Putting Things in Perspective

Feast Authenticity Standards

47th Feast of the Hunters' Moon
October 4-5, 2014

Standards and Participant Information

The Feast is an event that strives to give both the public and the participants a realistic portrayal of the people, cultures, and lifestyles that existed on the French and English colonial frontier in the Great Lakes region during the time of Fort Ouiatenon, which encompassed the period 1717-1791.  We want to interpret this time and place as accurately as possible in order to offer the public an educational and unforgettable experience, and also to honor the people who lived here.  Participants, merchandise, entertainment, and food should be appropriate to our time period and place, to the best of our knowledge and ability.  Participants are responsible for knowing what types of costume, equipment, and merchandise are appropriate for their area.

Acceptances: Previous participants are generally accepted if they have worked cooperatively within Feast guidelines.  Applications received after the deadline will be accepted and placed on a space available basis. 
New program, sales, or demonstration applicants must submit color photographs of their shelter, clothing and any merchandise or crafts they wish to exhibit or sell.  Acceptance is determined from review of all entries received by the deadline and is based upon appropriateness and space available.  Written replies will be sent approximately 45 days after the category deadline.

Your Passport to the Past:  Once you are on the Feast ground, you are on the colonial frontier in the 18th century.  As a registered participant, you will receive a button with your packet identifying you as such.  This button will serve as your passport to this time.  Please wear your button and stay in period persona and clothing during public hours.  The button permits entry and 24 hour access to the festival grounds during the course of the Feast.  Except for pre-registered program animals and assistance animals, pets are not allowed on the festival grounds.

Categories of Participation:

Sales and Demonstration Deadline:  June 15th

Performers and other Program Personnel                Deadline: June 15th
Program personnel include performing groups, habitants, independent military units, and any other living history interpreter not involved in other categories.

Voyageurs                                                      Deadline: August 1st
The voyageurs interpret the lifestyle of 18th century canoe men.  Voyageurs may register as independents or with a brigade.  They may participate in the canoe landings and races.

Volunteers                                                      Deadline: August 1st
Set-up, gates, couriers, registration and other operations workers, TCHA booth workers, clean-up workers, and other support areas.

Military                                                                       Deadline: August 1st
The Forces of Montcalm and Wolfe, Northwest Territory Alliance, and Seven Years War Society are the re-enactors of military life & operations at Fort Ouiatenon.  Registration is done by each individual unit member using this application. Independent units should consult with the Feast coordinator for more information on registration.   Military personnel requiring modern camping should use this form (Section 4 – Modern Camping) to request a camp site.

Camp Setting:  If you bring your own booth, it is important to give dimensions and submit photos with the application.  The most common shelters are wedge, marquee, wall, lean-tos, or trail tarp shelters.  Baker or pyramid tents were not generally found during this period, and are discouraged.  Tipis and lean-tees are prohibited.  TCHA-built booths are available only for food booths and for grandfathered craft and interpretation booths.  Straw, firewood, tables, and chairs may be rented at current rates stated on the application.  Tables must be skirted to the ground with materials appropriate to the 18th century.  All modern supplies and protective plastics must be hidden from public view.  The Feast no longer supplies reed matting.  All trade licenses are not transferable, refundable, or extendable.

All items worn, displayed, or offered for sale must be appropriate to the 1717-1791 time period and our location on the colonial frontier. Emphasis should be placed on handcrafted items or items appropriate to interpreting the history of this era.  Modern display cases or racks, plastic bags, price stickers, modern price tags, and wire or plastic coat hangers may not be used.  The following items are specifically prohibited:

  1. Any mass produced or modern item or any item made from non-period materials
  2. Western Native American items such as long fringed leather and tapered hair pipe chokers
  3. Archaeological artifacts
  4. Dream catchers, mandalas, prayer drums, powwow goods
  5. Southwest pottery, jewelry, baskets, rugs/Mexican blankets
  6. Turquoise jewelry, plastic beads, neon feathers
  7. Stainless steel knives and swords
  8. Fantasy “pirate” items or other pirate items not appropriate to the Great Lakes region.
  9. Medieval Era or “Ren-Faire” type items (i.e. dragons and broad swords)
  10. Inappropriate toys including but not limited to pop guns/cap guns, whips, hematite zingers, sling shots with rubber bands, and ocarinas, rubber tipped arrows, wooden samurai swords, plastic dolls or other plastic items
  11. Parts or products deriving from any threatened, endangered or otherwise protected species, or skins/parts of domestic animals (see the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for more information)
  12. Graniteware or enamelware
  13. Percussion weapons
  14. Any type of raffles, drawings, or lotteries
  15. Books and audio/video recordings not pertaining to the time period
  16. Photographs, pictures, or stationery, holiday or souvenir items
  17. Any ready to consume food product.  This includes but is not limited to candy, dried fruits, nuts, jerky, beverages, and produce.  Items that are food but not ready to consume may be sold (i.e., oils and herbs) subject to health department inspection.
  18. Items using the words "Fort Ouiatenon" (with the exception of map reproductions) or "Feast of the Hunters' Moon"

This list is not intended to be all-inclusive but rather points out items of specific or recurring concerns.  As a general rule, you should not plan on selling any item that is not universally accepted at other regional historical re-enactments. If you believe that a specific item is wrongfully included on the prohibited item list, or if you have any unique or controversial items that you want to sell, then we require that you provide documentation (preferably at least 3 distinct sources) that places your items in our area and time period. Our knowledge of the customs and goods of the Eighteenth Century period is a continually evolving thing and you can help everyone learn more about this period and help us update our standards with any new information that you can provide. We look forward to working with you to bring new and interesting goods to the Feast as long as they can be properly documented.  Lacking such documentation, any items of questionable authenticity will be prohibited.

