Every week, I take you on an Artist Date with me. The Artist Date comes from the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
Last weekend, I headed down to West Lafayette, Indiana, and attended the 46th Annual Feast of the Hunters’ Moon.
The Feast of the Hunters’ Moon is a re-creation of the annual fall gathering of the French and Native Americans which took place Fort Ouiatenon, a fur-trading outpost in the mid-1700s.
Fort Ouiatenon was active from 1717-1791. In 1791, President George Washington ordered the destruction of the Wabash Native villages. All crops and houses were burned, bringing the era of Ouiatenon to an end. Ouiatenon lay in ruins when white settlement began to grow in its neighborhood in the 1820s. Its existence was slowly forgotten until even its exact location was no longer known.
In 1928, a local physician, Dr. Richard B. Wetherill, acquired the land around what was believed to be the site of an early French trading post known as the Fort Ouiatenon. In 1930, he built a 452 square foot replica of a fort on this land.
In 1968, archaeological excavations and document research began to recapture and preserve the almost-forgotten French heritage of Ouiatenon. The archaeological excavation uncovered the actual site of the original stockade approximately one mile downriver from Dr. Wetherill’s replica fort. Excavations ended in 1979.
There is something for everyone at Feast of the Hunters’ Moon. Traditional artisans demonstrate crafts in the style of the 18th-century using only materials and methods available at that time.
Over 50 different French, English and Native American foods, adapted from original recipes, are prepared over open fires and served by costumed participants.
Blanket traders and merchants sell replicas of 18th-century trade goods from blankets and tents. Products for sale include colonial goods, period clothing, toys, Native American items, pewter, leather, wood and woven goods.
You can also see French and Native American music and dance, fife and drum corps performances, military drills and demonstrations, fashion shows, puppet shows, games and contests.
The day started out rainy and overcast, but thankfully the afternoon was sunny and beautiful. The perfect weather for stepping back into the 18th-century.