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Old Wadena Rendezvous is this weekend

Performers at the Old Wadena Rendezvous will include Eric Koskinen. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Old Wadena Rendezvous and Folklife Festival includes the best contemporary acoustic music and artisans demonstrating folk arts.

As always, there will be re-enactors helping to interpret the way it was in the fur trading era on the Crow Wing River at Old Wadena Park, just north of Staples, this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9-10.

Full schedule and map and directions are available at

Long time favorites Curtis and Loretta, plus hometown favorite Erik Koskinen are just two of the performers slated for the stage at this year’s event.

Also scheduled to appear are art-rock ensemble The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra and puppeteer Margo McCreary.

The Old Wadena Rendezvous schedule for the stage under the big tent will include the following:

Saturday, Aug. 9

  • Margo McCreary and “The On-Time Circus” puppet show, 12 noon. Ms. Tock has set out with her feisty dog, a flock of talented chickens, and tagalong mice in her quirky little trailer assembled from pieces of her past! Together they have a circus to perform. The On-Time Circus is up to the minute fun for family audiences! Puppets, clowning and live music, and songs make this show a must see.
  • Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, 1 and 2 p.m. Jazz-grass Art-rock  iss quite an accurate description of the band. Lisi grew up listening to classical, heavy metal, hard rock,  Dan is from Chattanooga and the best country picker in town, John’s coming from progressive rock, Jethro Tull, and The Beatles, and Billy’s all over the map… You never know what’s comin’ next!
  • Curtis & Loretta, 3 and 4 p.m. The Rendezvous welcomes back this talented vocal and instrumental duo. Curtis on guitar, mandolin, and Loretta on harp, and both also have great voices. They team up to present traditional songs and instrumentals from Britain and Ireland as well as compelling original tunes.

Fargo-based folk singer Amanda (Standalone) Nygard performs later that evening.

Sunday, Aug. 10

  • Pushing Chain, a duo featuring Boyd Blomberg and Adam Moe, 12 noon.Pushing Chain play original and traditional music and they are based in Grand Marais on the North Shore of Lake Superior.
  • Margo McCreary and “The On-Time Circus” puppet show, 1 p.m.
  • Boyd Blomberg, 2 p.m.
  • Barbara Jean, 3 p.m.
  • Erik Koskinen Band, 4 p.m.

The Old Wadena Society has sponsored the annual Old Wadena Rendezvous and Folk Music Festival for the past  24 years.

Their festival showcases two days of great music, storytelling for all, delicious food, and artists and artisans displaying their work.

This year a number of new demonstrators  and informational booths are planned for the grounds.

They will include, among many others, an archery demonstration, basic outdoor survival skills, and a “hands-on” BB gun demonstration time for young people.

The Rendezvous Festival includes the encampment of the Crow Wing Muzzleloaders Club. Outfitted in authentic period leather and linen, these men and women provide the nucleus of a camp of re-enactors who will demonstrate how fur traders lived in the 1840s. Tipi’s and canvas tents provide their only shelter.

The Muzzleloaders have been Old Wadena regulars since the rendezvous began.

Food vendors will be selling fry bread, candy and beverages. Artists and craftsmen expected include blacksmithing;  portrait/scenery painting on slab wood; wood carving, and others. 

Wadena County native Dick Oehlenschlager, an assistant curator at the Minnesota Science Museum in St. Paul, will present interesting information about the geology and ecology of the Old Wadena Park region.

There will be opportunities for kids to participate in making a birdhouse to take home and to play games from the 1800s.

Admission for adults 12 and over is $10 for one day, or $15 for both days. Kids 12 and under are admitted free. Maximum family admission is $25 for Saturday, $35 for both days.

The Rendezvous and Festival are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9-10.

The Rendezvous is made possible, in part, by support from Five Wings Arts Council, Wadena County, the Staples Host Lions Club and Old Wadena Society member volunteers.

Old Wadena Park is situated on the banks of the Crow Wing River. The park is north and west of Staples and north and east of the city of Wadena.

For updated information, go to

Directions: From Staples and Highway 10, take Fourth Street north or the overpass access road  at Second Street and head north toward the Central Lakes College main campus. Turn left onto County Road 2 at the CLC corner. Go west on County Road 2 two miles to County Road 29. Turn right on CR 29 and go 2.5 miles. Turn right on 140th St (gravel road). Go one-half mile to park entrance.

From Wadena, go east on U.S. 10 to Aldrich. Continue past Aldrich and turn left on County Road 26. At County Road 2, go right. At County Road 29, turn left. Go 2.5 miles to 140th St. Turn right on 140th St., one-half mile to park entrance.

From Nimrod and Sebeka, come south on County Road 26, turn east at 160th Street (CR 5) and go about three miles to the Thomastown Church corner, turn south on CR 29 and drive to 140th Street to the signs indicating Old Wadena Park is to your left.