A horse in a green grassy field with a large camp of canvas tipis behind it and a white walled structure in the background.
Rendezvous Camp with Horse Grazing on Prairie Grasses.

NPS Photo/Emily Sunblade

Fort Union Rendezvous

Our next scheduled Rendevous is June 13-16, 2024. Join us and celebrate a 19th Century Fur Trade Fair that includes a variety of period arts, crafts, and music.

This annual gathering is our largest event, a time when Fort Union comes alive and best reflects the busy trade season. Over 100 Re-enactors from across the country and Canada every third weekend in June demonstrating traditional skills and lifeways.

Advertising Poster; From top to bottom; Sky blue background merges into a photo of a man in a historic striped short and top hat talking to a group of people. Beneath that is a rectangle photo of a man on horseback in feathered headdress.
40th Annual Fort Union Rendezvous

NPS Photo

Visitor Information

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is set to come alive with the sights, sounds, and excitement of the American Frontier during the annual Rendezvous. From June 15-18, 2023, visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to experience the rich history and vibrant culture of the fur trade era. The Fort Union Rendezvous promises to transport attendees to a bygone era, immersing them in the lifestyle and traditions of early explorers, trappers, and Native American tribes. This living history event has become a staple for history enthusiasts, families, and adventurers alike, offering a unique educational and entertaining experience for all.

New for 2023 – The special headliner on June 16-17 is Michael Bad Hand. Experience the vibrant culture of the Upper Missouri Tribes with renowned historian and reenactor Michal Bad Hand, members of the Crow Nation, and their horses. Learn about the customs, traditions, horse culture, and history of the Indigenous peoples who played a vital role in the fur trade era.

Highlights of the Fort Union Rendezvous – Witness thrilling reenactments of significant events from the fur trade era including demonstrations of black powder shooting and trade negotiations. Discover the craftsmanship of yesteryear as artisans demonstrate traditional skills such as blacksmithing, pottery, spinning and weaving, and frontier cooking. Shop with our many historical vendors.

Admission and parking are free.


2023 Rendezvous Schedule

40th Annual Fort Union Rendezvous, June 15-18, 2023
All times Central Daylight Time (CDT)
Park Hours, Visitor Center & Traders Row Hours of Operations 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM CDT
Camp and Demonstration Hours of Operations 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM CDT

Kids Day Activities

From 10:00 am to 2:00 pm explore Fort Union while playing Kids Day Tic-Tac-Toe! Learn about the history of Fort Union at each Kids Day demonstration, answer a special question to receive a special buffalo stamp. Fill up your Kids Day Tic-Tac-Toe sheet with 3 buffalo stamps in a row, column, or diagonal and bring it back to the information desk for a prize. The Kids Day demonstrations stations are:

1. Blacksmithing at our Blacksmith shop

2. Spinning/Weaving on Trader’s Row

3. Frontier Cooking in Rendezvous Camp

4. Fur Trading/Sign Language in RendezvousCamp

5. Buffalo Robe Tanning at the Hunter’s Shack

6. Canoes in Rendezvous Camp

7. Fort Hunter in Rendezvous Camp

8. Corn Husk Dolls in the Kitchen (Behind Bourgeois House)

9. Pottery under the Rendezvous Camp Awning

All times Central Daylight Time (CDT)
9:00-5:00       Visitor Center & Traders Row Hours of Operations 
10:00-4:00     Camp and Demonstration Hours of Operations 
9:30-4:00       Blacksmithing (Blacksmith Shop)
10:00-2:00     Kids Day (Courtyard) 
10:00-4:00     Jeff Brown, Canoes of The Fur Trade (Camp Site)    
 2:00              Billy Maxwell, Hide Demonstrations (Hunter's Shack)
 3:00              Rod Douglas, Bagpipes (Camp and Courtyard)
 4:00              Chris Floyd, Metis Fort Hunter (Camp Site)                                     
 4:30              Terry Madden, Frontier Cooking (Camp Site) 

All times Central Daylight Time (CDT)
  9:00-5:00    Visitor Center & Traders Row Hours of Operations 
10:00-4:00    Camp and Demonstration Hours of Operations 
10:00-4:00    Blacksmithing (Blacksmith Shop)
10:00-4:00   Jeff Brown, Canoes of the Fur Trade (Camp Site)
11:00-4:00    Michael Bad Hand, “Plains Indian Culture” (Park Grounds) 
11:00-4:00   Gordon Lucht, Pottery Making (Camp Awning)
11:00-4:00   Billy Maxwell, Hide Demonstrations (Hunter's Shack)
 11:00           Trade Scene, Special Presentation with Michael Bad Hand (Courtyard)
11:00            Mark Morain, Gunsmithing (Camp Site)
12:00           Rod Douglas, Cultural Demonstrations (Camp Site)
  1:30           Amanda Watson, Yarn Spinning (Camp Site)
  2:00           Trade Scene, Special Presentation with Michael Bad Hand (Courtyard)
  3:00           Terry Madden, Frontier Cooking (Camp Site)
  3:30           Chris Floyd, Fort Hunter (Camp Site)
  4:00           Erik and Arty on the Upper Missouri, Period Music (Camp Awing)

