Fort de Chartres Heritage Garden

Un journal d'un Jardin Potager du Pays des Illinois

Evénements au Fort de Chartres

Fort de Chartres photo by Ericha Johanning

Fort de Chartres photo by Ericha Johanning

Welcome to the Fort de Chartres event page. This page will explore participation related to the fort garden and/or the stone bake oven located next to the garden at scheduled Fort de Chartres public events.

Please note this list of late winter garden events at Fort de Chartres. Travel to the Illinois Country and experience this area’s history. These events are usually free and open to the general public.

Fort de Chartres State Historic Site announces two Fort de Chartres Heirloom Jardin Potager events for early 2017. Carol Kuntz, the Fort’s volunteer garden curator, will host a seed exchange event on Saturday, February 18, from 10 a.m.-noon. A seed exchange will take place in the site’s guard room and free heirloom seeds and sample seed packets will be available. Bring your favorites or extra seeds to the fort and share your seed bounty while having an opportunity to select seed from the garden project or others offering their seeds. After a break, weather permitting, at 1 p.m. we will move into the Fort’s kitchen garden and learn how to prepare raised beds for the upcoming growing season and learn which vegetable and flower seeds than can be planted in February in the Illinois Country.  Also, the garden’s fruit trees will be pruned for their most important pruning of the year.

FdC Jardin 2016 Seed Exchange (CK)

FdC Jardin 2016 Seed Exchange (CK)

The second garden event occurring late winter at the Fort is the annual Fort de Chartres Jardin Potager Weekend on Saturday & Sunday, March 25 & 26. Visitors are welcome to join volunteers on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. for a discussion about direct sowing seeds in the garden. After a break, work will begin in the garden preparing raised beds and planting seeds appropriate for the approach of spring. Heirloom seed packet samples will be available to visitors travelling to the Fort to celebrate the upcoming spring!

These events are free and open to the public. If you would like more information about the Fort or upcoming events, call Fort de Chartres State Historic Site at 618-284-7230. For more information about these garden events, please email Carol at or visit


Upcoming Fort de Chartres State Historic Site 2017 Special Events are listed below. Most of these events are open and free to general public, donations welcomed. There may be participant fees for reenactors.

Saturday and Sunday, April 1 & 2, 2017

Fort de Chartres Colonial Trade Faire and Musket & Rifle Frolic

Saturday, April 1, 10 AM-5 PM

Sunday, April 2, 10 AM-3 PM

The Trade Faire, which features costumed historic interpreters, shooting matches, and period games. Craftspeople and merchants will sell reproduction period goods. The Colonial Trade Faire is sponsored by the Chasseurs du Datchurat, a group that re-enacts the lives and skills of longhunters, professional hide hunters who would routinely embark on grand hunts lasting months and sometimes more than a year.

The Colonial Trade Faire is a JURIED living history event for participants depicting the Illinois Country ca. 1750-1790.

Saturday, May 6, 2017-Kids’ Day-May 6, 10 AM-4 PM

Kids’ Day features 18th century games, contests and crafts for children. FREE to the general public.

Volunteer Interpreters will be on site to allow kids their hand at 18th century rope making, archery, games and other activities. Kids can enlist to be a Fort de Chartres French Marine and can take a chance at becoming King or Queen by finding the bean in the Kings cake! All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. Concessions will be available for sale throughout the day. The event is open and free to general public, donations welcomed.

2016 FdC June Rendezvous

2016 FdC June Rendezvous

Saturday & Sunday, June 3 & June 4, 2017

The 47th Annual Fort de Chartres June Rendezvous

Saturday, June 3, 10 AM-5 PM

Sunday, June 4, 10 AM-5 PM

The event is open and free to general public with special event parking for this event just $5 a car. Donations welcomed. For more information contact the site at (618) 284-7230 or email

 The two-day popular annual Rendezvous, held the first weekend in June, features shooting competitions, military drills, dancing, music, food, and traders of eighteenth-century-style goods.

The boom of cannons, the smell of campfires and a parade of colorful uniforms will transport visitors back to the 1700s on June 4 and 5 at Fort de Chartres State Historic Site’s annual Rendezvous, the largest gathering of its kind anywhere in the Midwest, attracting many thousands to the site during this 2 day special event.

The Rendezvous features 1700s military units, traditional craft demonstrations, period music and dancing, black powder shooting events and cannon firings – all from the time when France controlled what is now Illinois. Visitors can try their hand at throwing a tomahawk, buy hand-made crafts, learn about French kitchen gardens, and watch swordsmen duel, taste delicious food and much more. This event is hosted by Les Coureurs des Bois de Fort de Chartres and sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres, with additional site support by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Friends of the Fort Summer Ball  

Saturday, July 22, 7 PM-10 PM

@ Prairie du Rocher American Legion, located at 509 Henry St., Prairie du Rocher, Illinois.

Suggested donation of $20 a person and all funds raised will go directly to the not-for-profit support organization, Les Amis du Fort de Chartres, which supports improvement projects at Fort de Chartres State Historical Site.

Les Amis du Fort de Chartres is hosting the fundraising event “Friends of the Fort Summer Ball”.  Eighteenth century music and dance calling will be provided by a live band. Period dress encouraged but not required.. Food is allowed to be brought in but alcohol must be purchased at the bar. This event is open to all. Let’s gather together for some midsummer fun, have a great time while supporting our Fort.

