The Glengarry Pioneer Museum will ring with the sound of hammers hitting anvils during its fourth annual Smith-In Blacksmith Festival on Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
More than eighteen blacksmiths from across Ontario, Quebec, and the USA will come together to share their skills and products with patrons of the museum and fellow smiths. In the timber-framed Williams Pavilion, Megan Carter and Mike Armstrong of Armstrong & Carter Ironworks will be leading a workshop for visiting smiths on forging a pair of box-joint pliers. Smiths from across Ontario and Quebec will be demonstrating nearby using a variety of portable forges. In the blacksmith shop, visiting smiths Lloyd Johnston, Mike Kennedy, and Stephen Midkiff and others will be demonstrating historical blacksmithing. In the past, they have forged reproduction gun barrels modelled closely on a musket discovered in nearby Apple Hill as well as a reproduction of a ship’s anchor. The Big Beaver School House will feature presentations on the history of blacksmithing and on basic blacksmithing techniques and objects.
This event will also see the Museum’s reproduction forge and tools put to use. The bellows-blown portable forge is modelled on forges from the American Revolutionary War, and features leather bellows and wooden carriage wheels. Local smith, Pat Taylor, of Upper Canada Village, will be operating the forge and continuing to modify its bellows. The forge will complement the Museum’s Oliver Hamelin blacksmith shop, which had its brick forge reconstructed several years ago, and was outfitted in recent years with a working set of tools.
The blacksmith and his shop was at the centre of village life in the 19th century. The blacksmith shoed horses, made and repaired all the tools needed for agriculture, transportation, forestry, and other industries, and also fashioned decorative objects. The blacksmith shop, or “smithy,” was a key social hub, and smiths often performed important ceremonial roles in their communities. This year, you will be able to see the museum’s smithy come to life.
Many of the smiths will have items on display and for sale. On Saturday (June 15) there will be a variety of local craftspeople, artisans, and vendors to complement the visiting smiths.
Chili-dogs, hot dogs, snacks, and refreshments will be available for sale in the museum’s cheese factory.
Come smell the coal smoke and see the sparks fly when hammers meet hot steel!