This Saturday is one of my very favorite mountain festivals. I’m talking about the one-day, small mountain-town festival: Fire-on-the-Mountain in Spruce Pine NC.
Yes, this takes over half of the downtown area with forges and anvils. The ringing of multiple smiths hammering on projects from jewelry to architectural ornaments is a joy to the ears.
The all day-demonstration tent has bleachers for the crowd of blacksmith enthusiasts to watch artists explain the secrets and techniques of their specialty.
But my absolute favorite activity to watch is the hands-on forging tent that is operated by the nearby Penland School of Crafts. This hands-on experience is open to anyone who wants to try their hand at smithing. There are instructors for Penland to heat the iron and to guide your hammer blows, but you get a chance to hit hot iron. And take home your own creation.
It is especially fun to watch the kids take to the anvil. I’ve seen five year old smiths hammering. Their technique might need a little more practice, but they really concentrate.
And this is where I get to see Chicks with Hammers.
Yes. I admit to being easily charmed by cute girls. But watching little girls learn blacksmithing is amazing! Their safety equipment doesn’t slow them down. Their level of concentration is as high as anyone. And they really work at swinging the hammer with both hands. There is something so darn cute about Chicks with Hammers.
O.K. So I’m easily charmed.
You can actually Adopt-a-Goat for a month. Help keep these scientific-restoration goats in good shape through the cold winter by adopting them during the winter. Imagine your goat all warm and well fed, snuggled in the barn thanks to you.
While the icy winter winds blow and the snow swirls through the mountain passes, you will rest better knowing that because of your generous gift, the goats are warm and happy.
Because of your gift, the goats will be healthy and ready to work all summer a the Baa-tany Goat Project to restore and preserve the grassy balds of Roan Mountain.
This weekend December 3 and 4 is a great time to get some Christmas shopping finished!
The Toe River Arts Council’s Studio Tour is a wonderful event. It combines natural beauty of driving through the heart of the Southern Appalachian mountains and meeting artists in their natural habitat (their studio).
Watch out for trucks loaded with Christmas and lots of traffic at the choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms.
Toe River Arts Council
Toe River Arts Council: http://www.toeriverarts.org/studiotour.shtml
Artist Studio Tour Map: http://toeriverarts.org/docs/12.11_studiotourmaps.pdf
“Fire on the Mountain” this Saturday! This is one of my favorite town festivals.
Small town in the mountains of North Carolina = Spruce Pine
Manly Arts = blacksmithing. (Not horseshoeing! That is a farrier. Blacksmithing uses real imagination.)
Family Encouraged = Kid friendly, hands on blacksmithing! How cool!
This Saturday, April 24, is the Spruce Pine, NC, “Fire on the Mountain” blacksmith festival. Plenty of time to see everything: 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Tip 1: When you get there, sign the kids up for the Penland School’s hands-on forging. Since this is a favorite, the line gets long in the afternoon even with four anvils ringing.
Tip 2: Check the demonstration schedule and record when your favorite demon
stration is scheduled at the main tent. There are hourly demonstrations throughout the day. Fascinating. This is the How-To. Learn how the artists make their metal sculptures. Check out the vendors and load up on the blacksmith hammers and anvils and forges so you can make your own art when you get home.
Tip 3: Explore the lunch offerings from the street vendors or the downtown restaurants or picnic right on the street while you watch the demonstrations.
Tip 4: Broad brim hat. If it still gets too hot for you, check out the art galleries on the upper street. This is where the best of the art is displayed.