All times Central Daylight Time (CDT) 
9:00-5:00      Visitor Center & Traders Row Hours of Operations 
10:00-4:00    Camp and Demonstration Hours of Operations
10:00-4:00    Jeff Brown, Canoes of The Fur Trade (Camp Site)
11:00-4:00    Blacksmithing (Blacksmith Shop)   
11:00-4:00    Michael Bad Hand, “Plains Indian Culture” (Park Grounds)
11:00-4:00    Billy Maxwell Hide Presentations (Hunter's Shack)       
11:00-4:00    Gordon Lucht, Pottery Making (Camp Awning)
 11:00           Trade Scene, Special Presentation with Michael Bad Hand (Courtyard)
 1:00             Terry Madden, Frontier Cooking (Camp Site)  
 1:30             Chris Floyd, Fort Hunter (Camp Site)     
 2:00             Trade Scene, Special Presentation with Michael Bad Hand (Courtyard)
 2:00             Amanda Watson, Spinning Wheel (Camp Site)
 2:30             Rod Douglas, Cultural Demonstrations (Camp Site)     
 3:00             Erik and Arty on the Upper Missouri, Period Music (Camp Awning)
 4:00             Mark Morain, Gunsmithing (Camp Site)

All times Central Daylight Time (CDT) 
9:00-5:00       Visitor Center & Traders Row Hours of Operations 
10:00-4:00     Camp and Demonstration Hours of Operations 
10:00-1:00     Gordon Lucht, Pottery Making (Camp Awning)                       
11:00-3:00     Blacksmith (Blacksmith Shop) 
11:00-4:00     Billy Maxwell, Hide Presentations (Hunter's Shack)
12:00             Rod Douglas, Bagpiping (Courtyard)
12:30             Mark Morain, Gunsmithing (Camp Site)
 1:30              Terry Madden, Frontier Cooking (Camp Site) 
 2:00              Chris Floyd, Fort Hunter (Camp Site)    
 3:00               Amanda Watson, Spinning Wheel (Camp Site)               
 4:00              Fort Staff, Flintlock Firing Demonstration (Riverbank)


Participant Information

Are you interested in participating in the Fort Union Rendezvous? Please first read the full Safety and Authenticity Standards for Fort Fort Union Trading Post NHS, and then contact site Volunteer In Parks Coordinator Lisa Sanden at 701-572-1029 x218 or for more information.

Basic Information
The staff at Fort Union Trading Post NHS seeks a historically accurate depiction of life at Fort Union Trading Post NHS. To that end, certain standards are expected of all participants.

Gear and Clothing
We concentrate on the period 1828-1867. Clothing, camp equipment and materials should be representative of that period.
The primary focus of Rendezvous events is to portray and re-create of historic lifeways and material culture; including activities, camping equipment, fashion, and weapons, common on the Northern Plains during Fort Union's period of significance. We ask that you make friendly, personal contacts with our visitors. Such contacts will help create an interactive learning event.

Interpretive Themes
All interpretation should illustrate the interactions between American Indians from the Upper Missouri Tribes (Assiniboine, Crow, Blackfeet, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara and Lakota and Dakota Sioux); the tribes and Euro-Americans (American Fur Company employees, trappers, independent traders, hunters, rivermen, missionaries, slaves, visiting artists and scientists, military personnel, etc.); and among Euro-Americans who lived in, worked or traded at, or visited Fort Union in the early to mid-19th century. You can help our visitors understand what daily activities these people engaged in, what problems and challenges each of them faced, and how they may have dealt with them. You can use your experiences to help bring to life the fur trade story of Fort Union Trading Post.
This event is cosponsored by the National Park Service and the Friends of Fort Union Trading Post, of Williston, North Dakota.
The Fort Union Muzzle Loaders Association will assist the Park Service in policing the camp site.
All participants must sign a VIP volunteer agreement in order to participate and/or camp at Rendezvous.
Help protect and preserve this site's history and resources for future visitors' education and enjoyment while ensuing your own and current visitors' safety.

2023 Campfire Regulations:

  1. Campfire are allowed at Rendezvous within the mown area of camp only.

    • Fire pits are no longer allowed at Fort Union. In order to minimize impacts to fragile archeological areas, disturbing the soils or sediments for any reason is prohibited.

    • When setting up camp, please completely encircle your fire area with the available rocks and place a firm layer of sand within the circle to completely cover any exposed ground. Sand will be provided in the Rendezvous area.

    • Fires may be built to the size necessary for cooking purposes only.

    • Even if there are no active fire bans in camp, please be careful with all fire and flame, including candles.

    • Do not leave a burning fire unattended at any time.

    • Fire extinguishers, water cans and flappers will be stationed at all firewood pallets.

  2. Braziers - Braziers are allowed in camp.

    • Fort Union has many braziers available for volunteer use, see fort staff to check one out.
    • Hardwood coal will be provided for braziers.
  3. Self-contained gas or propane fires are allowed
  • Camp stoves must be small table-top sized, no large BBQ grills will be allowed
  • Must be hidden similar to all non-period items during the day
  • Cannot be left unattended while in use (while a flame in present).


Digital Rendezvous - Kids Day

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    Last updated: January 11, 2024

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    Contact Info

    Mailing Address:

    15550 Highway 1804
    Williston, ND 58801


    701 572-9083

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