After a two year hiatus, thanks to the pandemic, the annual Crossroads Rendezvous will return to Peninsula Park in Saukville on the traditional third weekend this coming May 20-21; but, before its arrival, organizers have planned a Workshop Series, designed to engage both seasoned reenactors and those new to the hobby, that will bring the lessons of living history indoors.
"When we decided we had to cancel the 2021 event, after already losing the 2020 event, we knew that we needed to do something to build momentum and assure people that we were going to return," said Mary Boyle, Crossroads Organizer. "We were able to get a Tourism Grant from the Saukville Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee, which allowed us to move forward. Originally, we planned for a one day mini-reenactment at the Crossroads Museum on what would have been the weekend of the event, which was meant to be followed by the workshop series; but, as the time drew near, it became clear that people were still not ready to gather together."
As organizers went back to the drawing board, they connected with Patricia Gerber, the Coordinator of the Community Rivers Program, to collaborate on an event that would benefit both the Community Rivers Program and Crossroads Rendezvous, as well as their parent organizations, Riveredge Nature Center and the Saukville Historical Society.
"CRP participated at our 2018 and 2019 School Days, so we'd already established our mutual connection with the Milwaukee River," explained Boyle. "The event [River History Day] practically built itself, and it was really fun to do. We'll probably do it again this fall."
The Workshop Series was meant to follow River History Day, but the holidays and rising Covid counts kept pushing the start date further back. In the end, though, everything came together, and the Crossroads Rendezvous Workshop Series will begin on Saturday, February 12 from Noon to 5 p.m. with a session called A Tailoring We Will Go, led by Jay Oestreich, in which participants will get an overview of 18th Century men's fashion and then have time, space and assistance from Oestreich to get started on their own sewing projects. Other classes in the series include basket making, finger weaving, archeology of the Fur Trade, and an afternoon with Boyle where participants will learn about 18th Century women's fashion and start work on creating their own chemise, which is the base layer of clothing for a lady of that time period.
"Besides Sarah Pender Smith, who is an actual Archeologist, the rest of us [leading workshops] are mostly just reenactors who wanted to share the skills we've learned with others," said Boyle. "You don't have to even be interested in reenacting to join us; these are just fun or useful things to know, regardless of whether or not you're into living history. We've all been sitting around with largely no events to attend for the past two years so, if nothing else, this is a way to reignite our own flames."
The Crossroads Rendezvous Workshop Series will take place at the Crossroads Museum, located at 200 N. Mill St. in Saukville. Space is limited and participants must register for the workshops by emailing Mary Boyle at info@CrossroadsRendezvous.org or filling in the registration box on the CR Workshop Series Tab on the website: www.crossroadsrendezvous.org/cr-workshop-series.html