Turning back the clock at the 43rd annual Sugar Grove Rendezvous
Observing from a hill above a tent village as a few villagers shoot muzzleloaders in your direction might make one feel unwelcome. But entering the village from the main gate led to a village full of conversation, game- playing, campfire cooking and just the aroma of sulphur from the black powder of the muzzleloaders.
The 43rd Eastern Primitive Rendezvous is being held at 2911 Stoney Run Road, Sugar Grove. It is being hosted by the National Rendezvous and Living History Foundation. The non-profit event runs through Saturday.
The event requires all participants to wear primitive attire and sleep in primitive tents dated 1840 or before.
Approximately six buses of students from throughout Warren County toured the village on Tuesday and learned about life prior to any of the modern conveniences they have grown up with.
Ron “Turtle” Yost has participated in the event for seven or eight years. Yost told the students that each camper has a camp name. His is “Turtle.” Another camper told some students it can take up to 10 years to earn a camp name.
On Tuesday, he shared some of his knowledge of the many uses for turtle shells with groups of students. “Native Americans thought turtles were magical because they have 13 scales on their shell,” he told them.
Yost also spoke about different types of turtles. When he asked how many students had been around snapping turtles, nearly every hand went up. He advised them to be cautious if they find one.
Nearby, Phil “Dogface” demonstrated primitive styles of woodworking. Dogface explained that his camp name came from a Shawnee warrior who said, “only a dog would have hair on is face.”
Kahle Kuzminski, a fourth grade student at Eisenhower Elementary School helped pump a pedal with his foot to spin string around the wood. Several other students also tried the skill as they played the role of apprentice woodworker.
Another group of students gathered on the ground around a tent as a spoon-wielding villager described calling them in from their morning chores to serve them porridge. Once the students listed some toppings like fruit or maple syrup, the concept of porridge for breakfast seemed more appetizing.
The event continues through Saturday, Sept. 28. The public is welcome to visit the Sutler area of the camp from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There is a suggested donation of $5 per visitor. Children age 12 and under are free as well as active service personnel with valid ID.