Rendezvous on the River kicks off Wednesday

PARKERSBURG – A visit to Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park is like stepping back to another century and another dimension will be added with the gathering of mountain men and other pioneers for the first event of the island’s 2013 summer season.

The annual “Rendezvous on the River” will be from May 8 to 11 on Blennerhassett Island, the first special event schedule for this year, following the season opening on May 1.

The rendezvous, put on by the West Virginia Muzzleloaders Association and Blennerhassett Island, recreates the frontier life of the 18th and 19th centuries through authentic camps, demonstrations and period costumes.

There is no charge for visits to the Rendezvous camp and demonstrations. Blennerhassett Island can only be reached by sternwheeler from Point Park in downtown Parkersburg. Tickets are available at the Blennerhassett Museum at Second and Juliana streets in downtown Parkersburg.

The boat ride is $9 for adults and $7 for children ages 3-12. Admission to the Blennerhassett Mansion is $4 for adults and $2 for children ages 3-12. Wagon rides are $5 for all ages.

The island is open from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday.

During the Rendezvous, there are individuals and families on the island in period camps doing fire building with flint and steel, outdoor cooking, playing kids games and making crafts. There will also be gun builders and tomahawk- and knife-throwing demonstrations, said organizers.

Parkersburg residents Bernie and Charlotte Potter have been participating in the Blennerhassett Island event for about 10 years. Bernie has been a pioneer re-enactor since the mid-1970s, traveling to many different states, with Charlotte joining him about 17 years ago.

“You can go as a mountain man, a pioneer or an Indian. (Bernie) usually goes as mountain man and I usually go as a pioneer,” Charlotte Potter said, adding that for a period of years they adopted Native American personas and had a tepee they would put up during rendezvous events.

For more information contact the park office at (304) 420-4800.