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ren·dez·vous: (rahn-duh-voo) noun

1. an agreement between two or more persons to meet at a certain time and place.

2. the meeting itself.

3. a place designated for a meeting or assembling.

4. a favorite or popular gathering place.

Rendezvous Royale – A celebration of arts and artists in Cody, Wyoming

All these definitions apply to the annual Rendezvous Royale, a fabulous week-long party here in Cody that celebrates all that is unique and great about western art!

If you haven’t been to the Rendezvous before, be prepared for events and happenings all day, every day, for five days!  According to Kathy Thompson, the director of the Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale, people come from all over the United States to take part in the authentic western experience that is Cody.

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Although Rendezvous Royale takes place the last full week in September, the activity actually begins in August, with the display of the Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale’s Miniature Art Show.  These smaller works of art have all been created by the artists who have been invited to participate in the larger Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale that happens during Rendezvous Royale at the end of September.  The show hangs at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center until it’s time for the big show to be unveiled!

Come the end of September, things really kick into gear.  That’s when all four components of the Rendezvous come together for the enjoyment of residents and visitors:

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– Cody High Style celebrates artisans – furniture, clothing and jewelry makers, leather work, and other fantastic “functional” art that is in a class of its own, apart from the Buffalo Bill Art Show.  There are classes on everything from building a Molesworth-style magazine rack to interior design; round-town events that include book signings and artist demonstrations; panel discussions on western design; and a high-energy fashion show at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center Wednesday night, complete with music, lights, models and a runway!

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– The Boot Scootin’ Boogie is a relative newcomer to the Rendezvous Royale.  Put on by local merchants, this free downtown event has a party atmosphere, with sidewalk sales, food, drink, and a runway fashion show which closes down the main highway through town for four hours! There’s a great fundraiser that’s going on this year in conjunction with the Boot-Scoot – there are 3’ high ceramic cowboy boots that have been decorated by local artists, and these boots will be raffled off during Rendezvous Royale to raise money for

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– The event that draws the most participation during the week is the Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale – this live and silent auction takes place Friday night, and generates huge dollars for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and the Cody Chamber of Commerce (which takes a portion of the money and returns it to the community in the form of grants that support arts-related activities and events).  Folks look forward to this auction all year – it’s a great social event celebrating 30 years in 2011!  And the Friday event isn’t the end – there’s a Quick Draw on Saturday morning that is becoming more and more popular.  In the Robbie PowWow Gardens at the BBHC, artists sculpt, paint and draw for one hour, then that piece that they just created goes on the auction block then and there!  It’s exciting and fun to be a part of that action.

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Kathy Thompson relies heavily on the large pool of volunteers who make this event happen – she says that these volunteers do everything from the non-glamorous (stuffing envelopes, cross-checking lists, signing up other volunteers) to the high-profile (carrying and displaying $1 million worth of art on stage in front of 650 patrons).  Volunteers also assist artists during the Quick Draw, and work behind the scenes to ship the pieces, manage contracts, and register people for events.

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– The black tie event of Rendezvous Royale is Saturday night’s Patron’s Ball.  (Locals affectionately call it “The Cody Prom”).  This is a fundraising event for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and everyone who is anyone attends!  Current and former governors, U.S. Senators and Representatives, high dollar donors to the BBHC, local elected officials and business folks, all dance and socialize to the tunes of a fabulously entertaining band.  It is THE social event of the season here in Cody!

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Whew!  So much partying, all in one week!  Come join the fun – it’s a week of celebrations here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country!

Lovin’ life in Buffalo Bill’s Country,

Corrie N. Cody