This upcoming weekend will be the 17th Annual Primitive Camp Meeting and Rendezvous at the Red River Meeting House in south Logan County.
The annual event has the feel of a big family reunion, according to event organizer Tom Ruley.
“We never know who is going to show up, but it’s always a good time to see folks every year,” he said. “We’re kind of proud that this has been going on so long. It’s run right along pretty well without any hitches.”
The rendezvous will kick off on Friday and run through Sunday – with most of the activities taking place on Saturday.
With people dressed in period clothing, primitive camp sites and demonstrations of life in the 1800s, the annual event lets guests take a look at what life was like when the Second Great Awakening occurred at Red River around 200 years ago.
Historic reenactors from around the country come to camp out and take part in the event. Many set up primitive camp sites, but Ruley said anyone is welcome to come and camp. They have modern camp sites available to and there is no cost. Firewood and water are furnished, no pets are allowed.
“It’s a nice, peaceful time and we also hope it’s interesting and educational,” said Ruley. “There are a lot of demonstrations of stuff you don’t normally see.”
Demonstrations will be going on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and guests are welcome to just stop by to see what all is going on.
History lessons will be taught each day at 2 p.m. There will be food available for purchase on site.
There will also be a benefit auction on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“That’s usually one of the highlights, because you never know what people are going to bring,” said Dreama Ruley, who also helps plan the camp meeting.
This year some of the items that will be auctioned off include furniture and cast-iron cookwear.
“The whole thing revolves around the church meetings and the history,” Tom Ruley said. “The rest of it is just a bit of an add-ons to keep people entertained. The main focus is the church services.”
This year the services will be on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday morning at 10 a.m.
The Sunday morning service will also feature an 18th Century communion service.
All the religious ceremonies are non-denominational.
“There’s not one denomination that can claim this spot,” Tom Ruley said. “The revival that took place there affected the whole United States, so we can all claim it. We see people from all different faiths each year – some people that aren’t even Christians.”
“All the speakers are from different denominations,” Dreama Ruley said. “I’ve never known any of them to push their faith – they are just promoting Jesus.”