Saturday & Sunday, September 9 & 10

Fort de Chartres Muzzle Loading Black Powder Artillery Safety School

Saturday, September 9, 10 AM-4 PM

Sunday, September 10, 10 AM-12 PM

@ Fort de Chartres State Historic Site, at 1350 IL Route 155, 4 miles west of Prairie du Rocher.  Artillery reenactors participate in yearly safety training and demonstrate live cannon firing.

Training runs 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday and live firing demonstrations will be held on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Hosted by the French Colonial Artillery from the Holy Family Militia.

Saturday & Sunday, October 14 & 15

Fort de Chartres French & Indian War Encampment

Saturday, October 14, 10 AM-5 PM

Sunday, October 15, 10 AM-3PM

@ Fort de Chartres State Historic Site, at 1350 IL Route 155, 4 miles west of Prairie du Rocher.

 1750s historically dressed Native American, soldier, militia, and camp follower re-enactors participate in everyday camp activities and military drills.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

World War II DAY and Brewfest

Saturday, October 21, 10 AM-4 PM

@ Fort de Chartres State Historic Site.  For more information contact the site at (618) 284-7230 or email

An educational encampment will display the equipment of area reenactors covering a variety of aspects of history’s largest conflict. A ceremony honoring the area’s veterans from all of America’s engagements will be held. A simulated battle will be held with props such as tank obstacles and wall sections between American and German forces. There will be plenty of food and refreshments available. This event will be hosted by the U.S. 2nd Ranger Infantry Battalion of St. Louis, LAH Living History Association, and sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres.

Saturday & Sunday, November 4 & 5

Fort de Chartres Winter Rendezvous & Woodswalk

Saturday, November 4, 10 AM-5 PM

Sunday, November 5, 10 AM-3PM

@ Fort de Chartres State Historic Site. The event is open and free to the general public.

This event features 18th and early 19th century camp life and re-enactors who participate in a muzzleloader woods walk shooting competition.

Fort de Chartres State Historic Site presents a weekend of colorful clothing, hand-made crafts, period music and delicious food when the annual Winter Rendezvous returns November 5 &6.

Soldiers, trappers, traders and Native Americans (as portrayed by historic re-enactors) will gather at the rendezvous. They’ll trade goods, buy supplies, and some will take part in a shooting contest that requires them to walk through the woods and fire flintlocks at pop-up targets. The Winter Rendezvous is fun both for the participants demonstrating frontier life from 1700 to1820 and for visitors spending an autumn day wandering among the tents, campfires and historic French colonial fort.

Saturday, December 31, 2017

La Guiannee at Fort de Chartres

Saturday, December 31, 7 PM-9 PM

@ Fort de Chartres State Historic Site.

The Prairie du Rocher La Guiannee visits the site to play period music and sing. 

Fort de Chartres was built by the French military in the 1750s. It served as the seat of government and chief military installation in Illinois when France controlled the territory. The British then took it over and used it until 1772. The site was declared a national historic landmark in 1960. The Fort’s powder magazine is the oldest building in Illinois.

Even as most events are free and open to the public, a site donation of $4 for adults, $2 for children, or $10 per family is respectfully suggested by the IHPA.

The site is operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. IHPA protects the state’s historic resources, which contribute to education, culture and the economy. IHPA sites include ancient burial mounds, forts and buildings erected by settlers, and homes connected to famous Illinoisans.









  1. Mark A. Wetzel

    21 April, 2012 at 10:34

    Was wondering if I might be a able to get a copy of the printed material.
    Would like to have it for reference in my personal librarry.
    Any information would be great.
    Mark Wetzel

    • Carol

      22 April, 2012 at 19:00

      Thanks for the inquiry. After the event, we will touch base about the availability of any extra written materials from the class.

      • hallo. we met at de chartres this past wnkeeed and briefly discussed seed and the company heavenly seed? if my memory is working. i haven’t been able to find them online and hoped you might be able to send me in the right direction. well thanks and the website is very cool. matthew

  2. Carol, I would like to request registration information for the Bread Oven Class on May 19th. Please let me know what else I need to do in order to attend. Thanks, Kathy Janik

    • Carol

      30 April, 2012 at 20:54

      Kathy: I have added your name to the attendee list. Payment will be due on the day of class. We look forward to seeing you on the 19th! Carol

  3. I am very much interested in attending this Saturday if there is still space available.



    • Carol

      14 May, 2012 at 18:12

      Yes, Rob-I will place your name on the registration list. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday. Weather should be great!

  4. Jennifer Esker

    20 January, 2014 at 20:48

    I am interested in getting more involved with the fort. I was told help was needed in the garden. Please contact me if that is the case. Thanks, Jennifer

  5. Dave and Elaine

    16 August, 2014 at 14:54

    Met some of you at the Pomme de Terre Rendev. in May. Interested in visiting the Fort gardens. When is your Winter Rendev in 2014 and your end of November gathering?

    • Carol

      17 August, 2014 at 14:18

      Dave and Elaine: Just updated the Fort Events page. We are usually at the bake oven or in the garden at the FdC November Rendezvous. Additionally, our band of friends reside in the Fort environs Thanksgiving Weekend each year. This year we are planning to be in residence cooking at the hearth, baking in the bake oven, period shooting contests, and lets not forget singing, Saturday and Sunday, November 29 and thru mid-afternoon on November 30. Looking forward to crossing paths once again. Carol

  6. We love attending the june event. This year we will see the nov event. On my mother side her family originated in roacher. So we hv been attending since I was a little kid.

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