When is the Big Island Rendezvous?
In the fall during the colorful foliage season! Rendezvous is always the first
Saturday and Sunday in October. (October 1-2 ,2022, October 7-8, 2023. October
5-6, 2024). Rendezvous opens at 9:00 AM and closes at 6:00 PM on Saturday and
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Sunday.
What is the Big Island Rendezvous?
The Minnesota Office of Tourism voted The Big Island Rendezvous one of the
state's Top 25 Festivals. It is a celebration of history during the fur trade
period (1650 - 1840) and early Frontier America (1750-1880) including the Civil
War Era and Pioneer Settlement (1840-1800).
What are some of the activities
during the Big Island Rendezvous?
The festival hosts different performance
areas with music and dance continuously throughout both days. The entrance stage
has a sound system adjacent to the food court area. The performers minstrel
around the grounds to give a more intimate performance to smaller audiences
under the trees. Celtic, Bluegrass, Gaelic, old time country, gospel and Cajun
music are some of the types of performances presented.
Arts & Crafts:
Properly attired re-enactors display and
sell their wares. Artisans from 8 states attend including crafts persons and
crafts such as blacksmithing, candle making, weaving and spinning, silver
smithing, copper working, woodworking, clothing makers, painters, stoneware and
porcelain pottery, scrimshaw, gunsmithing, birch bark canoes and furniture
building. All types of colonial period trades and products are sold and various
skills of the artists are demonstrated each day.
Over 300 tents and campfires created 12
acres of atmosphere in which to shop and listen to the entertainment. Over 1,200
living history re-enactors carry on their day-to-day lifestyles, as it would
have been done over 200 years ago in the New World. No modernisms are allowed on
site so you see no vehicles or modern plastic tents. You literally step back in
time into a wilderness of history.
Food & Beverage:
Various community groups and individuals
offer a huge selection of specialty foods. You will find food here that you
would not find at home, such as the most popular kettle korn, fry bread,
homemade root beer, stuffed baked potato with pork, cheese, onion and sour cream
toppings, Pork Chop on a stick, Indian Tacos, beef, and funnel cakes. There is
also wild rice soup, and smoked turkey legs, and the favorite pork chop on a
All types of activities and excitement are
there for the children to enjoy. There are theatre, games, drills, and
ceremonies, voyageur camps, and tipi tours. There is more than enough for the
entire family to participate in each day.
Where is the Rendezvous Located?
It is located in a city park in Albert Lea, Minnesota. All visitors park at the
Freeborn County Fairgrounds and are taken by shuttle one mile to festival
grounds. Take Exit 157 off of Interstate 90 (just west of Interstate 35) and go
into Albert Lea and travel approximately 1 ½ miles and the Freeborn County
Fairgrounds will be on your right at 1031 Bridge Avenue.
The Big Island Rendezvous is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization governed by a
volunteer board of directors, has year-round volunteer staff, and an office in
Albert Lea. The festival is helped by hundreds of volunteers & community
organizations to make the event a reality. Thousands of dollars are raised each
year with this event that helps with scholarships and other services in the
Some of the Highlights for the next Rendezvous?
Music groups from throughout the United
States will be performing. Bluegrass and old-time music will be at the Festival.
All stage entertainment is included in the price of admission.
Historical Exhibits &
Native American tipis and wikiups and canoe
camps will be highlighted. Costumed characters of the 17th and 18th century will
entertain you throughout the site including a 1880's pioneer town with a
sheriff, jail, chuck wagon, gold panning, and doctor.
Parades & Drills:
Re-enactor strut and show-off around
the grounds and create a very festive atmosphere.
Marksmen from throughout the Midwest will
compete for prizes. One type of event is shooting a lead ball (musket or muzzle
loading gun) at an ax head and in ONE shot (one lead ball) the person hits BOTH
targets set up on each side of the ax head.
Listen to songs and challenge the voyageurs
to cat and mouse; or see birch bark canoes.
Midwest and musicians from throughout the
United States are showcased each day.
Does It Cost?
Admission to the Rendezvous, including all the
before-mentioned events and parking is $15 for adults and $9 for
children 6-11 years of age. Children 5 years and younger are free. A
Family Pass can be purchased for $35 at the gate. Discount Advance
Tickets are available from the following:
Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau
City/County Employee Credit Union, Skyline Mall
Albert Lea/Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce
Freeborn County Shopper
Hy-Vee Food Stores, Albert Lea and Austin
Nelson's Shell Service Station, Albert Lea
Security Bank of Minnesota, Albert Lea
Trades and Labor Credit Union, Albert Lea
United Employees Credit Union, Albert Lea
For information and an order form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write
The Big Island Rendezvous
132 North Broadway Avenue
Albert Lea, MN, 56007 You may also call toll free 1-800-658-2526
Can you handle motorcoach tours?
Most definitely!! We will give motorcoach operators discounts on admissions plus
free admission to drivers and escorts. Guides are available with advance notice.
There is a special drop off and pick up zone in the heart of the Rendezvous.
Accessibility to the site and facilities such as restrooms and grounds is
unlimited for all types of special needs or populations.