Primitive tenting is 44 12 months custom at Forest Pageant


ELKINS, W. Va. (WBOY) – For more than 40 years, the Rendezvous campground has been part of the Mountain State Forest Festival.

The group represents the trapping era of the 1840s, when people parted ways to set traps and hunt, then reunited once a year and built their rendezvous village.

Elementary school children attended on October 6, and some skills they were shown were starting a fire with flint and steel, making bread, blacksmithing, and tomahawk throwing.

What not to miss at the Forest Festival in Elkins

“We’ve had kids like me, they come through and that interest gets sparked, and then year after year they come back and they get a little bit older and they have a lodge and they sit here with us camping and going on and their kids bring and it’s fantastic for me to have those memories and to see new families build those memories and come back year after year,” said Steve Kerns, organizer of the primitive camp event.

Kerns said what he likes best is coming back to the festival every year, seeing his friends who have the same interest as he does. He says he’s setting up two days early, and when he sees his friends start bringing in their supplies, it’s like a kid on Christmas Day.

Kerns said the skills they teach festival-goers 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 been involved with the festival since the beginning. Kerns said he was honored that Cost felt confident enough in him to pass on responsibility for this event. Kerns first attended rendezvous camp at the age of 6 and has been at it for 30 years.