The Feast of the Strawberry Moon portrays the 18th-century celebration of the return of the French voyageurs to the area with their packs of furs. The Feast camp brings together re-enactors portraying voyageurs, fur traders, period artisans and military from a time when fur trading was the main industry in the Tri-Cities area during from 1760 to 1820.
Dr. Thornberg, our orthodontist, began telling us how much she and her family love attending the event and how they look forward to seeing some of the same people each year. High on her list of favorites are the Budabi Brothers, who had taken the time between shows to teach her two young sons how to juggle. It was obviously a very special memory for her.
The Amazing Budabi Brothers is a comedic juggling act consisting of brothers Erik Jensen and Nick Langseth. The pair have performed at the Feast for most of its 13 years, leaving audiences spellbound by flying knives, dangerous acrobatics and quick wit. I always enjoy their show and often find myself reciting their jokes as they perform. Between shows, the brothers graciously spend their free time teaching children around the camp the art of juggling.
This year marks my ninth year working at the Feast as part of my job at the museum. I have had the pleasure of working alongside dedicated, experienced volunteers who make the event run smoothly. I also have the pleasure of getting to know the more than 200 participants who visit us and set up camp to portray a craft, military discipline or trade. This is a close-knit group of people who my family and I have become a part of. Each year we welcome one another, hug, swap stories, see how much kids have grown, eat together and get to work showcasing to the community life in the 18th century.
My son, Aidan, has been volunteering at the Feast since he was very small. As with most of the younger volunteers, he started off as a “runner.” Runners basically do errands around the camp, such as fetching and hauling and delivering messages.
Aidan is growing up with this event. It has become an important part of his life. Between his job assignments, he hangs out in Two Bears' fur tent, admiring the merchandise.
I always pay him a little something for the weekend and he promptly marches over to Two Bears to begin his negotiations for the latest pelt that has caught his eye. It’s become a tradition of sorts, and his bedroom at home is beginning to look a bit like a fur trade post.
Sadly for me, this year Aidan will not be working at the Feast due to baseball tournaments. And my dear friends, the Riddles, will not be here with their sheep and delightful soaps.
Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to the event and the new changes for this year. The food is going to be fabulous! The forfarbridies are being made locally by Meals for a Week, and are they delicious. The museum’s youth docents will be hawking snack foods of the period, such as maple candy, saltwater taffy and corn nuts. Kids can attend as students at a one-room schoolhouse with daily lessons, and a children’s tug-of-war will be new in the games area. The Wacky Chickens will be joining the Budabi Brothers in the entertainment line up. The D3 Fife and Drum Corps will be playing throughout the day on Saturday.
Witness the skirmishes, the military parade, the demonstrations, the candy cannon and all that you have come to expect from this event. Join us this year on Harbor Island, June 8-9. Go back to the late 1700s and make some new friends and memories of your own.
— Barb Carlson is the marketing/media manager for the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven.