October 2, 2003 at 4:40 p.m.
Each reenactor created an encampment which was historically accurate to a certain time period in the history of the fur trade. Members of the public could stroll by the encampments and learn about the French fur traders in the mid to late 1700s, British fur traders of the early 1800s, or the American fur traders around 1812-1830.
MHS employees and members of Friends of the Fur Post, a local non-profit organization, conducted several events and competitions throughout the weekend. Some events were only open to reenactors, such as the flintlock reliability competition, where competitors would fire their muskets over and over without cleaning them to see whose was the most reliable. The events also included a men’s and women's footrace, a dance, a wild rice cooking competition, and a tall-tale competition.
One game open to reenactors and the public alike is called “Cat and Mouse.” Competitors crouched on small stumps, each holding the end of a long rope. At the count of three, (in french, of course), the players tried to grab up as much rope as possible and either pull their opponent off or release a little of their rope, in the hopes that their opponent would lunge backwards, lose their balance, and fall.
In addition to learning about fur trade in general, there was also much to learn about the fur post itself. It was constructed in 1804 to serve as a wintering post for members of the North West Company. It was used by fur traders after 1804-05, although historical details are sketchy. At some point it burned down, and was reconstructed in the late 1960s based on archeological evidence and the journal of John Sayer, the man who established the post and one of the men who wintered there.
The MHS holds tours of the site in the spring, summer, and fall. For more information, contact the Fur Post at 320-629-6356 or visit www.mnhs.org.