April 25, 2020
Celebrate the art of the blacksmith! It's fascinating to watch them craft sculpture, jewelry, furniture and amazing art creations. The festival lines the Locust Street in downtown Spruce Pine (locals call it Lower Street), about 50 miles north of Asheville. It includes demonstrations, arts and crafts to buy, food and more. Hours are 10 AM-4 PM, and it's free to attend. This area is home to the highly respected Penland School of Craft with many world-class artists, so find a big variety of art in the area.
Watch featured blacksmiths from across the country, along with the best western North Carolina metalsmiths, toolmakers, sculptors and ironworkers. See the annual Blacksmith Show at the Toe River Arts Galley (269 Oak Ave) featuring artists from the Southeast, 10:30 AM-5 PM Saturday. If you are in town Friday evening, stop by for the opening reception and talk.
The main festival area lines Locust Street with multiple demonstration areas. The "close-up" demos focus on the fine handwork and bench techniques that blacksmiths use to create surface decoration, mechanisms and finishing details.
Many booths feature artists at work. If you are an aspiring blacksmith, find a big variety of tools too. At the Iron Pour up on Oak Street, learn about the foundry process. As with most crowded festivals, it's not recommended for pets.
At the Youth Forge-On Challenge Demonstration and Adult Forge-Off Competition, participants are provided with iron stock, minimal tools and 55 minutes to complete their best work. At the Hands On Tent, take your turn learning to forge.
In addition to food vendors, find a variety of local restaurants downtown - along with shops to explore. Walk the scenic footbridge high across the Toe River to Riverside Park. Try your luck gem mining. Just six miles away is the Penland School of Crafts campus with a world-class gallery tucked away deep in the mountains. Read more about Spruce Pine and nearby Little Switzerland.
Directions: For GPS, use 165 Locust St, Spruce Pine.