Feast staff will be reviewing booths to check for violations of these standards and for general booth appearance.  If prohibited items are found, you will be asked to remove the items. If there are significant violations or a lack of cooperation with Feast officials, the participant may be asked to leave and/or banned from future festivals. If there are problems or concerns, please see the Feast Coordinator or a member of the Feast quality control committee. If you are not able to abide by our standards then please do not apply.  If you ignore or try to evade our standards, you will be denied the privilege of returning for future Feasts.

Some Notes on Living History

“Living History,” through the use of period clothing and through the demonstration of period lifestyles, gives both the participant and the Feast visitor a vivid picture of what Ouiatenon’s past was like.  Wear clothing and accoutrements typical of the time and place for your persona.  Examples for men include shirts, waistcoats, knee breeches, cocked hats, and hunting shirts.  For women, examples include chemises, petticoats, short gown or bed jacket, riding habit, gowns, and coifs and caps.  In general, a sleeveless bodice is not considered appropriate and is discouraged.  Footwear for men, women and children include colonial-style leather shoes, center-seam moccasins, and bare feet.  Children should be dressed comparable to adults.  Your camp and all its furnishings, cooking and eating utensils, and foods need to be correct for our place and period.  Any modern equipment, such as coolers, should be kept out of sight at all times.  Keep your tent flap closed if you have non-period items inside.  Examples of appropriate cookware/tableware include bone, wood, or horn handled or forged utensils; brass/copper/tin cooking pots, round-bottomed cast iron kettles; wooden/pewter/pottery/tin plates, bowls, cups or mugs.  All beverages need to be in period containers.

Native Americans
The French selected the site in part because just across the Wabash River was a large Wea Indian village. The Weas were a part of the Miami tribes who had settled in five villages on the banks of the Wabash below the mouth of the Tippecanoe River. Their location was the gateway to the western prairies for various other tribes including the Kickapoos, Mascoutens, Sauk, and Fox.
Native camps should not have camp furniture.  Indian portrayals should wear Eastern Woodlands Indian dress of the period.  

The voyageurs interpret the lifestyle of 18th century canoemen.  French voyageurs annually descended the Wabash to trade their goods for furs trapped by the Native people. Some remained there to establish homes.
Voyageurs may register as independents or with a brigade.  They may participate in the canoe landings and races. 

The habitants interpret the lives of French settlers.  French settlers came to the area to trade and to serve as craftspeople and artisans to promote the growth of the post.  Around the walls of the fort were as many as 90 houses of French and Natives.  At its height there may have been as many as 2,000 to 3,000 inhabitants in the general area. The habitant interpretation area is near the artillery park.

The Forces of Montcalm and Wolfe, Seven Years War, Inc. and the Northwest Territory Alliance are the re-enactors of military life & battles at Ouiatanon.  French Marines came from Vincennes to help keep the peace at this rough frontier outpost.  Ouiatenon saw military action during the French and Indian War, Pontiac’s Uprising and the American settlement period.
Registration is done by the Unit Commander.  Independent units should consult with the Feast Coordinator for more information on registration.

The fur trade was one of the main reasons the post was created.  The merchants within the post walls and sold goods of all sorts imported from Europe or made in Canada.  Cloth, jewelry, and cooking ware were some of the more important items.  Other traders went into the region, trading with the Native peoples.  Craftspeople were also important, making items that were not imported, including blacksmiths and other artisans.

Lean More About Living History and Ouiatenon

Ouiatanon & The French

Ouiatanon Documents Chien Noir Trading Co

Balesi, Charles. The Times of the French in the Heart of North America

Johnson, Mary Moyars.  Ouiatanon: The French Post Among the Ouia.

Living History / Clothing

Baumgarten, Linda. What Clothes Reveal

Baumgarten, Linda. Clothing Construction and Pattern 1750-1790.

Burnston, Sharon Ann. Fitting and Proper (Scurlock, 1999).

Forbes, Judy, Mary Moyars Johnson, and Kathy Delaney. Historic Colonial French Dress

Gilgun, Beth. Tidings from the 18th Century Crock Pub Co;1993.

Grousse, Suzanne and Andre. Costume in New France from 1740-1760 Ft. Chambly, Canada.

Roth, Stacy Flora. Past Into Present: Effective Techniques for First-Person Historical Interpretation University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Wright, Frances.  Everyday Dress of Rural America, 1783-1800 : With Instructions and Patterns. Dover, 1992