Rendezvous - The West is Still Wild
Eureka is the place to Rendezvous with your family and friends! From the Kick-off extravaganza with great music and food the last Friday in April through that Sunday the town is bustling with fun.
This year kicked off the weekend with a rollicking Friday evening at the Arena. Food Vendors were ready to satisfy your hunger when the doors opened at 6:00. Music started at 6:30 with the rockin' blues of the Mason Stone Band followed by Ben Chappelow. At 8:00 country music singer-songwriter Dylan Scott took the stage.
Saturday began with Breakfast at the Senior Center. Then the parade started at it's usual time of Noon. Upon hearing the sounds of the Bagpipers from Kimberly as they crest the hill of main street – folks ran to stake their place in the crowd. Even rain of some past years can't dampen the spirits of the onlookers who turn out to cheer the floats, costumes, antique cars, Shriners on their very small rigs, and the Coors beer truck.The excellent program books printed by the Tobacco Valley News are always around town to guide you through the weekend's events. There's too much to list everything here, but we'll mention a few to whet your whistle: the bed races are back(!!), antique car show, vendors in the Village and Fairgrounds, the used book sale in the Village, Mud Bog, Golf, Arm wrestling, keg tossing, baseball, AND the play by the Eureka Community Players. Wow! Of course there's also the old west flair of the Black Powder Shoot and the Gold Rush at Glacier Bank. Always remember to be on the lookout for the “sheriff” running around to put someone “in jail.”
A bit of history for you: In the old days a rendezvous (french for “meeting”) was a gathering of mountain men, fur tradering companies and native Americans held typically at the end of the winter trapping season. It was a time for busting out of winter seclusion to do trading, business transactions, business meetings and have lots of revelry.
Four decades ago three friends - Doc. Andy Ivy, Jerry Sythe, and Bill Larson – decided that Eureka needed an end of the winter celebration and that it should have a huge kick-off event. That Friday kick-off became legendary for getting bigger and more boistrous every year. There was food, a bathtub full of ice and beer, and live music. Hazel Ivy led a group of ladies, costumed to the hilt, in different dance routines every year for a number of years. They dazzled the crowd as the Honolulu Lulu's and Helga's Hags, to name a couple. Hazel says that “it was so much fun and we tried to add a little twist to it every year!” The event which started at Jerry's Saloon for a couple of years, moved to Ted's Body Shop for a while, went to the Fairgrounds, and is most recently at the Arena. Saturday started with a 5 k run, breakfast, and the parade. The bed races were part of it at the start! There weren't craft vendors for about 15 years but there were a lot of fun-filled contests such as the tug-o-truck, chicken bingo (you bet on which square the chicken will poop), and 2x4 races (with 2x4's strapped to your feet). One of the banks held a scavenger hunt for the kids throughout the town. It was and continues to be quite the scene.
You don't want to miss the Eureka Rendezvous! See you around town.
About the Author: Alice B Elrod is a longtime promoter, supporter and contributor to our community. I love living in this glorious valley. There are so many people here who ardently strive to help out and it's a pleasure to pitch in when I can. Writing for visitNWmontana gives me a chance to know more about our community lets me invest some creative time in getting the word out about how wonderful it is to call this place home. I also have the privilege to be involved in the community by working with the Creative Arts Council, Recycle Eureka and through my chiropractic practice, Elrod Chiropractic.