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Fort Atkinson State Preserve

fort_atkinson_field_trips 017In 1977, visitors began making a fall pilgrimage to Fort Atkinson State Preserve to relive what life was like at a military post during the mid 1800s. Held the last full weekend of September, this rendezvous soon became an annual tradition, bringing thousands of visitors to the fort during the two-day long event.
During the rendezvous, the fort is brought back to life, as representative army troops carry out routine duties that would have taken place during the forts operation. Crafts people work to produce goods needed in everyday frontier life, while buckskinners provide lively trade from blacksmiths, leather goods, weaponry and “fooferaw” (beads, trinkets, etc.). Visitors also get to taste authentic frontier food cooked over open fires or watch various contests of skills.While Saturday and Sunday are open the public, the Friday before the event is reserved for students. Known as “school day,” the event lets youth experience a preview of the weekend’s events. During the 2009 “school day,” more than 1,260 Iowa students attended, with nearly 300 funded in part by SSNHA Bus Grant Program. For 2010, Silos & Smokestacks will be helping students from five schools attend the rendezvous.
While the annual rendezvous is a highlight of the fort, the Preserve welcomes visitors year-round. Through use of a downloadable audio tour, visitors can explore at their own leisure and learn about the forts role on the Iowa frontier. On the grounds visitors can view the reconstructed north barracks and partial log stockade wall. The foundations of the buildings within the stockade walls have also been remarked to let visitors envision the layout of the fort.
For more information on Fort Atkinson or the annual rendezvous visit www.iowadnr.gov or call 563-425-4161.

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