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Record number of blacksmiths to demonstrate on Forge Day

Picayune area blacksmiths will demonstrate their skills at Forge Day on Jan. 25 at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum. Adults and children may try their hand at metalworking at select booths.  Photo Courtesy of MSU Crosby Arboretum

Picayune area blacksmiths will demonstrate their skills at Forge Day on Jan. 25 at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum. Adults and children may try their hand at metalworking at select booths.
Photo Courtesy of MSU Crosby Arboretum

 
Members of the public can observe and try metalworking at the Sixth Annual Forge Day at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune on Jan. 25.

“Forge Day began six years ago because of Terrell Pickett, a blacksmith from Lumberton, who attended the Piney Woods Festival each year,” Crosby Arboretum Director Pat Drackett said. “I noticed that people were always flocked around him and we did not have much going on in January, so I decided to try a Forge Day. The response was overwhelming; six years later we are still going strong.”

Members of the Gulf Coast Blacksmith Association (GCBA) and other area craftsmen will demonstrate techniques and provide tips for those interested in metalworking. Some craftsmen will offer knife sharpening, Drackett said.
“Organizers expect between 15 and 20 metalworkers to exhibit their skills this year, double the usual number, because Forge day fell on the GCBA regular meeting day,” Drackett said. “I am really excited because these are the people who strive to keep the art alive and are master craftsmen. This is a wonderful opportunity for people young and old alike to be introduced to this ancient art.”

Adults and children may participate at select booths.
“Attendees can enjoy the demonstrations or try their hand at the forge,” Drackett said. “There is usually an opportunity for people to come and get their knives sharpened.

“Because it is on a Saturday, the event is a great opportunity for Boy Scouts who want to work on their metalworking badges.”
Exhibitors will provide safety equipment for those participating in metalworking. Participants must fill out a waiver form, Drackett said.
Forge Day begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. Admission is free for Arboretum members, $5 for non-members and $2 for non-members’ children under 12 years old.
For more information, call the Arboretum at 601-799-2311.