Historical reenactors face high winds, cold nights

- Living at the Alafia River Rendezvous is like stepping back into history.  The hardships of the early 1800's can become real, and this year is no exception, thanks to Mother Nature.

Saturday night, high winds whipped through the encampment, which is just off U.S. 17 in southern Polk County, and tore down more than four dozen tents.  Twenty of them were destroyed.

Missy Clarke was in hers when the center pole collapsed and she was pinned down for what seemed like an eternity.

"I knew I would be saved," she told FOX 13. "But I was worried that someone wouldn't hear me over the wind."

Eventually, she was freed when someone came to help.

It has not made life an easier that temperatures have been dropping into the low 40s, the coldest weather so far this season.

Monday, the camp was up and running again, albeit with some important meeting places like the tent where the kids do their readin', writin' and 'rithmatic.

The Alafia River Rendezvous is the largest get together of its kind. For more than a week, participants from all over the country live in period clothes and live like frontiersmen did back in the day.

The event, which unfolds on hundreds of acres, has been taking place for more than four decades.

People dress in historically accurate clothes, shoot black powder guns, learn about herbs, take part in a mock pre-Civil War court, and eat and drink period fare.  Kids play games -- none of which include computers or cell phones.

Since many come back year after year, many of the frontiersmen develop a bond of friendship.

"I like having a feeling of family around and learning history," said Tamera Beisler, who has come with her family to the rendezvous for the last seven years.

The Alafia River Rendezvous opens its doors to the general public on Thursday and Friday, For more information, go to www.floridafrontiersmen.com.

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