It’s Fur Real: The Past Passed Here brings voyageur era to life

Emilee Wentland, photos by Kelly Whitman

It’s almost time to head back to the 18th century – no time machine needed. This May, the Chippewa County Historical Society’s The Past Passed Here transports visitors to the era of fur trading, all while remaining in the comfort of the 21st century. The event occurs in Allen Park in downtown Chippewa Falls, which was a fur trading site for Native Americans and French voyageurs from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. Attendees have the opportunity to explore the camp sites, where they will find a variety of interesting things to see and do. Visitors can partake in archery, canoe paddle races, a tomahawk toss, and – if they’re feeling daring – even a cross-cut saw competition. Throughout the weekend, there will be an assortment of demonstrations, including cooking, spinning, blacksmithing, and brain tanning. At the camps, there will be re-enactors teaching the Chippewa Valley’s history to modern generations through acting and answering questions. The Past Passed Here will also feature food options, such as buffalo burgers and kettle corn, and traders will be selling leather goods and furs as well as jewelry and other goods. 

Chippewa County Historical Society hosts The Past Passed Here • May 10-11, 3-6pm • May 12, 9am-6pm • May 13, 9am-4pm • Allen Park, Chippewa Falls • $3 per person, $10 family, free for 5 and under • thepastpassedhere.org