By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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SEQUIM — A field south of Sequim will be transformed into an early 19th-century trading fair this weekend, with archery, primitive long-gun shoots, storytelling, music and other events early Olympic Peninsula settlers would have enjoyed.
The Green River Mountain Men's annual Black Powder Rendezvous, held today through Monday in a remote field off Slab Camp Road south of Carlsborg, will take visitors to the event back in time.
There is no charge for entry.
The best two days for visitors are Saturday and Sunday, said Vickie Shurr, a rendezvous organizer. Hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A lot 'going on'
“We're excited about this year. There is so much going on,” she said.
Some traders will be open and ready for business from about 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, but there are no scheduled events for visitors, Shurr said.
Today is a gathering day for participants, and there are no activities scheduled for Monday, she said.
Visitors will find themselves in the midst of an 1830s-era Northwest fur trading station, where participants dress in furs, buckskins and dresses with aprons and camp in canvas tents while traders hawk their wares from canvas tents, wooden trailers and blankets spreadunder trees.
Costumed participants and visitors, who are welcome with or without costumes, can take part in black powder shooting contests, primitive archery, scrimshaw, period music, storytelling and children's activities.
More than a dozen free seminars will be offered Saturday and Sunday on fur trade skills and lore, blacksmithing, spinning, the use of flint and steel, and other period skills.
A schedule of seminars will be available at the information booth at the rendezvous, Shurr said.
A traders' row of dusty merchant tents and blankets sells pioneer-style clothing and equipment for participants or souvenirs for visitors who find they must have their own treasures of the Old West.
Many traders will be on hand to sell traditional, hand-made period replica items, including camping gear, clothing, weaponry and tools.
“Pee-Wee activities” will be available free for children 12 and younger.
Visitors can register at the site for lessons in how to fire black powder guns or participate in a shooting competition.
The entry fee for shooting competitions is $20 per person for shooters 13 and older.
Individual lessons are $1 per shot at two black powder clinics, scheduled at 11 a.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the shooting range.
In most years, participants cook with Dutch ovens and cast iron, and contests for best cooks are held.
This year, a fire ban on state Department of Natural Resources lands, including the field where the rendezvous takes places, will prevent open fire cooking.
Participants must use a camp stove or other contained cooking.
A vendor will sell pulled pork sandwiches, and bottled water will be available for sale.
Most participants camp at the site, some in 19th-century replica tents, including period-appropriate furnishings, and others in camp trailers or recreational vehicles.
Camp sites cost $20.
There is no electrical power or water available at the site.
Slab Camp Road is just off Lost Mountain Road. Directional signs will be placed along the way.
The Green River Mountain Men is a nonprofit organization of men and women dedicated to educating the community about the pre-1840s fur trade era.
For more information, email Shurr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.