Two-day blacksmithing and music fest features artifacts, live music, food, drinks and demonstrations
Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society’s Old Blacksmith Shop, in partnership with the Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association (UMBA), will present a special hands-on event and two-day music fest called “The Other Side of the Anvil.”
On Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 on the lawn adjacent to the Stillman Mansion (513 Bouthillier St.), six forging stations—complete with forge, anvil, vise and tools—will be fired up and skilled regional blacksmiths will provide hands-on instruction for visitors. In addition, there will be traditional broom tying demonstrations.
The Historical Society will have a beer and wine tent, food, live music, and a bake sale on Saturday and Sunday.
Attendees can visit with members of the Historic Indian Agency House of Portage, Wisc. This is a museum dedicated to the work and lives of John and Juliette Kinzie, an Indian agent and his wife who worked with the Ho-Chunk tribe at the site during the 1830s. This booth explored the history and artifacts of the blacksmiths who were jacks of all trades and often the first on the frontier scene.
Visitors who want to take part in blacksmithing may step up to a forging station and, with the guidance of an experienced smith, make a small iron object using the same heat and hammer techniques practiced at the authentic 1897 Old Blacksmith Shop on Galena’s Commerce Street. It is a unique opportunity to work hands-on with a coal forge and gain insight into what it is like to work at a 3,000-year-old craft.
There is no charge for participating, though donations to support the Old Blacksmith Shop operations are gladly accepted. Persons of any age can participate, but those under 18 must have the signed permission of an adult and may, in some cases, need to be accompanied by an adult parent while they work. Safety glasses and gloves will be provided. Participants will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis.
The Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society thanks Illinois Bank & Trust and the Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association for their support of this event.
For more information about The Other Side of the Anvil, call the Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society at 815-777-9129 or go to galenahistory.org.