FOREST CITY -- Thousands of people are connecting with their heritage this weekend at the 32nd annual Forest City Stockade Rendezvous.

The stockade is a recreation of the fort that was built in the 1860s at the start of the Dakota War.

Since the 1970s, the stockade has hosted an annual weekend event that invites families to come visit the era-authentic buildings, food and activities.

John Dollerschell grew up in the area and says the event is a great way to connect with friends, family, and the past.

"It's a lot of fun to come and hang around and kick back," Dollerschell says. "For the kids, it's a great experience -- they're loving it and they're learning without realizing it."

"It's just authentic -- it's an authentic look at what [Minnesota] in the 1860s looked like."

The authentic feel of the stockade is due in large part to the work of Chuck Fuller, who has added many time-specific buildings to the stockade since getting involved in 1989.

"I'm really proud of this, I think we're unique," Fuller says. "It's the way communities used to connect and I think that is [also] what we're trying to keep alive."

Fuller says the hard works pays off each year when he sees the enjoyment in the faces of those who visit.

"What we do is a labor of love," Fuller says. "I spend 1,600 hours out here in the summer and it's worth it when you see the appreciation that people have -- that they actually are glad it's here -- hopefully it'll last a long time."

The rendezvous continues Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $5 and kids 12 and under get in for free.

Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON