyone was super friendly and we found a ton of treasures.

 All the tents...

There were larger tents sent up for vendors to sell their things... and it got pretty overwhelming with all the people, shiny objects, and two little ones. I decided that after walking about half way down the first row, we needed to find something to keep the kids occupied and "happy"... so we stumbled upon a candy store... they had about 12 different flavors of licorice and I couldnt help but get a huge bag... it kept the kids quiet for a bit too, lol.

When I turned around to see which way we should walk next, I happened to look down a row of tents and spotted it... a spinning wheel... I was pushing the stroller as fast as I could to get over to the tent... The lady inside had set up a table in front of her camp to sell a few small things... of course I didnt need another spinning wheel... but she did have some fiber :) There was hemp, cotton, and flax... things that I had never tried and had actually had a semi hard time getting my hands on. Once I started asking about prices, I almost screamed with excitement. She told me they were 1/2 off the listed price... well since she had bought the stuff at least 10 years earlier... I got each bag for about $.50... talk about a bargain. I ended up leaving her tent with over a lb of misc. fiber, a bag of bobbin lace bobbins, and two spinning wheel bobbins that she just didnt need. Apparently she was a fiber teacher at one point in time and was getting out of it. We stayed and talked to her, and I left with a gigantic smile on my face.

We ended up walking through all of the camps, just because of that first tent... I did manage to find some 100% hemp yarn (which is a lot different that macrame cord), some crewel embroidery yarn, antler buttons, and some other odds and ends.

On the other side of the encampment, there were more stores and tents... so we started trekking along... The sun was beating down and the kids were getting crabby, but we managed to deal with it... and happened upon two ladies weaving a shawl on a triangle loom. I had actually gotten a triangle loom the weekend before from Laurie at the fiber guild, so I was pretty intrigued to see someone actually working on one. We talked for a bit and they showed me what they were doing so that I could go home and "practice".

The ladies working on their shawl

A finished shawl in front of their camp

I was looking for a lady I had met at a craft fair the year before and finally found her tent. Terri Davies is her name... she and her husband (Mr. Monty) run Mr. Monty's Toy Emporium and they sell period dated toys to the kids... She told me that she would be out at the Rendezvous and that I should come find her... I saw some toys up ahead of us, and I knew they must be Terri's... she was in the back of her tent with a ton of people around and spotted me right off the bat. We chatted for a bit and I got recruited to do a reenactment in Fort Meade (The Battle of Bowlegs Creek) doing drop spindling :)

She had told me that the Bair Family camp was up ahead and that I should check it out... you see Margaret Bair is a friend from the fiber guild (she is 92 yrs old) and her family had been setting up at he Rendezvous for years. I found a sign that read "Bear Clan" and started laughing... it just had to be the camp... sure enough it was... Martha Bair (Margaret's daughter in law) was sitting inside and started talking to me and boys as if she had known us for years. Bill Bair, her husband, was working on carving some wood and everyone was in a super cheery mood.

Bill in the background (blue shirt) hard at work

Bill and Martha talking to guests

We started to head toward the front and decided that it was about time to head home. We were only there for about 4 hours, but the heat and sand (with a stroller) was a little more than I had planned on. The kids were getting really hot and needed to take naps anyways. We headed back home and I couldnt wait to show everyone my "treasures"... Im looking forward to going again next year and trying to make this a tradition for the kids to enjoy!


  1. I love 'pioneer day' events like this. I went to one a few years ago but can't for the life of me remember where it was. (yes I am 'directionally challenged'). I think I'll subscribe to your blog so I can find out about these events that interest me, but that I never seem to hear about in time! : )

    1. This one was amazing... I took the boys and it was a lot of work, but man did I have a great time... I am hoping to attend in 2014... and hopefully remind you :)