In the old days, a rendezvous (French for “meeting”) was a gathering of mountain men, fur trading companies and native Americans. It was typically held at the end of the winter trapping season and was a time for busting out of winter to trade, meet, and revel in the beginning of spring.
Four decades ago, three friends – Doc. Andy Ivy, Jerry Sythe, and Bill Larson – decided that Eureka needed its own rendezvous and that it should begin with a huge kick-off event. That Friday kick-off became legendary for getting bigger and more boisterous every year. There was food, a bathtub full of ice and beer, and live music.
For a number of years, Hazel Ivy led a group of ladies, costumed to the hilt, in different dance routines. They dazzled the crowd as the Honolulu Lulu’s and Helga’s Hags. Hazel says that “it was so much fun, and we tried to add a little twist to it every year.”
Eureka’s Rendezvous lasted almost all weekend. The Friday night kick-off was first located at Jerry’s Saloon. Later, it moved to Ted’s Body Shop for a while, was relocated to the fairgrounds, and ended up at the Arena. Saturday began with a 5k run, breakfast, and the parade and bed races. For the first 15 years there were no craft vendors, 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 2×4 races (with 2×4’s strapped to your feet). One of the banks held a scavenger hunt for the kids throughout the town.
Rendezvous was and continues to be quite the scene.
(Thank you, Alice Elrod, for this history!)
Rendezvous 2018 Event Committees
1st person listed is committee leader
Chris & Jon Wakem
Noelle Caswell (VFW)
Holly Van Bemmel
Blanche Flanagan and Tammy Lawlor