ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) – For more than 40 years, the rendezvous camp site has been part of the Mountain State Forest Festival.
The group represents the 1840s trapper period where folks would part ways to trap and hunt, and then come back together once a year and build their rendezvous village.
Elementary kids visited on Oct. 6, and a few skills they were shown included starting a fire with flint and steel, bread making, blacksmithing and tomahawk throwing.
“We’ve had kids like I was, they come through, and that interest gets sparked, and then they come back year after year, and they get a little older, and they’ve got a lodge, and they’re sitting here camping with us, and carrying it on, and bringing their children by and it’s fantastic for me to have those memories and watch new families build those memories and keep coming back year after year,” said Steve Kerns, primitive camp event organizer.
Kerns said his favorite part about coming back to the festival each year is seeing his friends who share the same interest as he does. He said he sets up two days early, and when he sees his friends start bringing their supplies in, it’s like a kid on Christmas day.
Kerns said the skills they teach to visitors at the festival will never go out of style.
Jim Cost started the primitive camp at the festival about 44 years ago, according to Kerns. The Tygart Valley Muzzle Loaders have also had a part in the festival since the beginning. Kerns said he is honored that Cost felt confident enough in him to pass down the responsibilities of this event. Kerns first attended the rendezvous camp when he was 6 years old and has been participating for 30 years.